Washington Capitals 2017-2018 Season Preview

Ansh Suchdeve

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The Washington Capitals enter the 2017-2018 season with another substantial chance to win the Stanley Cup Finals which they have never done before. Before we get started with the full preview for the 2017-2018 season, let’s recap last season.

 

2016-2017 Season Mini Review:

  • Ended Regular Season with a record of 55-19-8.
  • Alex Ovechkin led the team with 33 goals.
  • Defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 6 games (4-2).
  • Eliminated by arch nemesis Pittsburgh Penguins in the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 7 games (4-3).
  • Lost Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner, Daniel Winnik, and Justin Williams all in the 2017 offseason (Mostly due to expired contracts).
  • Traded away key asset Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils for two draft picks.

Now, let’s take a look at the roster and lines for the Capitals upcoming season. To those who don’t know what a roster is, a roster is a list of people who belong to a certain sports team. Additionally, for those who don’t know what lines are in hockey, lines are the players who belong to a certain group usually numbered one-three (but could have more than just three lines). Here’s the roster/lines that are projected to start the season:

Image result for washington capitals 2017

1st line: LW: Alex Ovechkin, C: Nicklas Backstrom, RW: T.J. Oshie

2nd line: LW: Jakub Vrana, C: Evgeny Kuznetsov, RW: Andre Burakovsky

3rd line: LW: Brett Connolly, C: Lars Eller, RW: Tom Wilson

4th line: LW: Nathan Walker, C: Jay Beagle, RW: Devante-Smith Pelly

Defensive Pairings:
1st DP: Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen

2nd DP: Christian Djoos and John Carlson

3rd DP: Brooks Orpik and Madison Bowey

Goalies: Starter: Braden Holtby

2nd string: Philipp Grubauer

Head Coach: Barry Trotz.

An LW is a Left Wing, a C is a Center, an RW is a Right Wing, a DP is a Defensive Pairing, and a G is a Goalie. The Capitals resigned many players back to their team during the 2017 offseason including the resigning Nathan Walker to a two-year contract, resigned Christian Djoos to a two-year contract, resigned T.J. Oshie to a 8 year, 46 million dollar contract, resigned Dmitry Orlov to a two-year contract, resigned Brett Connolly to a two-year contract, resigned Evgeny Kuznetsov to a 8 year, 62.4 million dollar contract, signed Devante Smith-Pelly to a one-year contract, resigned Andre Burakovsky to a one-year contract, and the Capitals resigned Philipp Grubauer to a one-year contract. Additionally, during the 2017 off season, the Capitals lost Nate Schmidt to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft. Now, all of the following players that signed or resigned to the Capitals aren’t exactly guaranteed to stay on the team until their contracts expire because they could get traded. Although, if the players do stay with the team for how many ever years they signed the contract or they would have to be resigned which is likely if you have a short-term deal with less money involved as a young player or a long-term deal as an older player (or veteran) with more money involved.

I believe the Washington Capitals will start strong during the regular season but go on a three-five losing streak once they get on the road in late October. In November, the Capitals should dominant at home and struggle on the road especially in Nashville. In December, I believe the Capitals should perform average, and they should really get into form for the rest of the season. In January, the Capitals should play poorly but get wins against the Philadelphia Flyers. In February, the Capitals should play similar to December but a little bit better. Additionally, they play their first home game versus the new expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and it’s Nate Schmidt’s return to Washington D.C. On March 3rd, the Washington Capitals play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a Stadium Series game at The Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. This is a special game because it is a tribute to the Military and hockey is played inside of a football stadium which is not normal. In April, the Capitals will most likely rest their starters and look forward to the Stanley Cup Playoffs which I do believe they will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I have confidence in the Capitals to reach at the very least, the 2nd round of the playoffs, then fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 3rd straight year in a row in 6 games (4-2).Image result for washington capitals 2017

The projected finish for the Washington Capitals is to finish twelth in the NHL. My personal prediction is for the Capitals to finish second in the Metropolitan Division behind back to back Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins with a record of 52-21-9 and get past either the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 5-6 games and be eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round in six games.

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"We're always on the prowl."
Washington Capitals 2017-2018 Season Preview