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Familiarity Breeds an Acquisition with Carl Hagelin Trade

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2/22/2019 _sam
a person wearing a uniform © Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kings forward brings depth to D.C.

In what has been a whirlwind of a couple days for the Capitals, Washington went out and got Carl Hagelin in an expected yet still surprising trade with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Capitals acquired Hagelin in exchange for a 2019 third round pick and conditional sixth round pick in 2020, the team announced Friday. The Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan provided more detail in regards to the trade.

The 30-year-old forward has 230 points in 526 games, his career high being 17 goals over the last eight seasons. And although he has just two goals and eight points in 38 games split between Pittsburgh and L.A. this season, he provides benefits that go beyond goal-scoring.

Known as the “Caps killer” by some, Hagelin has been a weapon against Washington over the course of his career. His splits show that in the regular season, he tallied four goals in 29 career matchups against Washington, according to Yahoo! Sports.

It’s in the playoffs, however, that he proved to be a dagger, putting up six goals and 15 points in 35 career playoff games against the Capitals.

Now Washington finally has him on its side, and for good reason: to add depth across the chart.

Looking at his defensive stats, Hagelin is a 200-foot player who plays incredibly well on the backend:

a screenshot of a video game © SKATR Comparison Tool

Last season, his 112 hits ranked seventh on the Penguins, and over time, he’s proven that he’s not afraid to throw his weight around, let alone engage in hard battles for the puck.

Hagelin also has plenty of poise with the puck and is a very good possession player. This season, his even-strength CF is at 53.4% percent and his relCF, which is routinely strong, is the highest of his career at 4.9 (and jumped up to 6.4% during his time with LA).

He does get the benefit of a high OZ%, which was a robust 62.1% in LA, and his actual ability to hit the net of late is questionable - his shooting percentage has taken a nose dive over the last three seasons, averaging roughly 5% - but its likely that the Caps will want to use him more as a protector of leads and a driver of play rather than someone actually relied upon for goals.

In that area, he’s excelled; in fact, in 2014-15 and 2015-16, he ranked among the top-30 finalists for the Selke Trophy for his work as a defensive forward.

Hagelin is also a proven asset on the penalty kill, given his skating, speed and ability to move the puck up ice, and balances that with an ability to draw penalties without taking them:

a screenshot of a cell phone © Hockeyviz/@ineffectivemath

Looking at Washington’s bottom-six, specifically the fourth line, it has struggled to show up offensively. Before being sent down, Devante Smith-Pelly had just four goals and eight points in 54 games. Additionally, Chandler Stephenson has been struggling this season with just 10 points in 54 games.

Nic Dowd and Travis Boyd have proven to bolster some production on the fourth line, but ultimately, Washington needs more depth on the wing, and Hagelin can provide that and add to the equation.

Ultimately, despite a lack of success with L.A. this season, this trade isn’t bad for Washington. It’s a low-risk move, with Washington giving up a couple of draft picks for a solid defensive forward who costs less than $2 million.

Note: The move is similar to the one Michael Scott made in “The Office,” when he went out and hired Danny Cordray so he would stop stealing sales from Dunder Mifflin. All jokes aside, this will prove well for Washington.

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