Dom Lunardo | September 16th, 2019
After jubilantly raising Lord Stanley’s illustrious mug for the very first time in franchise history back in June 2018, it was a bitter and rather premature end to the season for the Washington Capitals during the 2018/19 campaign. A fourth straight Metropolitan Division crown was a recipe for yet another hopeful (and successful) postseason in the nation’s capital, but for Alexander Ovechkin and Co., this wasn’t to be this time around.
It was a summer filled with tweaks and minor additions/subtractions for Capitals GM Brian MacLellan and second-year Head Coach Todd Reirden as they hit the reset button heading into a brand new NHL season. The Capitals are definitely not a team that required widespread changes from top to bottom, but as their division grows stronger, the onus is on the Caps themselves to try to improve as much as they possibly can. Defenseman Radko Gudas was brought in for some added sandpaper on the blue line. Upfront forwards Richard Panik and Garnet Hathaway should provide some added speed and jam on the bottom-6 forward lines to complement the likes of Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who will be serving a 3-game suspension for inappropriate conduct to start the season. Regardless of the talent and skill that Evgeny Kuznetsov possesses, his suspension and conduct off the ice this off-season cast a definite dark shadow on the entire organization.
Notable Off-Season Additions: D Radko Gudas, F Richard Panik, F Garnet Hathaway, F Brendan Leipsic
Notable Off-Season Subtractions: F Brett Connolly (FLA), Andre Burakovsky (COL), D Matt Niskanen (PHI), Devante Smith-Pelley (Flames: PTO), D Brooks Orpik (Retired)
Top Prospects: G Ilya Samsonov, F Shane Gersich
Breakout Candidate: F Jakub Vrana
Prediction: After being bounced in 7 games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of last year’s playoffs, it will be a tough go for an aging Capitals team in 2019/20. The off-season distraction surrounding talented forward Evgeny Kuznetsov definitely didn’t help matters for a team that will be in tough to nab a top-3 spot in the Metropolitan Division. Even with the strong, consistent play of veterans Alexander Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, and T.J. Oshie, Father Time remains the single largest enemy facing the Capitals this season. The team from D.C. will be one to watch as the season is set to take center stage in just over two weeks time.
Check out our other 2019-2020 NHL Team Previews:
Colorado Avalanche|Florida Panthers|Dallas Stars|Arizona Coyotes|New Jersey Devils|San Jose Sharks|Buffalo Sabres|Los Angeles Kings|Vancouver Canucks|Winnipeg Jets|Carolina Hurricanes|Boston Bruins|Ottawa Senators|New York Islanders|Minnesota Wild|Vegas Golden Knights|Detroit Red Wings|Pittsburgh Penguins|Chicago Blackhawks | Toronto Maple Leafs | Philadelphia Flyers|St. Louis Blues
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