At this point, it looks like the Capitals need a second line center. Here is a quick shopping list for George McPhee. It doesn't include every potential player, though.
Brad Richards--he looks like a great fit for a deadline pickup. With a 90+ point revival last season in Dallas, which is not expected to make the playoffs and is operating on a budget at the moment, I think it's likely that someone will take him from Dallas. He is aware defensively, a veteran presence, Stanley Cup Champion (2004, Tampa Bay), the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as a second-line center (behind Vincent Lecavalier), and a terrific offensive player too. Yes, please.
Joe Thornton--He won't be leaving San Jose unless the Capitals overpay significantly. No.
Patrice Bergeron--I like Bergeron a lot. While he has had injury, especially concussion, issues, he's a strong defensive player and an able offensive player. With Boston's current glut of centers in Marc Savard, David Krejci, Bergeron, and just-drafted Tyler Seguin, they should be looking to trade a center. Rumor has it they are trying to trade Savard and re-sign Bergeron, but unless one of them goes to wing, that just may not be feasible. If the asking price is Alexander Semin, then so be it. Bergeron can produce without a star winger. Yes, please.
Jason Arnott--No. New Jersey won't trade the guy they just acquired, especially when they themselves need more centers.
Tim Connolly--He could be good, but Buffalo lacks depth offensively and Connolly is not very durable. No, thank you.
Michal Handzus--Los Angeles has plenty of centers, so they could agree to move one of them to a team in the Eastern Conference. Handzus is capable in all facets of the game. Yes, please.
David Backes--he's a good player. This member of Olympic Team USA this year is easily capable of 50 points on a team like the Capitals, and a pest to boot. It may be difficult to pry him away from (Blues fans hope) emerging St. Louis, however. Yes, please.
Todd White--I initially thought White would be a good choice, recalling his terrific 2008-2009 season with Atlanta, but as I found out, that season is a complete outlier for White. At 35 years old, he has almost a nil chance of replicating anything near that, which is really what the Capitals need. No thanks.
Vernon Fiddler--like White, Fiddler is more suited for a third line rather than a second line center role. Unlike White, he doesn't have an outlier season that could fool a team into thinking that he's actually good enough for a second line center. No thanks.
I'm crossing my fingers especially for Richards, Backes--who I think could fit into the team's longer-term plans, as he won't come too expensive--and Bergeron. Anyone I missed?