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Penguins

Capitals' playoff run showing trade deadline can be overrated

Jonathan Bombulie
| Friday, May 25, 2018, 5:03 p.m.
Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6), from the Czech Republic, skates with the puck with Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) behind him during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6), from the Czech Republic, skates with the puck with Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) behind him during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By making it to the Stanley Cup Final, the Washington Capitals may be proving how overrated the NHL trade deadline can be.

After making a bold play for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk the year before and bowing out to the Penguins in the second round, the Capitals carefully tinkered with their defensive depth at this year's deadline, adding Michal Kempny from Chicago for a third-round pick and Jakub Jerabek from Montreal for a fifth-rounder

They're having their best postseason in 20 years.

Other general managers around the league are taking note.

“They make a significant move at the deadline (last year), they don't win. This year, they were relatively quiet,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told reporters in Tampa this week. “I think Kempny was their one big addition and he played very well for them, but it wasn't a headline-grabbing trade. They moved some of their young guys in and they had a positive impact.”

Each of the three teams the Capitals beat en route to the final series made a bigger splash at the trade deadline than they did.

Columbus added defenseman Ian Cole, winger Thomas Vanek and center Mark Letestu. The Penguins added Derick Brassard. Tampa Bay picked up Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.

Adding to the less-is-sometimes-more storyline, Washington's opponent in the Stanley Cup Final didn't make huge moves at the deadline either. Vegas picked up wingers Tomas Tatar and Ryan Reaves, who have played complementary roles in the team's playoff run.

Their Western Conference finals opponent, Winnipeg, made one of the more high-profile deadline deals by picking up center Paul Stastny from St. Louis.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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