Creatures of Experience: Brian McClellan’s Famous Business Partners


Hard to believe, Brian McClellan has been the general manager of the Washington Capitals for eight years. Since being named to the post held by predecessor George McPhee for 17 seasons in April 2014, McClellan has proven to be an active and ambitious GM who isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on major free agents and/or trades.

During his eight seasons at the helm of the Caps’ front office, McClellan was an active participant in trades that he thought would fix a line problem, cut excess salary or improve the team’s ability to make another run at the Stanley Cup. When one examines its business partners, however, it is clear that “GMBM” has chosen to do business with select NHL clubs.

Capitals trade partners since 2014-15 season (via NHL Trade Tracker):
– Winnipeg Jets (2)
– St. Louis Blues (3)
– New York Rangers (2)
– Colorado Avalanche (3)
– Detroit Red Wings (2)
– New Jersey Devils (3)
– Montreal Canadiens (3)
– Los Angeles Kings (2)
– Seattle Kraken (2)
– Philadelphia Flyers (2)
– Calgary Flames (2)
– San Jose Sharks (1)
– Ottawa Senators (1)
– Carolina Hurricanes (1)
– Minnesota Wild (1)
– Chicago Blackhawks (1)
– Arizona Coyotes (1)
– Buffalo Sabers (1)
– Vegas Golden Knights (1)
– Toronto Maple Leafs (1)
Anaheim Ducks (1)

In summary, there are a total of 36 trades and 21 groups. Of these 36 trades, 26 (72%) were with the same teams two or more times.

Below is a look at the teams McClellan has traded to two or more times and the trades with each.

St. Louis Blues
Transactions made = 3

1st trade: July 2, 2015
Capitals Trade: Troy Brouwer (RW), Pheonix Copley (G), 2016 3rd RD Draft Pick
Blues Trade: TJ O’Shea (RW)

2nd Trade: June 24, 2016
Capitals trade: 2016 1st RD draft pick (#26; used in STL by Tage Thompson, F)
Blues trade: 2016 1st RD draft pick (#28; used by WSH for Lucas Johannes, D), 2016 3rd RD draft pick

3rd Business: February 27, 2017
– Capitals trade: Zach Sanford (F), Brad Malone (F), 2017 1st RD draft pick (traded to PHI via STL, used to select Morgan Frost, C), 2019 conditional 2nd RD pick
– Blues trade: Kevin Shattenkirk (D), Phoenix Copley (G).

Colorado tornado
Transactions made = 3

1st Business: March 1, 2017
– Capital Trade: Cody Corbett (D)
– Avalanche trade: Joe Kanata (G).

2nd Trade: June 22, 2018
– Capital Trade: Brooks Orpik (D), Philip Grubauer (G);
– Avalanche trade: 2018 2nd RD draft pick

3rd Trade: June 28, 2019
– Capital Trade: Andrey Burakovsky (F)
– Avalanche trade: Scott Kosmachuk (F), 2020 2nd and 3rd RD draft picks

New Jersey Devils
Transactions made = 3

1st Trade: July 2, 2017
– Capital Trade: Marcus Johansson (F)
– Satan’s Business: 2018 2nd and 3rd RD draft picks

2nd Trade: April 11, 2021
– Capital Trade: Jonas Sjenthal (D)
– Satan’s business: 2021 3rd RD draft pick

3rd Trade: July 8, 2022
– Capital trade: Vitek Vanecek (G), 2022 2nd RD draft pick
– Satan’s Business: 2022 2nd and 3rd RD draft picks

Montreal Canadiens
Transactions made = 3

1st Trade: June 24, 2016
– Capital Trade: 2017 2nd RD Draft Pick, 2018 3rd RD Draft Pick
– Canadian trade: Lars Eller (C)

2nd Business: February 21, 2018
– Capital Trade: 2019 5th RD Draft Selection
– Canadian Business: Jakub Jerabek (D)

3rd Trade: February 23, 2020
– Capital Trade: 2020 3rd RD Draft Selection
Canadian Trade Ilya Kovalchuk (RW)

Winnipeg Jets
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: June 28, 2014
– Capitals trade: Eddie Pascual (G), 2014 6th RD draft pick
– Jets trade: 2014 6th and 7th RD draft picks, 2015 7th RD draft pick

2nd Trade: July 26, 2021
– Capital Trade: Brendan Dillon (D)
– Jets trade: 2022 2nd RD draft pick, 2023 2nd RD draft pick

New York Rangers
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: June 27, 2015
– Capital Trade: 2015 3rd and 4th RD draft picks
– Rangers trade: 2015 2nd RD draft picks

2nd Trade: February 9, 2018
– Capital Business: Hubert Labre (D), John Albert (C)
Rangers trade: Adam Chappie (F), Joe Whitney (F).

Detroit Red Wings
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: February 22, 2019
– Capitals trade: Madison Bowey (D), 2020 2nd RD draft pick
– Red Wings trade: Nick Jensen (D), 2019 5th RD draft pick

2nd Trade: April 12, 2021
– Capitals Trade: Jakub Vrana (F), 2021 1st RD Draft Pick, Richard Panik (F), 2022 2nd RD Draft Pick
– Red Wings Trade: Anthony Manta (F)

Los Angeles Kings
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: February 15, 2017
– Capital trade-future issues
– Business of Kings: Tom Gilbert (D)

2nd Trade: February 21, 2019
– Capital Trade: 2019 3rd RD Draft Pick, 2020 Conditional 6th RD Draft Pick
– Business of Kings: Carl Hellin (F)

The Seattle Kraken
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: July 28, 2021
– Capital trade: 2023 2nd RD draft pick
– Kraken Business: Vitek Vanacek (G)

2nd Trade: March 21, 2022
– Capitals trade: Daniel Sprong (F) 2022 4th RD draft pick, 2023 6th RD draft pick
– Kraken Business: Marcus Johansson (F)

Philadelphia flyers
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: June 24, 2019
– Capital Trade: Matt Niskanen (D)
– Flyers Business: Radko Gudas (D)

2nd Trade: April 12, 2021
– Capital trade: 2021 5th RD draft pick
– Flyers Business: Michael Raffle (F)

Calgary Flames
Transactions made = 2

1st Trade: March 1, 2015
– Capital Trade: 2015 2nd and 3rd RD draft picks
– Flames Trading: Curtis Glencross (F)

2nd Trade: October 6, 2020
– Capitals trade: 2020 1st RD draft pick (used to select CAL Connor Zary, C), 2020 3rd RD draft pick
– Flames trade: 2020 1st RD draft pick (WSH used to select Hendricks Lapierre, C.)

McClellan claimed double or more of these above teams with fellow teams from three clubs in the Metropolitan Division (NYR, PHI, NJ). Many of these trades had significant implications for the Caps since they were made; The likes of TJ Oshie, Nick Jensen, Lars Eller and Anthony Manta are members of the team’s lineup, both Oshie and Eller played significant roles in the team’s 2018 Stanley Cup victory. They saw the other core members of the group leave.

What is clear from the numbers above is that the Capitals general manager is favored for players or draft picks when making trades with certain GMs. Many of McClellan’s moves have been balancing the team’s roster during the salary cap period with an aging core in mind with the ultimate goal of (another) Stanley Cup.

11 of the 21 teams (roughly 52%) have traded with McClellan on two or more occasions, four with the Capitals on three separate occasions.

Regardless of McClellan’s approach when looking to do business, he was undoubtedly a creature of habit when it came to the idea of ​​potential business partners. Whether it’s a matter of close contact with the front offices of said teams, the type of players the Caps want, or coincidence, the trends over his eight-year career are interesting.

Trade information via the NHL TRADE TRACKER

By Michael Fleetwood





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