WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Washington Capitals are not going to win the Metropolitan Division this year. It is that simple and the fact that they aren't shouldn't matter to anyone that follows this team.
The Capitals are currently tied for fourth in the division and for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. As I mentioned over the summer and prior to the season, they will be in a dogfight for a playoff berth and the next three weeks should make that abundantly clear.
The team has holes and the team is not playing consistently enough within the current system. So the question becomes: as a General Manager, do you resign yourself to this fact or do you try to make something happen?
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan needs to make something happen and do something unorthodox for the Capitals franchise: make a big splash in the middle of the season.
No, I do not mean by the trade deadline. He needs to pull off a big trade in the next three weeks or it likely won't matter at all.
Last year, I mentioned how the Toronto Maple Leafs were the perfect trade partner for the Washington Capitals to get rid of Brooks Laich's contract. This season, the big splash is going to come from the Colorado Avalanche if it happens at all.
MacLellan needs to be on the phone with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic every day until he pulls off a big trade. When you are going after a player and want to make a big splash in the middle of January, it means you are going to probably overpay for the player you are acquiring.
Washington sends Marcus Johansson, Dmirty Orlov, Daniel Winnik and a first-round pick to Colorado. In return the Avalanche trade to Washington Matt Duchene, Fedor Tyutin, and a second-round pick.
This would provide the Capitals with a top-six forward in Duchene that is capable of playing center or the wing, and decent third pairing defenseman, plus they would create $1.4 million in salary cap space for a later move at the trade deadline.
The Avalanche would acquire a solid two way forward in Johansson and a top-four blueliner in Orlov, which is what they likely want in a deal for Duchene.
If MacLellan does not step up to the plate and make a big move like this, one of his colleagues will be doing just that and the Capitals will be left on the outside of the big game hunt. The result will be returning home before the month of May.
If he makes a move like the proposal, they could still head home before May, but at least he will have shown the League he made the effort and the organization will be better situated moving forward as the expansion draft looms.
Patrick Greissing is the Washington Correspondent for The Fourth Period. Follow him on Twitter.