Washington Capitals' Top Trade Candidate This Season

The Washington Capitals now have an extremely crammed forward group as most of their big names have returned. Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson returned at the same time and have now played five games. But in their absence, a number of players have stepped up and helped this team stay in contention for the playoffs. They currently hold the first wildcard spot in a tight race, but have played .500 hockey over the past couple of weeks.

They recently received bad news that star defenceman John Carlson will miss a significant amount of time. That means the Capitals are going to need to replace him in their lineup. They have been linked to a number of different defencemen, and none of them are cheap cap-wise. That means they will have to move a forward who also takes up a certain amount of cap space. That player appears to be Anthony Mantha without a doubt since he failed to be one of those players who stepped up.

The Capitals paid a lot for Mantha in 2020-21, but he hasn't been able to produce like he did with the Detroit Red Wings. He scored at least 24 goals and 48 points in back-to-back seasons before almost becoming a point-per-game player in 2019-20. In 95 games since being acquired by the Capitals, Mantha has scored just 22 goals and 54 points.

The Capitals have also made Mantha a healthy scratch as of late seeing as his production is low. It is time for a change of scenery for him, but it will be tough to find a trade partner. He could even require an asset to move him considering his cap hit is $5.7 million until the end of next season.

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