Capitals deal for Arnott, Wideman on deadline day
Big power forward arrives from Devils for fellow forward Steckel
The Washington Capitals added a big body and Stanley Cup playoff experience Monday in the form of centre Jason Arnott.
Heading to the New Jersey Devils is fellow forward David Steckel, who is known by many as the player who knocked Sidney Crosby out of the Penguins lineup on New Year's Day with a head-shot during the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh.
Arnott, who won a Stanley Cup championship with the Devils in 2000, is an unrestricted free agent after this season. His remaining salary cap hit for this season is $990,000 US.
Arnott collected 13 goals, 24 points and a minus-9 rating in 62 games for New Jersey this season.
In Washington, he could use his six-foot-five, 220-pound frame to open up ice for skilled winger Nicklas Backstrom, who has been shadowed heavily this season and contributed 15 goals and 53 points in 63 contests. Last season, he tallied 33 goals and 101 points in 82 games.
In 106 NHL playoff games, the native of Wasaga Beach, Ont., has 30 goals and 60 points.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello re-acquired Arnott from Nashville in June 2010 for forward Matt Halischuk and the Devils' second-round pick in this summer's draft.
Arnott previously spent five seasons with the Devils and was the centre of the "A Line," which also featured current Devil Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora.
Steckel, 28, signed a three-year contract with Washington last January worth $3.3 million. A faceoff specialist, he recorded only five goals and 11 points in 57 games this season.
The Caps also made a move to shore up their blue-line on Monday, shipping prospect Jake Hauswirth and a third-round draft pick in 2011 to the Florida Panthers for defenceman Dennis Wideman on NHL trade deadline day.
Wideman, a 27-year-old stay-at-home defender, carries an annual cap hit of $3,937,500 and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season.
He has nine goals and 24 assists this season for the Panthers, but owns a dismal minus-26 rating, tied for second-worst in the league.
The veteran now moves to a club that is one of the top contenders in the East.
"I love the way that their team plays, high pace, holding on to the puck, puck possession kind of thing," Wideman told Hockey Night in Canadaon Monday. "It's really exciting, they've got a great team there. I'm excited to go and make a run for a Stanley Cup hopefully."
Mike Green, the Capitals' top offensive defenceman, is currently out of the lineup after taking a puck to the face.
In Hauswirth, the Panthers get a 23-year-old forward who has 14 points in 37 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
A Michigan native, the youngster is a strong presence, standing six-foot-five and weighing 210 pounds. Washington signed him as a free agent in May 2009.
with files from Rod Perry