NHL Team Preview: Washington Capitals
Ever since the drafting of Alex Ovechkin in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals have been a regular-season powerhouse. Despite that, the team had never had any real postseason success, usually failing to make it past the second round of the playoffs on multiple occasions.
That was until 2018 when the Capitals finally broke through to the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Tampa Bay Lightning which they won in a thrilling seven-game series. They followed that up by clinching their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history by beating the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one.
Since then, the Capitals have suffered three straight first-round exits and will be hoping to change that fortune this season in a highly competitive Eastern Conference.
You would figure that the front office of the Washington Capitals would want to shake things up after three straight disappointing playoff exits, but general manager Brian Maclellan did just the opposite.
Instead, he focused on locking up the future of the franchise’s greatest player, re-signing Alex Ovechkin to a 5-year, $47.5 million deal. That deal will keep Ovechkin in D.C. until the 2026 offseason when he will be approaching 41 years of age, essentially committing the rest of his career to Washington.
In terms of additions, there were not many that will make an impact on the Capitals’ initial roster that has played the first few games of this season. They brought in AHL pieces, but none that have made the NHL roster.
Debuting on the NHL roster however will be 2019 and 2020 first-round draft picks, Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre. McMichael spent last season in the AHL, leading the Hershey Bears in points and goals. Lapierre will be coming from Juniors as he is still 19 years of age.
They will both be key in building a future after Ovechkin in Washington.
As for subtractions, not many players departed from this roster either, and none of them were true building blocks to this team’s success.
Aging Zdeno Chara exited after only one season in Washington, and fellow defenseman Brendan Dillon was shipped off to Winnipeg to acquire two second-round picks.
Funny enough, the Capitals left goaltender Vitek Vanecek unprotected in the Seattle Expansion Draft, and he would end up being selected in their Washington slot. However, in order to keep their young goalie tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vanecek together, Washington sacrificed one of the two second-round picks that they acquired for Brendan Dillon.
No impactful player from the forward core was lost this offseason for the Capitals.
The key players in Washington have been the same since the acquisition of T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in 2015.
The combination of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Tom Wilson, and Dmitry Orlov have formed one of the longest-running groups of six on an NHL roster in the history of the league.
All six of those players were a part of the historic 2018 Stanley Cup run, and all still play major roles for this hockey club.
If Backstrom continues to play well two-ways, Ovechkin continues to score, Wilson continues to check, and Carlson locks up the back end, this team will always be in contention.
2021-2022 Capitals Betting Odds
Win Total Odds: Point total Over/Under 96.5 Odds to win Metropolitan Division: +600 Odds to win Eastern Conference: +1500 Odds to win the Stanley Cup: +2500
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.