ARLINGTON, Va. -- General manager Brian MacLellan has spent the past two years working to build the Washington Capitals into a Stanley Cup-winning team with the hope they can reach that goal this season or next.
"I view it as a two-year window," MacLellan said. "We're going for it this year, we're going for it next year, and then after that we're evaluating where we're at. "
Since selecting Alex Ovechkin with the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, the Capitals haven't made it out of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The clock is ticking, and MacLellan knows it.
MacLellan said he will consider adding a player prior to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET on Monday if he thinks that player could really help the Capitals right now and came at the right price. So far, he hasn't seen that.
"We're in the win-now (mode)," MacLellan said. "I mean, I look at it, and I don't see huge upgrades out there. I see the names. Is it a huge upgrade? Is it going to have that big an impact on our team? I don't believe so."
MacLellan added forwards T.J. Oshie, by trade, and Justin Williams, in free agency, during the offseason, and he signed center Mike Richards on Jan. 6 to bulk up an already stacked forward group. Defenseman Mike Weber, acquired Tuesday, helps boost the depth on the blue line for a playoff run.
"Last year, we were pretty fortunate: We had a healthy group," MacLellan said. "And then Brooks [Orpik] missed 40 [games], we had guys step up and play really well. We need that in the playoffs, especially if we have a long run. We thought the main area of concern for us, if we were going a long way, would be, 'Do we have enough depth to go the whole distance?'"
Last year, the Capitals traded for forward Curtis Glencross and defenseman Tim Gleason before the deadline, but they didn't help get them over the hump. Washington lost in seven games to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
Despite the result, MacLellan doesn't regret those moves but said he did it with one goal in mind.
"We were thinking the same way last year," MacLellan said. "I think every year you come in, and, 'I want to win a Stanley Cup.' That's your goal. Last year, we were disappointed we didn't get there."
The Capitals lead the NHL with 92 points, had the best start in their history and show no signs of slowing down. MacLellan isn't feeling pressure to get a trade done before the deadline.
"I'm happy with where we're at," MacLellan said. "This has been a fun season so far. I think if you look back a year and a half ago to where we are now, you're not going to say this is a bust. It's good. There's a lot of positives going on, but I mean, we want to win a championship. That's the goal of ownership, that's the goal of management, that's the goal of the coaches and the players, to win a championship. I think we're happy with the year so far. I just think we have to continually hold that as our goal."
Forward Jay Beagle is on long-term injured reserve but may be ready to play next week. His salary is off the books right now, but the Capitals will need to make a roster move in order for him to return and be under the salary cap by the deadline.
"Probably at some point we need to do something more," MacLellan said. "We'll just see how the weekend plays out. The trade deadline is at 3 on Monday, and we should have it all worked out by then."