In another heartbreaking, wretched NHL trade, Brooks Laich, Washington D.C.'s longest-tenured athlete, is no longer a Capital. He is a Leaf, after being a faithful, amazing Capital for 12 years, ever since I was only three years old. Boo.
The Capitals traded away Laich, Connor Carrick, and a second-round pick for Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round pick. In my opinion, the Capitals are trading away their future, as they now do not have any first- or second-round picks for the next draft. On top of that, the Leafs are winning more in this trade because they get better players.
“Daniel is a versatile player who plays with grit and can be used in all situations,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “This move enables us to add some depth to our forward group and balances our lineup. We would like to thank Brooks for all of his contributions to our organization over the past 10 years. Brooks is a true professional and we wish him all the best in the future.”
The only problem with Laich is that after health complications (injury to the groin) in 2011, he never was the player he had been before and became a fourth-line centre on the Capitals, never again living up to his $4.5 million cap hit. Winnik is much cheaper and by acquiring him and getting rid of Laich's contract, the Capitals have gained $2.2 million in cap space. Still, the trade is heartbreaking, for a multitude of reasons.
The Wawota, Saskatchewan native was a fan favourite in Washington for many reasons. Right after the Capitals' devastating first-round playoff exit in the 2010 playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens, two female Capitals fans were stranded on the side of the road with a messed-up tire. Although the team had just lost and it was clear Laich was going through a tough time, he stopped by the side of the road to fix the tire for them, immediately making their days.
Not only that, but his shenanigans with Michael Latta and Tom Wilson about an Instagram follow were hilarious, with Wilson and Latta leaving comments on his Instagram posts begging for a follow multiple times. Laich had a drone from his fiancee Julianne Hough, and he used it for another hobby of his, film-making, where he filmed several scenes when he had time and used time-lapse on them. I thought it was pretty amazing. He was going to get married to Julianne this August, but I guess, sadly, us Caps fans will not see it.
He even made this hilarious video telling fans five things every man should know how to do:
On his last days in Washington, Laich and Hough, along with TJ Oshie and his wife Lauren, went to a Carrie Underwood concert all together. Laich, my man. This is even worse than losing Eric Fehr and Joel Ward in the offseason. Brooksie, you will be missed. If the Capitals get their Stanley Cup win this year, it will be bittersweet, as D.C.'s longest-tenured athlete and most faithful player, who has been with the Capitals starting from the 2004 rebuild and is the last remaining piece of Peter Bondra, is now gone. Good luck with your new team, Brooksie, and we hope to have you back in a Capitals uniform soon.