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Washington Capitals acquire forward Carl Hagelin from Kings

Washington Capitals acquire forward Carl Hagelin from Kings
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The Washington Capitals have made their first move in advance of Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring speedy veteran forward Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round draft pick this year and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020. Hagelin will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The Kings will retain 50 per cent of Hagelin’s remaining salary this season, according to a person familiar with the terms of the deal.

King’s Carl Hagelin has been acquired by Washington for a 2019 third-round pick and a conditional sixth-round pick in the next year’s entry draft.  (Noah K. Murray / Associated Press)

The Capitals are well acquainted with Hagelin from many playoff battles against him when he played for the New York Rangers and then won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. The 30-year-old Swedish winger has struggled this season with just two goals and eight assists in 38 games, traded from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in November, but he has a history of success in the post-season.

During the Penguins’ 2016 Stanley Cup run he scored six goals with 10 assists in 24 games and he can bring quickness and scoring depth to Washington’s third or fourth line. Hagelin can also kill penalties, averaging 2:32 shorthanded per game for Pittsburgh last season.

The Capitals prepared for this move on Wednesday when the team waived forward Devante Smith-Pelly to clear his $1-million salary-cap hit. Washington initially intended to waive forward Dimitrij Jaskin, even keeping him off the ice for practice in Toronto, but then the organization changed course by noon, the deadline to place a player on waivers. Smith-Pelly and Jaskin have near-identical cap hits.

Adding Hagelin checks off the one thing general manager Brian MacLellan said was on his wish list earlier this month. The Capitals still have time to tinker before Monday’s trade deadline, but MacLellan has said he’s happy with the team’s depth on the blue line, and though Washington is the worst faceoff team in the league, MacLellan rejected the idea of acquiring a faceoff specialist unless he was a good fit in the lineup otherwise.

While the Capitals may have been open to moving 24-year-old winger Andre Burakovsky earlier in the season, he’s been playing better, flashing more of the skill and speed that made him a first-round pick in 2013. Burakovsky has seven goals with 10 assists through 54 games, and though he’s a restricted free agent who would require a $3.25-million qualifying offer, it seems Washington is now more likely to keep him than deal him.
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