WASHINGTON – In need of an experienced forward with top-six ability, the Washington Capitals acquired Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames on Sunday for two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz welcomed the addition of Glencross.
"I think we need to get a little bit deeper at the forward position," he said. "We have a good forward group. We’ve got four young players there, and I don’t think you can ever be deep enough at any position as you’re going into the playoffs. After (the NHL Trade Deadline) tomorrow, you really don’t have any opportunity to add, so I think that’s why most teams want to do that.
"That was a good acquisition. Knowing Curtis a little bit from him being in the West, he’s a veteran guy, he’s pretty detailed, has had pretty good success, and I think he’ll fit in really good with us. He’s got a little bit of an edge when he plays and he’s got a little bit of ability to score goals. You can’t have enough of that."
The Flames (70 points), who get the Capitals' second- and third-round picks at this year's draft, are tied for third with the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division and trail the Minnesota Wild by three points for the second Western Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We ask our players, we talk about 'all in,' we talk about this being one group, and these are difficult days," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "This is a very, very tight knit group, and when one player leaves it’s a difficult time, and I think it’s been difficult for Curtis over this process the last little bit. So we want to first, No. 1, thank him for all the stuff that he's done as a member of the Flames and a member of the Calgary community."
Treliving admitted that Glencross’ veteran presence in the locker room will be missed, especially with captain Mark Giordano on injured reserve because of a bicep injury.
"Obviously everybody knows where we are in the playoff race," Treliving said. "Curtis is a veteran player, a good player, and we're balancing the now for the future and a big part of this deal and a big part of why we've tried to introduce some young players is this opens the door for some people that we think can take over.
"Now are they going to replace Curtis tomorrow? No. You've got a veteran player and you've got some young players, so we’re not heaping expectations but we think we've got some depth up front to fill a hole that is now created by Curtis, and it puts two pieces in the bank here that we think can be significant."
Glencross had nine goals and 28 points in 53 games for Calgary this season. The 32-year-old played 418 games for the Flames over seven seasons, scoring 114 goals, including a career-high 26 in 2011-12.
"I'm excited," Glencross said. "It's a new start for me, another opportunity, and they've got a great team, a lot of great players on that team and I just want to go and do what I can to help their team too.
"It's tough. When you're in one spot for seven years you've got a lot of ties. Calgary's been good to me and I'll never regret my seven years I played in Calgary. It's something where the fans, the organization, everything's top notch and they treat every player good and I'm thankful to been at home, playing at home, in front of friends and family for that long. But I'm excited for a new change and new opportunity and it’s going to be good"
Glencross was pulled from practice Sunday prior to the trade and got to say goodbye to his teammates.
"It was definitely an emotional moment for me," Glencross said. "Like I said, I've got a lot of good friends on this team. It's tough. Like I said, it’s not only me, I've got a family behind me too, and they’re excited for the opportunity too."
Washington has found little consistency at the right-wing position on the first line, starting eight different forwards with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom this season. Asked if Glencross, a natural left wing, could be a fit there, Trotz did not have a definitive answer at the time.
"I have an idea," Trotz said. "I want to really talk to the player and see how we do tonight [against the Toronto Maple Leafs] before I really open my mouth anymore.
"It’s something I have to really talk to him [about], see how comfortable he is. Is it an option? Yeah, anything’s an option. But at the same time, I’ve got to give him the best chance to do what he does best, so we’ll get him in, we’ll talk to him, we’ll see how comfortable he is on either side and then we’ll go from there."
Washington (76 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and trails the New York Islanders by eight points for first place in the Metropolitan Division.