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Capitals GM reconsidering approach to deadline amid team's slump

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With the Washington Capitals in a slump, general manager Brian MacLellan is thinking about switching up his approach to the March 21 trade deadline.

"I don't know that we're going to be as aggressive as we've been in the past," MacLellan told the media Wednesday. "Sometimes, just to add depth pieces, we might overpay a little bit because we felt, 'We have a good team, we're gonna go a long way, and we just need players.'

"I don't know that we're in that mode, but we'd still like to try and improve the team."

The Capitals were tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the league Dec. 31 with a points percentage of .712. Washington has since gone 8-12-2.

"In the beginning of the year, I would say (we were) a legit contender. There's probably three, four teams that are at the next level, but we're not next level. (We were) at the high end of that next level of teams," MacLellan said. "Now, I'd say we're at the low level of that next level of teams. We need to improve. We need to get back to where we were."

MacLellan pointed to the Capitals' "inexperienced" goaltending duo of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek as a potential area of improvement.

"The concerning thing for me is sometimes the goals, the timing of the goals, game-situation goals that some veteran guys would tighten it up and make that save," he said. "It's not the overall save percentage, it's when and how the goals happen."

Samsonov owns a .901 save percentage across 32 appearances this season while Vanecek has authored a .915 save percentage in 25 showings.

MacLellan said he's tested the goaltending market with less than one month to go before the deadline.

"We called around earlier. The difficult situation, I think, is it's gotta be an obvious upgrade for us for it to make sense, or otherwise, we go with our guys," he said. "Is this going to get us over a hump on the goaltending side? I don't know that there's that many guys out there that are that quality. There might be one or two."

The Capitals are fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a 28-18-9 record.

Capitals GM reconsidering approach to deadline amid team's slump
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