Should Caps be buyers or sellers?

With less than a week remaining before Monday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline and the Capitals losers of five of their last six, the question must be asked:

Should George McPhee be a buyer or seller?

Back in September you would have been laughed out of the Verizon Center with such a question, but let’s be real. The Caps don’t look like a team that’s one or two pieces away from competing for a Stanley Cup.

They don’t even look like a team capable of stringing together five or six wins to build a comfortable lead atop the Southeast Division.

So McPhee must ask himself this question: Is it time to unload soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mike Knuble, Alex Semin and Dennis Wideman before they flee somewhere else on July 1?

Or should he keep what he’s built, cross his fingers that center Nicklas Backstrom returns from his concussion and take his chances that the Caps go on a season-ending run that extends well into the postseason?

Last week, McPhee told reporters he’d like to hold onto his team’s future assets, and there are quite a few of them, starting with Russian forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stanislav Galiev and extending to their two picks in the first round of the 2012 NHL draft, picks that may be pretty high if the Caps and Avalanche continue losing.