All That Has Transpired: Washington Capitals

We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.

Today, we take a look at the Washington Capitals.
By: Ken Will (@PensNation_Ken)


2013 Season: 27-18-3, 57  pts (1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference)

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin will have some extra motivation this year with the Olympic games in Sochi, Russia (Yahoo! Sports)

LW John Mitchell (ANA)
C Mikhail Grabovski (TOR)
RW Brandon Segal (NYR)
D Tyson Strachan (FLA)
F Matt Watkins (NYI)
G David Leggio (BUF)
D David Kolomatis (LA)

C Mathieu Perreault (ANA)
D Patrick McNeill (CBJ)
RW Joey Crabb (FLA)
W Matt Hendricks (NAS)
C Mike Ribeiro (PHX)
D Jeff Schultz (LA)
G Dany Sabourin
C Ryan Potulny
W Wojtek Wolski
C Mattias Sjogren

Promising Prospects:
RW Tom Wilson
RW Yevgeni Kuznetsov
D Tomas Kundratek
D Cameron Schilling
G Philipp Grubauer

Adam Oates isn’t the new guy any more. Alex Ovechkin is a veteran with nine-years of NHL experience. Braden Holtby is no longer one of the biggest secrets in the league. Following a year of new beginnings, there is very little that was new for the Capitals heading into the 2013-14 training camp–aside from that whole new division thing.

For the first time since 1998, the Washington Capitals will not be competing in the Southeast Division.  In those fourteen years (04-05 is omitted due to the lockout) the Capitals were winners of the Southeast crown seven times and finished second in three of those seasons. Despite this success, the criticism of the Capitals was always the strength, or rather, the weak competition in the Southeast Division. They will be joined by Carolina in the moved to the Metropolitan division. Beyond that they are surrounded by new company, but  not unfamiliar rivals.

In 2013, Washington fought back to win the Southeast after a miserable beginning. The failures and the success of the Capitals rode the roller coaster season of forward Alex Ovechkin–expect nothing different for the 2013-14 season. It is far from a revelation to acknowledge Ovechkin as a dominating force who can take over a game on his own. The switch to his off wing that was enacted by head coach Adam Oates left him out of his comfort zone for much of last season and the team collapsed around him.

Going into camp this year, Ovechkin and Oates have a much better understanding of what they are expecting from each other. On top of that, February of 2014 will call Ovechkin to Sochi to represent his country in the Olympic games. Obviously, he is not alone in that department, but you can’t deny the special meaning of this year’s games to Ovechkin.

There weren’t many changes for the Capitals in the offseason. Mike Riberio, who was surprisingly the star of Washington’s first half last year, signed with the Coyotes and Mikhail Grabovsky brought his nine goals and seven assists from Toronto. Matt Hendricks is another key subtraction, but outside of that, Washington’s makeup has stayed intact.

If they can continue to gel as they did at the close of the 2013 season and if Braden Holtby’s play in net can hold, then we know exactly what to expect from the Washington Capitals. How they fare in the Metropolitan Division depends entirely on the performance of other teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders. Those teams are much more difficult to figure out than Washington. 

But which Alex Ovechkin will show up?

Ken Will (@PensNation_Ken)