Capitals acquire one-time Stanley Cup champion
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals are close to solidifying their defense corps. Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, they’re working on a deal to acquire left-shot Joel Edmundson from the Montreal Canadiens. Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, Montreal is receiving draft picks in return. Those picks are a 2024 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-rounder. The Canadiens are retaining 50% of Edmundson’s $3.5M cap hit as part of the deal.

This is a trade that’s easy to like from both sides of the equation. For Washington, they get to add an accomplished veteran defenseman who is both a respected stay-at-home blueliner as well as a valued locker-room leader. While he’s had injury issues crop up more recently during his tenure in Montreal, Edmundson is a Stanley Cup champion with significant playoff experience.

He’s provided the Canadiens with steady play and at times a ferocious net-front presence. He’s likely a better fit on a bottom-pairing with penalty-killing time than he is as a bona fide top-four player.

Thankfully in Washington, they have the type of defensive depth that will allow new head coach Spencer Carbery to utilize Edmundson how he prefers.

With Rasmus Sandin and Martin Fehervary already penciled into slots on Washington’s left side, Edmundson is likely to pair with Trevor Van Riemsdyk, giving Washington a bulletproof third-pairing that Carbery can deploy in high-leverage defensive situations. With 50% retention, it’s hard to argue at the draft pick cost for the Capitals.

As for Montreal’s side of the equation, it undoubtedly hurts to lose Edmundson’s locker room leadership for their young team. But Montreal has a crop of young blueliners that’ll need ice time to develop, and with Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, and Kaiden Guhle all left-handers, not to mention veteran Mike Matheson, there simply wasn’t room for Edmundson if the priority in Montreal is player development.

By retaining salary, Montreal gets the best possible draft compensation to further their rebuild, while also clearing space for their growing group of promising young blueliners.

This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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