Untitled Document
CMHL Award Winners

Untitled Document
Today's Games - 5
- 2
- 4
- 2
- 5
- 2
- 6
- 4

Untitled Document

Player Search

(Advanced Search)
30 Teams in 30 Days (Almost) - Washington Capitals Written by habsfan93 - October 4th, 2009

Over the course of 30 days or so, yours truly is going to take a look at each team in the league, examine their off-season moves, assess the biggest issue facing the team, highlight a player or two to watch for, and finally give an outlook on the season.

Next up, the Washington Capitals.
(Oilerfan4life will be covering the Lightning in his next segment)

Washington Capitals
Season 5: 30-34-12-6 (11th East, 3rd Southeast)
GM: Cmousers (3rd Season)

Currently Projected Season 6 Roster:
(Incoming Player in Bold, Rookies in Italics)

Setoguchi - Vermette - Hunter
Brunette - Modano - Nolan
Sykora - Peca - Sim
Bradley - Malhotra - Zeiler

Semenov - Klee
Klein - Sydor
Montador - Belle


What They Did In The Off-Season:

In Season 5, the Washington Capitals put forth a valiant effort, remaining in the race for a final playoff spot right up until the end. They fell short, but the season led to some good growth within the team. This is not a team of superstars, it is a team of character players coming together with a common goal, and sometimes that's all you need. The offseason started off quickly as a number of Capitals veterans announced their retirement including Andrei Zyuzin, Oleg Saprykin, Josef Melichar, Olli Malmivaara, and Jocelyn Thibault. All those players contributed to the Pro squad last year, and leave a gap in their place, particularly Zyuzin whose 38 assists will be sorely missed on the blueline. Next, facing unrestricted free agency were two of the Capitals veterans, Owen Nolan and Doug Weight. Only having the resources to keep one in the fold, GM Cmousers chose scoring over playmaking, and resigned Owen Nolan to a 3-year, $5,000,000 deal that will most certainly close out his career.

With Nolan locked up, the focus shifted to two key RFA's, Trent Hunter and Kris Versteeg, who was acquired at the start of the offseason. Hunter was coming off a career best year in which he recorded 34 goals and 69 points, along with a Selke Trophy nomination. After a long negotiation, a deal was finally reached for 2 years, at $3,500,000 a year. Cmousers was looking for a long-term deal, but Hunter seemed keen on keeping it short term and giving himself a better opportunity to test the market in the future. Versteeg, fresh off winning the ICHF Art Ross Trophy was able to parlay a 1-year, $2,000,000 based on the precedents set by some similar players in the league. Unhappy with the result of the negotiation, Cmousers would later send Versteeg to the Canucks in exchange for veteran winger Andrew Brunette and a future 1st round pick. Brunette is a proven performer, and his leadership will help make up for the loss of UFA Doug Weight, who would go on to sign with the Rangers.

Approaching the draft, the Capitals had no first or second round picks, making their first selection at #74, taking budding power forward Jesse Blacker. Cmousers went on to make an additional 9 picks over the course of rounds 4 through 7, which achieves a goal of deepening the prospect pool, albeit without the addition of a blue-chipper. In fact, the Capitals system is devoid of any real blue-chip prospects with the possible exception of defender Erik Karlsson. The long term depth of this team has to be a concern on GM Cmousers mind right now, and he seems to be cognisant of this given that he has a good pool of draft picks set aside for the next 3 years, include at least 1 if not 2 first rounders in every upcoming draft.

On the trade front, the Capitals were significantly active. They picked up rookie defenceman Kevin Klein from the Avalanche for a 3rd rounder. Klein should easily crack the Capitals roster for Season 6, and in fact, should see minutes that would go along with a #3 or 4 role. Not an offensive gem, he provides solid defensive ability. Ian White was dealt to the Islanders for Jeff Schultz and Greg Stewart. White was having a hard time cracking the Capitals lineup, and it seems that GM Cmousers was no longer willing to be patient. Schultz was later dealt with Versteeg in the Brunette deal. Stewart is a 4th liner who could see some time in the Capitals lineup this year if Matt Bradley fails to impress. Milan Michalek was acquired from the Coyotes midway through Season 5 and he was expected to be a leader on the team. In the end, he posted dissapointing numbers and was dealt over the summer to the Ducks for Versteeg and Petr Sykora. Sykora is a consistent 40-60 point player who will provide an offensive edge to a defensive 3rd line in Washington, although he may find himself underutilized if he struggles to get the minutes he needs to perform.

Seeing a need to fill the gap left by Andrei Zyuzin, the Capitals acquired Alexei Semenov from the rival Red Wings. Semenov is underrated, and this could be an excellent chance for him to establish himself as a top tier defenceman in the CMHL. Finally, the Capitals jumped on the chance to bring in veteran center Mike Modano who was being shopped at any price by the San Jose Sharks in a salary cap dump move. Modano may be on his last legs, but he still has the goods to anchor a second line, particularly on a developing team like the Capitals. In fact, this situation could lead to a career rejuvination for the 39-year old. Finally, the Capitals jumped on two players in Unrestricted Free Agency who will be able to immediately step into holes on the team. Darryl Sydor was signed to a 2-year deal, where he should find himself well suited to a #4-5 role on the Capitals D corps. And seeing a hole on the 4th line, John Zeiler was signed just prior to the start of the preseason.

Biggest Issue Facing the Team:

Depth. The Capitals missed the playoffs for the third straight year last season, which adequately qualifies them for rebuild status. But it looks like it could be a long rebuild, as the club's depth is weak at best. The top line of Setoguchi, Vermette and Hunter is young, talented and a great foundation to build on, but behind them, things are bleak. The 2nd line is akin to an old folks home for hockey, while the 3rd and 4th lines are composed of players in or leaving their prime. The defence currently hinges on Semenov, Klein and Erik Karlsson who could be ready by Season 7. Klee and Sydor are on their last legs, while Belle and Montador don't project any higher than #5-6 at best. Finally, in net, the club is counting on Adam Munro and Michal Neuvirth, as Chris Osgood is expected to retire within 2-3 years at most. There are a lot of prospects but as stated before, very few of a blue-chip, game changing level. Sure, one or two could surprise all and become stars, but all in all, it could be several more years of drafting before the Capitals are serious contenders in the East.

Player To Watch:

Mike Modano - One of the greatest American born players ever, Modano managed to put up a career low 30 assists and 54 points, along with a -29 rating last season for the Habs, a top playoff team. This is not good, and could be a sign of a player on the verge of calling it a career. But the move to Washington could also be a rejuvination. Modano is expected to center Brunette and Nolan, two veteran 30+ goal scorers and together, the old-age line could see Modano top the 50 assist mark one more time. Its not like Washington doesn't have a history of aging playmakers overcoming the odds. The Capitals have been centered the last two years around Doug Weight as he put up a career best assists total in Season 4, and then topped it in Season 5.

Season 6 Outlook:

Upon further review, the Southeast Division is ripe for the picking. Atlanta has the tools but is currently sans #1 goalie. Carolina has been badly weakened by the departure of Mats Sundin. Florida is in the midst of a rebuild. Tampa is likely the strongest team in the division but they are lacking true offensive firepower and they are counting on a rookie goalie. All this to say that there is a door open and although its likely the Capitals will not make the playoffs, if he plays his cards right, GM Cmousers could have an opportunity to sneak in unnoticed.

Submit A Comment -

CMHL © 2004-2013
Logos designed by and used with permission of Icethetics
This site is best viewed at resolutions of 1024x768 or bigger, and has been designed for best use in Mozilla Firefox.