Jason Arnott did not know if he wanted to be traded.
Still waivering between staying with th New Jersey Devils for their unlikely playoff run or getting traded to a legitimate contender, Arnott finally moved to the Washington Capitals in order to solve their second line center position. After trying 20-year-old Marcus Johansson, minor leaguer Mathieu Perreault and winger Brooks Laich down the middle, the team finally obtains a player who not only can fill the void but can bring leadership to a team that clearly lacks it.
At 36-years-old Arnott mostly played on the third line line of what should have been a stacked Devils team. He also played a big role on their powerplay and should help the Caps in that department as he can play up front or on the point.
In return for Arnott the Devils got not only Dave Steckel but a second round pick in this year’s draft. Aside from the Campoli and Penner deal, that second represented the highest pick dealt which further shows how much of a haul Lou Lamoriello and company received.
Statistically, Arnott actually struggled while his team got better. He scored only one goal and two points in all of February while potting only three goals and five points in 12 January games. Over that stretch, the team fared quite well, sporting a 16-6-2 record — which becomes even more impressive when considering they lost their first three games of the year.
A quick look at those numbers make it somewhat clear why Lamoriello said his team is “better with David Steckel than Jason Arnott”
Regardless of those comments, Arnott should improve his point totals considerably, especially since he will be relied upon to put the puck into the net. In addition, swtiching from Vladimir Zharkov and Mattias Tedenby to bonafide weapons should help.
Again, a good hockey trade although the Caps definitely overpaid for a depreciating asset. In Arnott, they receive a former captain and sure-to-be a gritty leader who will help their group as much as Mike Knuble has in the locker room but they definitely paid the price.
In summary… (line changes)
Devils: Steckel could fill in on the third line or push Rod Pelley up from the fourth. Jacob Josefson can also take over that spot.
Capitals: Arnott definitely starts on the second line and could move up even more if Nicklas Backstrom can’t take faceoffs. No word on who comes out of the lineup but it likely will not be as simple since Bruce Boudreau changes his lineup every night.
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