Creatures of Habit: Brian MacLellan’s familiar business partners

Creatures of Habit: Brian MacLellan’s familiar business partners

Although it may be hard to believe, Brian McLellan has been the general manager of the Washington Capitals for eight years. Since being named to the position held by his predecessor George McPhee for 17 seasons in April 2014, MacLellan has proven himself to be a proactive and ambitious GM who is not afraid to pull the trigger on big free agents and/or trades.

In his eight seasons at the helm of the Caps’ front office, MacLellan has been an active participant in trades he hopes will solve a roster problem, reduce excess salary or better position the team for another Stanley Cup shot. When examining its commercial partners, however, it is apparent that “GMBM” has preferred business with a select group of NHL clubs.

2014-15 Capitals trade partners (per NHL Trade Tracker):

– St. Louis Blues (3)
– Colorado Avalanche (3)
– New Jersey Devils (3)
– Montreal Canadiens (3)
– Detroit Red Wings (2)
– New York Rangers (2)
– Winnipeg Jets (2)
– Los Angeles Kings (2)
– Seattle Kraken (2)
– Philadelphia Flyers (2)
– Calgary Flames (2)
– San Jose Sharks (1)
– Ottawa Senators (1)
– Carolina Hurricanes (1)
– Minnesota Wild (1)
– Chicago Blackhawks (1)
– Arizona Coyotes (1)
– Buffalo Sabers (1)
– Vegas Golden Knights (1)
– Toronto Maple Leafs (1)
– Anaheim Ducks (1)

To sum that up, that’s a total of 36 trades and 21 teams. Of those 36 trades, 26 (72%) were with the same teams two or more times.

Below, we’ll take a look at the teams MacLellan has dealt with two or more times and the trades made with each.

St. Louis Blues
Trades made = 3

1st transaction: July 2, 2015
Capitals Trade: Troy Brouwer (RW), Pheonix Copley (G), 2016 3rd RD Draft Pick
Blues Trade: TJ Oshie (RW)

2nd transaction: June 24, 2016
Capitals Trade: 2016 1st RD Draft Pick (#26; used by STL on Tage Thompson, F)
Blues Trade: 2016 1st RD Draft Pick (#28; used by WSH on Lucas Johansen, D), 2016 3rd RD Draft Pick

3rd Trade: February 27, 2017
– Capitals Trade: Zach Sanford (F), Brad Malone (F), 2017 1st RD Pick (traded to PHI from STL, used to select Morgan Frost, C), 2019 Conditional 2nd RD Pick
– Blues Trade: Kevin Shattenkirk (D), Phoenix Copley (G)

Colorado Avalanche
Trades made = 3

1st transaction: March 1, 2017
– Capitals Trade: Cody Corbett (D)
– Avalanche Trade: Joe Kanata (G)

2nd Trade: June 22, 2018
– Capitals Trade: Brooks Orpik (D), Philip Grubauer (G)
– Avalanche Trade: 2018 2nd RD Draft Pick

3rd Trade: June 28, 2019
– Capitals Trade: Andre Burakovsky (F)
– Avalanche Trade: Scott Kosmachuk (F), 2nd and 3rd 2020 draft picks.

New Jersey Devils
Trades made = 3

1st transaction: July 2, 2017
– Capitals Trade: Marcus Johansson (F)
– Devils trade: 2018 2nd & 3rd RD Draft Picks

2nd deal: April 11, 2021
– Capitals Trade: Jonas Siegenthaler (D)
– Devils Trade: 2021 3rd RD Draft Pick

3rd Trade: July 8, 2022
– Capitals Trade: Vitek Vanecek (G), 2022 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Devils Trade: 2022 2nd and 3rd RD draft picks

Montreal Canadiens
Trades made = 3

1st transaction: June 24, 2016
– Capitals Trade: 2017 2nd RD Draft Pick, 2018 3rd RD Draft Pick
– Canadians Trade: Lars Eller (C)

2nd Deal: February 21, 2018
– Capitals Trade: 2019 5th RD Draft Pick
– Canadiens Trade: Jakub Jerabek (D)

3rd Deal: February 23, 2020
– Capitals Trade: 2020 3rd RD Draft Pick
– Canadiens Trade: Ilya Kovalchuk ​​(RW)

Winnipeg Jets
Trades made = 2

1st transaction: June 28, 2014
– Capitals Trade: Eddie Pasquale (G), 2014 6th RD Draft Pick
– Jets Trade: 2014 6th & 7th RD Draft Pick, 2015 7th RD Draft Pick.

2nd deal: July 26, 2021
– Capitals Trade: Brendan Dillon (D)
– Jets Trade: 2022 2nd RD Draft Pick, 2023 2nd RD Draft Pick

New York Rangers
Trades made = 2

1st transaction: June 27, 2015
– Capitals Trade: 2015 3rd & 4th RD Draft Picks
– Rangers Trade: 2015 2nd RD Draft Picks

2nd Trade: February 9, 2018
– Capitals Trade: Hubert Labrie (D), John Albert (C)
– Rangers Trade: Adam Chappie (F), Joe Whitney (F)

Detroit Red Wings
Trades made = 2

1st transaction: February 22, 2019
– Capitals Trade: Madison Bowey (D), 2020 2nd RD pick.
– Red Wings Trade: Nick Jensen (D), 2019 5th RD Draft Pick

2nd deal: April 12, 2021
– Capitals Trade: Jakub Vrana (F), 2021 1st RD Draft Pick, Richard Panik (F), 2022 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Red Wings Trade: Anthony Manta (F)

Los Angeles Kings
Trades made = 2

1st Trade: February 15, 2017
– Equity trading: Future considerations
– Kings Trade: Tom Gilbert (D)

2nd Deal: February 21, 2019
– Capitals Trade: 2019 3rd RD Draft Pick, 2020 Conditional 6th RD Draft Pick
– Kings Trade: Carl Hagelin (F)

Seattle Kraken
Trades made = 2

1st transaction: July 28, 2021
– Capitals Trade: 2023 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Kraken Trade: Vitek Vanecek (G)

2nd deal: March 21, 2022
– Capitals Trade: Daniel Sprong (F) 2022 4th RD Draft Pick, 2023 6th RD Draft Pick
– Kraken Trade: Markus Johansson (F)

Philadelphia Flyers
Trades made = 2

1st Trade: June 24, 2019
– Capitals Trade: Matt Niskanen (D)
– Flyers Trade: Radko Gudas (D)

2nd deal: April 12, 2021
– Capitals Trade: 2021 5th RD Draft Pick
– Flyers Trade: Michael Raffl (F)

Calgary Flames
Trades made = 2

1st transaction: March 1, 2015
– Capitals Trade: 2015 2nd & 3rd RD Draft Picks
– Flames Trade: Curtis Glencross (F)

2nd deal: October 6, 2020
– Capitals Trade: 2020 1st RD Draft Pick (CAL used to select Connor Zary, C), 2020 3rd RD Draft Pick
– Flames Trade: 2020 1st RD Draft Pick (WSH used to select Hendrix Lapierre, C)

MacLellan has sought the cooperation of these above teams two or more times, with three clubs (NYR, PHI, NJ) fellow teams in the Metropolitan Division. A number of these trades have had significant ramifications for the Caps since they were made; the likes of TJ Oshie, Nick Jensen, Lars Eller, and Anthony Mantha are current members of the team’s lineup, with Oshie and Eller playing significant roles in the team’s Stanley Cup win in 2018. Others saw core members of the team depart.

What is evident from the numbers above is that the Capitals GM has favored players or picks from certain organizations when doing business with opposing GMs. Most of the moves MacLellan made were with the ultimate goal of (another) Stanley Cup in mind with a veteran core while balancing the team’s roster in the salary cap era.

Of the 21 teams, 11 (roughly 52%) have traded MacLellan on two or more occasions, with four doing business with the Capitals on three separate occasions.

Whatever MacLellan’s approach when looking to make deals, it’s undeniable that he’s a creature of habit when it comes to his idea of ​​potential trading partners to do business with. Whether it’s a closer relationship with the front offices of said teams, or simply a matter of the types of players the Caps want, or pure coincidence, the trend over his eight years on the job is still interesting.

Trade information via the NHL TRADE TRACKER

By Michael Fleetwood

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