Metropolitan Division Preview: Washington Capitals

Coach: Barry Trotz

2016/2017 Record and Standing: 55-19-8, 1st in Metropolitan Division/President’s Trophy Winner

Key Additions

-RW Devante Smith-Pelly
-C Tyler Graovac

Key Subtractions

-D Karl Alzner
-D Kevin Shattenkirk
-D Nate Schmidt
-F Marcus Johansson
-RW Justin Williams
-LW Daniel Winnik

Preview

The Capitals are coming off back-to-back President’s Trophy seasons. They’ve enjoyed a good run the last two seasons, but the team is going through major changes. While they have a great core of players locked up like Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kusnetsov, they have lost significant depth, especially on the blue line. While they still have quality players in John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Dmitry Orlov, they lost some significant pieces in Alzner, Shattenkirk, and Schmidt. Brooks Orpik is aging rapidly, so the Capitals depth with quality NHL defensemen is thin. They do have an elite goaltender in Braden Holtby that could bail them out of some trouble, but teams need quality depth on defense, which the Capitals seem to lack. They’ll still be plenty potent offensively and on the power play, so there’s no overlooking the Capitals. And if any team has the motivation to play with a chip on their shoulder, it’s the Capitals. Losing to the Penguins in the playoffs, again, would be less than ideal for them.

Prediction

A lot of people are writing off the Capitals as Metropolitan Division favorites because of the simple math of more subtractions than additions. They may not be favorites to win the division anymore, but they still have plenty of pieces to be a playoff team. Expect them to finish as a top-three team in the Metropolitan Division.

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