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Bowman, McPhee ones to watch

by Dan Rosen /
Stan Bowman and George McPhee find themselves almost in lockstep as the trade deadline draws closer. The respective general managers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals have a plethora of prospects, a solid core in tact and still the need/want to upgrade their current rosters for the playoff push.

Let's start with the Capitals and McPhee, who is notorious for keeping his mouth shut at this time of the year. He picked up Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles, which for all intents and purposes is a solid, no-lose move. But, are we really to believe that Sturm, who has had both of his knees operated on since 2008, is the difference-maker McPhee was hoping to land?

Sturm is a nice asset to have, a solid veteran who can play a good two-way game. He's probably suited for third-line duty to start, but that doesn't answer the Capitals need for a second-line center or a top-six scorer. Sturm used to be that and may very well be again, but it would be a stretch to think he can be that for the Capitals this season.

So, what does McPhee do? Ales Hemsky would be a nice addition, but Paul Stastny would be a better one because he will fill that second-line center role better than anyone available who isn't named Brad Richards. However, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, Stastny probably won't get moved. The Caps would have to shed salary to make it happen.

Let's move on to Hemsky, who could play on the Caps first or second line. Washington might have to give up one of its goalies, Semyon Varlamov or Michal Neuvirth, to get him, and McPhee has been reluctant to move off his stance that the club is going with those two in net.

Perhaps the more attainable player is someone like New Jersey's Jason Arnott, who also would fill that hole in the middle of the Caps' second line and wouldn't cost nearly as much as someone like Stastny or Hemsky.

Washington isn't likely to trade top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, but center Cody Eakin, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goalie Braden Holtby could draw decent returns. Holtby in particular could be an interesting asset to peddle if McPhee doesn't plan to move Varlamov or Neuvirth. The Devils would have to be interested in acquiring a young goaltending prospect.

What about Bowman and the Hawks? They have plenty of draft picks that could be up for grabs in the right deal, and wouldn't seem to be put off by a rental either considering their core is locked up and already have plenty of their 2011-12 cap space tied up into 11 players (12 if you include young defenseman Nick Leddy).

Leddy, Kyle Beach, Dylan Olsen, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Jeremy Morin could all be in line to make the big club next season, joining Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell and Viktor Stalberg as the role players behind the core guys.

All that being said, perhaps David Booth could be an intriguing option for the Blackhawks even though he's signed for four more seasons at $4.25 million. The Hawks would have to move some salary back to Florida to make the deal happen, but with former GM Dale Tallon now manning the Panthers' post it's not unreasonable to think a deal could be made.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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