Forgive me for not wanting to dive into the Caps during their offseason. The depth is gone. The team got worse this offseason. Quite frankly, offseason hockey doesn’t have the same entertainment as the NBA. Yes, the Capitals very much like the Nationals at this point are still a lock for winning their division, however I for one am weary of their ability to push further in the playoffs. Ask any fan, or re-watch the playoffs and it’ll become clear that our biggest strength was our depth. Ovechkin is overwhelming and Backstrom is brilliant, but the Caps didn’t need them for everything. We had lines that could score and defensive pairs that were able to keep the nerves at bay.
Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Shattenkirk, and forwards Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson – All gone. Sure, we signed some guys back with LTDs; Oshie, Kuznetsov and Burakovsky, but is that enough? Will the drafted players make an impact? Will Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller help? The Caps have always found a way to make it work. I often relate them to the New England patriots of the NFL. Constantly able to win, and doing so regardless of who leaves the team. The one glaring problem with my comparison is the LACK OF CHAMPIONSHIPS.
We still have holes to fill. Mainly an opening on the blue line. Stupid Las Vegas took Nate Schmidt. Then Alzner leaves for Montreal. Two staples of a blue line that allowed the fewest goals per game in the league last year. Recently signed veteran Jyrki Jokipakka (fantastic name) is on a tryout agreement. No risk, hopeful reward. Can’t complain. Still unproven and rough around the edges, Jokipakka is still a left handed-shot that scored 3 goals and 25 assists during his career. Yes, we have Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey, but competition is a good thing…
Continuity used to be our friend. Continuity is now gone. If only the Caps could’ve copied the Wizards offseason moves, or more realistically if only the NHL was as insane as the NBA. I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom. The Capitals still have a fantastic team, and hopefully the new faces bring a fire and energy and intensity to practice and to the team as a whole. John Carlson and Braden Holtby both feel the same way. Competition is the driving force behind production. The Caps, as successful as they’ve been have not been productive in producing championships.
Yes this offseason we saw a lot of big names vets leave. Everyone knew the cap was going to eventually shake this team up. As scary as it seems, this season will definitely be more interesting to watch. All in all the Caps will now have two defenseman, three new forwards and lots of competition when camp opens up in a few days. So here’s to hockey coming back, new names to learn and hopefully a team that surprises everyone and becomes a young yet talented force! #ROCKTHERED (Photo Credit: CSN Mid-Atlantic)