McPhee explains why he traded for Halak

McPhee explains why he traded for Halak
March 5, 2014, 8:00 pm
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PHILADELPHIA -- After beating Wednesday's NHL trade deadline by acquiring goaltender Jaroslav Halak and a third-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla, Capitals general manager George McPhee spoke to reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:

On parting with Neuvirth, who was 59-41-13 with a 2.67 GAA and .910 save percentage in parts of six seasons with the Capitals:

“He wasn't happy being the No. 2, and so we tried to accommodate him and we brought in an experienced guy. I think it's an upgrade on the tandem, which is what we wanted to accomplish.”

On if Neuvirth asked to be traded:

“He didn't, but earlier in the season he said he wanted more opportunities and he just wasn't comfortable being the No. 2, which is what he's been.”

On how playing time will be divided between Halak [24-9-4, 2.23, .917] and Braden Holtby [19-13-3, 2.94, .911]:

"Both guys will start games. We'll see where it goes."

On his interest in Halak and if his play against the Capitals in 2010 played a role in his acquisition:

"He's obviously only been in play about a week. … It was more about now. He's played well in Montreal, he's played well in St. Louis and we hope he can come here and play well. He's a good goalie and he can get hot. The objective was to try to upgrade the tandem and we did."

[RELATED: Capitals acquire Penner from Anaheim]

On Halak becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1:

"Like [Dustin] Penner, he's going to be playing for a new contract. And they usually play pretty well when they're doing that."

On how long he has considered trading for Halak:

"We've been thinking about it this week. We looked at all opportunities and where we can upgrade on our team and what's available and what's the price. The more we thought about this, the better it looked. And we were able to accomplish it. We didn't have to give up picks; we got a pick [3rd round in 2015] and it’s in a real good draft."

On the number of goalies the Caps have had over the years and where Holtby fits in:

“We love Braden Holtby. Love his talent, love his character, love the way he battles. He’s going to be here a while. There’s lots to like about him. He’s only 23. Olie Kolzig came into his own at what, 27? He still has lot to learn and lots to develop. I think we’ve drafted well. The hard thing about it is you have to play them to find out and sometimes there are rough stretches with goalies. We like Grubauer a lot and we’ll see. I can't project for September right now . I know we like Holtby a lot,  we like Grubauer a lot. We’ll see what develops with Halak and go from there."

More of McPhee's interview to come ...