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Creatures of Habit: Brian MacLellan's Familiar Business Partner

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Believe it or not, Brian McClellan has been the general manager of the Washington Capitals for eight years. Since April 2014, when his predecessor George McPhee was named to the position he has served 17 his seasons, McClellan has proven himself to be an aggressive and ambitious GM.

During his eight seasons at the helm of the Caps’ front office, McClellan was actively involved in trades, resolving lineup issues, cutting overpayments, and making a second attempt at the Stanley Cup. I hope to improve the team towards However, upon examining his trading partners, it is clear that “GMBM” preferred to trade with a group of his NHL clubs of choice.

Capitals’ trading partners since the 2014-15 season (according to the NHL Trade Tracker):
– Winnipeg Jets (2)
– St. Louis Blues (3)
– New York Rangers (2)
– Colorado Avalanche (3)
– Detroit Red Wings (2)
– New Jersey Devils (3)
– Montreal Canadiens (3)
– Los Angeles Kings (2)
– Seattle Kraken (2)
– Philadelphia Flyers (2)
– Calgary Flames (2)
– San Jose Sharks (1)
– Ottawa Senator (1)
– Carolina Hurricanes (1)
– Minnesota Wild (1)
– Chicago Blackhawks (1)
– Arizona Coyote (1)
– Buffalo Sabers (1)
– Vegas Golden Knights (1)
– Toronto Maple Leafs (1)
– Anaheim Ducks (1)

All together, we have a total of 36 trades and 21 teams. Of those 36 trades, 26 (72%) were with the same team he made more than once.

Below, we look at the teams MacLellan has traded with more than once, and the deals he has done with each.

st louis blues
Transactions made = 3

First trade: July 2, 2015
Capitals Trade: Troy Brouwer (RW), Pheonix Copley (G), 2016 3rd RD Draft Pick
Blue Trade: TJ Oshie (RW)

Second trade: June 24, 2016
Capitals Trade: 2016 1st RD Draft Pick (#26; used by STL in Tage Thompson, F)
Bruce trades: 2016 RD Draft 1st Place (#28; used by Lucas Johansen’s WSH), 2016 RD Draft 3rd Place

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

colorado avalanche
Transactions made = 3

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

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

Third trade: June 28, 2019
– Capitals Trade: Andre Brachowski (F)
– Avalanche Trade: Scott Kosmachuk (F), 2020 2nd & 3rd RD Draft Pick

new jersey devils
Transactions made = 3

First trade: July 2, 2017
– Capitals Trade: Marcus Johansson (F)
– Devil’s Trade: 2018 2nd & 3rd RD Draft Pick

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

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

montreal canadiens
Transactions made = 3

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

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

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

Winnipeg Jets
Transactions made = 2

First transaction: June 28, 2014
– Capitals Trade: Eddie Pasquale (G), 2014 6th RD draft pick
– Jets Trade: 2014 6th and 7th RD Draft Picks, 2015 7th RD Draft Picks

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

new york rangers
Transactions made = 2

First trade: June 27, 2015
– Capitals Trade: 2015 3rd & 4th RD Draft Pick
– Rangers Trade: 2015 2nd RD Draft Pick

Second trade: February 9, 2018
– Capitals Trade: Hubert Lovely (D), John Albert (C)
– Rangers Trade: Adam Chappie (female), Joe Whitney (female)

detroit red wings
Transactions made = 2

First trade: February 22, 2019
– Capitals Trade: Madison Bowie (Democrat), 2020 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Red Wings Trade: Nick Jensen (D), 2019 5th RD Draft Pick

Second Trade: 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 Mantha (F)

los angeles kings
Transactions made = 2

First trade: February 15, 2017
– Capital transactions: future considerations
– Kings Trade: Tom Gilbert (D)

Second trade: February 21, 2019
– Capitals Trade: 2019 3rd RD Draft Pick, 2020 Conditional 6th RD Draft Pick
– Kings Trade: Karl Hagelin (F)

seattle kraken
Transactions made = 2

First trade: July 28, 2021
– Capitals Trade: 2023 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Kraken Trade: Vitec Vanessek (G)

Second Trade: March 21, 2022
– Capitals Trade: Daniel Sprong (F) 2022 4th RD Draft Pick, 2023 6th RD Draft Pick
– Kraken Trade: Marcus Johansson (F)

Philadelphia Flyers
Transactions made = 2

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

Second Trade: April 12, 2021
– Capitals Trade: 2021 5th RD Draft Pick
– Flyers Trade: Michael Raffle (F)

Calgary Flames
Transactions made = 2

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

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

McClellan enlisted the above teams more than once, along with fellow teams from three clubs within the Metropolitan Division (NYR, PHI and NJ). Many of these deals have had a significant impact on Cap since it was created. TJ Oshie, Nick Jensen, Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha are among the current members of the team’s line-up, with both Oshie and Eller playing key roles in the team’s 2018 Stanley His Cup victory. . Others saw core members of the team depart.

It’s immediately clear from the numbers above that Capitals’ general managers prioritized players and drafted picks from specific organizations when dealing with rival GMs. Most of the moves McClellan made had the end goal of running (another) Stanley Cup with a veteran core in mind while balancing the team’s roster during the salary cap era.

Of the 21 teams, 11 (around 52%) have had two or more deals with McClellan, and four of those have had three deals with the Capitals.

Whatever McClellan’s approach to making deals, there’s no question that he’s a creature of habit when it comes to his thoughts on potential counterparties to do business with. Whether it’s a matter of a closer relationship with the team’s front office, the type of player the Caps covet, or purely a matter of chance, he’s worked his eight years. The trend is interesting.

Trade information from NHL TRADE TRACKER

Michael Fleetwood

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