Conference Outlook: Washington Capitals

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

It’s that time of the year to take a subjective look at the teams that share the Metropolitan division with the Flyers.  As a Flyers fan, you’re aware of what the Flyers have done to make the team better this offseason.  But you may not know what other teams have done.  So, I went through the past articles from this offseason for every Metropolitan team and compiled a list of the moves that I think will affect the division standings the most this upcoming season.

Every team has signings and releases that they go through every offseason.  I’m not worried too much about every move the team has made since the season ended.  I focused more on the moves that I think will have the biggest impact on the team’s play next season.

After the jump, we look at the Washington Capitals.

Next to the Penguins, it can be argued that the Capitals had one of the most, if not the most, active offseasons.

The most notable departure from the Capitals this offseason was Mike Green.  Choosing to sign with the Red Wings, Green leaves the Capitals with one less puck-moving defenseman.  However, it appears the Capitals felt Green’s play had fell off to a point where they didn’t want to give him a lot of money.  The scene change from Green could prove beneficial to both sides.  The Capitals open up a roster spot for one of there younger defenseman to make a splash.  Plus, it’s not like the Capitals were known for their solid defense so letting Green go isn’t the end of the world for them.

Of the resignings, the list includes Brayden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jay Beagle, Marcus Johansson, and Philipp Grubauer.

The biggest resigning is easily Brayden Holtby.  The Capitals lock up their starting goalie for the foreseeable future.  If he keeps progressing like he has, he will become one of the premier goalies in the NHL.  It’s a smart move by the Capitals to keep him in the fold for the next five years.  The second biggest resigning is Evgeny Kuznetsov.  Kuznetsov is developing offensively and should become a big cog in the Capitals’ offense.  If he plays to his potential, the Capitals can use his goals to win some games.  And with Backstrom potentially out for the start of the season, Kuznetsov may be heavily relied on to make up those lost points.  The Capitals also picked up solid third and fourth liner, Jay Beagle, to add some grit to the lineup.  That should replace the grit that left in Troy Brouwer.  Dan Ellis and Philipp Grubauer also resigned so that leaves the Capitals with a suitable backup goaltender either way.  Johansson went to arbitration but still gets into the lineup at an agreeable cost on both sides.

In the free agent market, the Capitals grabbed Justin Williams to fill in the second line wing position.  He’s not blazingly fast but his playoff experience, and two Stanley Cups, can only help the team.  And he still has the scoring touch.  Expect for him to be looked upon for his veteran leadership.

In the trade market, the Capitals made a deal with the Blues to pick up T.J. Oshie.  Oshie gets a nice change of scenery playing for the Capitals and his numbers should go up playing for a much more offensively geared team.

Final overview: The Capitals are better then they were when the season ended.

Will they challenge for a playoff spot?  Definitely.

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