Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Washington Captals 2017-18 season preview

                 In 2016-17, the Washington Capitals won their second consecutive President's trophy, finishing with 118 points. Even though they got past the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round, they once again fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in round number two. That led to a bad offseason, which led to Alex Ovechkin trade rumors. Here's a look at that bad offseason.

                  Notable additions: F Devante Smith-Pelly, F Tyler Graovac, F Anthony Peluso.

                  Notable subtractions: F Marcus Johansson, D Kevin Shattenkirk, D Karl Alzner, F Justin Williams, D Nate Schmidt, F Dan Winnik.

Here are my projected forward lines.

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Tyler Graovac - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

That first line is the best line in the NHL in my opinion. Burakovsky will get an extended amount of time this year with Johansson and Williams out of town. Smith-Pelly, or "DSP" will also get more time than intended when he first signed in D.C. Vrana's 21 games last year was less than expected, but he should play more this year. Graovac was only acquired for the expansion draft, but will get a 4th line role this year. Trash-on-ice Tom Wilson will attempt to get under 100 penalty minutes for the first time in his career this year.

Here are my projected defensive pairs.

Dmitry Orlov - John Carlson
Christian Djoos - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Orlov broke out with 33 points last year, and should pair with Carlson this year. Djoos hasn't played in the NHL yet, but should have a good rookie season. Him and Bowey are trying to replace Nate Schmidt and Alzner this year. Taylor Chorney and Aaron Ness are the extra defensemen.

 Braden Holtby
 Philipp Grubauer
Holtby is still a top goalie in the game. Grubauer's 2.05 GAA last year showed his potential. Pheonix Copley is the third goalie.
The Caps are falling. But, they still are good. I predict they will make the playoffs this year.

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