Last season – 1st in the Eastern Conference – President’s Trophy Winner
Last year was another season where the Capitals excelled in the regular season and didn’t manage to follow up in the tighter post-season. They come towards this season with what looks like a better and more balanced roster, after adding some depth.
GM – Brian MacLellan
This is MacLellan’s third season as GM, after serving in different positions for 13 years before that. This offseason he has tried to fix an issue he can do something about, and that is trading for more capable depth who can provide some offensive spark as well.
His challenge going forward will be to not doing anything rash and if able, try improving their depth situation even more. Their top six is solid.
Head Coach – Barry Trotz
Barry Trotz is also coming into his third season with the Washington Capitals. He has managed to make the Capitals a more defensive reliable team while still providing lots of offense, and his challenge for the year would be to manage to get their offensive stars rolling at the same time, and get some more out of their bottom six forwards.
They will once again be a contender.
Lars Eller (C), Brett Connolly (RW), Zachary Sanford (LW),
28th overall pick 2016 (Lucas Johansen, D), 87th overall pick 2016 (Garrett Pilon, F)
26th overall pick 2016 (Tage Thompson, F), 2nd round pick 2017, 2nd round pick 2018
The Capitals do have a solid team, and this offseason they tried to not do too much, but something. They signed Lars Eller and Brett Connolly to get some more depth, and also re-signed Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson.
Goaltending – 9/10
The Capitals have had of the best goaltenders in the league the last few seasons, and it’s not going to change this upcoming one either. Holtby will be a solid brick for them back there, while Grubauer has showed that he is a capable backup when called upon.
Defense – 8/10
The Capitals defense is a bit like the Penguins defense. It’s not among the greatest when the tactic doesn’t suit them or they aren’t able to play an offensive pressurized game. However, when they do, this is a solid constructed defense who were among the best ones in the league last year.
Alzner – Niskanen
Orlov – J. Carlson
Orpik – Schmidt
(Bowey – Chorney)
Forwards – 9/10
One could argue that the Capitals have had one of the best top six lines in the league, and their offense last season proves that, when they carried them to another President’s Trophy. Where they have had issues is among their depth forwards and with not having their players rolling at the same time.
In the offseason MacLellan have tried to address the bottom six by getting a solid third line center, and on paper the Capitals look deeper than previously.
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – T.J. Oshie
Burakovsky – Backstrom – M. Johansson
Winnik – Eller – J. Williams
T. Wilson – Beagle – Connolly
Team Composition – 9/10
Like the Penguins, the Capitals is well structured in regards to the strategy they want to play. They just haven’t had the high end players roll at the same time, and they haven’t gotten enough support from their depth forwards. If they are able to land this, watch out. Cup incoming!
Leadership presence – 9/10
There are plenty of guys in this roster with experience. Ovechkin, Bacstrom, Oshie, Williams, Orpik and it shouldn’t be a problem for them going forward.
Skill Value – 10/10
Their top six offense is highly skilled, they defense is solid with the right gameplan and their depth looks stronger. They could potentially have one of the best third lines in the league. A concern is what they could bring from their prospects in the organization? Is their best bet Madison Bowey and Lucas Johansen. Either way, if won’t affect the team this season, but future could be a concern.