Monday, August 15, 2016

2017 Pool Projections: Washington

How many more years are the Washington Capitals going to be on the brink of something special?  Seriously.

Another year getting ready to go and now we wonder, do the Capitals have enough this time for the whole shebang?  Okay, to be fair, this post is more for the regular season and all, but they have done a good job to make sure that they are through without any issue.  They score, they have the best goalie running at the moment, they have been able to make the most out of their depth, if not better and they're able to turn it over year after year.

When is it going to be their time, hockey gods?!?  When?!?

2017 is shaping up to be another big season for the Capitals, who are out to follow up a President's Trophy year, where they were winning at will or so it would seem.  There's no way that these guys won't be popular at this year's hockey pool draft and for good reason, really.

Player Pos 16/17 Proj Rookie
Braden Holtby G 95 N
Alex Ovechkin F 85 N
Evgeny Kuznetsov F 80 N
Nicklas Backstrom F 80 N
T.J. Oshie F 55 N
John Carlson D 55 N
Justin Williams F 50 N
Marcus Johansson F 50 N
Andre Burakovsky F 35 N
Lars Eller F 35 N
Matt Niskanen D 30 N
Dmitry Orlov D 30 N
Jay Beagle F 25 N
Philipp Grubauer G 20 N
Brett Connolly F 20 N
Tom Wilson F 20 N
Daniel Winnik F 20 N
Karl Alzner D 20 N
Nate Schmidt D 20 N
Brooks Orpik D 15 N
Brad Malone F 10 N
Madison Bowey D 10 Y
Zach Sill F 5 N
Darren Dietz D 5 Y
Aaron Ness D 5 N

Table last updated on August 6th

Most Intriguing or Breakout Player

Here's a question... wasn't T.J. Oshie supposed to really take off with the Washington Capitals last season? Wasn't he going to be some kind of offensive dynamo, joining the ranks of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom? What happened to that? Maybe more importantly, could it happen in year two?

It's somewhat funny to think that his points had actually gone down between his move from St. Louis to Washington, if only marginally, and it's kind of strange that his goal total went up at the same time.  Was it a message of just 'shoot the puck?'

It's certainly possible that someone may have noticed that any will ask Oshie to be more of a complete player again, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing has really changed in Washington; the coaches are the same, the supporting cast is the same, so the overall message has to be the same, right?  This is a story worth watching.

First Round Picks

Well, I couldn't say I had Evgeny Kuznetsov making the leap up, but there he is.  Kuznetsov had a better point total than both Ovechkin and Backstrom last season, so the expectations will remain high for him to repeat those numbers.  Throw in the best goalie over the last two seasons, Braden Holtby, into the mix and you have a very potent foursome hitting the ice to start the season.  There could be a significant Washington flavour to this year's 1st round of the draft.

Other Pool Worthy Forwards

You've got your 1st round picks, your intriguing or breakout player... is there anything left?  How about Justin Williams or Marcus Johansson?  Maybe Andre Burakovsky is your flavour a little later on in the draft and there is a good chance you think Lars Eller is going to fit in well with his new team.  Yeah, the Capitals will be decorating a number of hockey pool teams this season and rightfully so.

Other Pool Worthy Defense

We really haven't touched on the defense and pool-wise, John Carlson remains a very sexy pick, leading up to this draft.  He was the breakout player last year and didn't quite put up the numbers, but he should remain steady.  Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov are also slated for decent years, thanks in large part to this quality offense that Washington is rolling with.

Goaltending Situation

You're not going to change the goaltending situation after a President's Trophy season, as Braden Holtby has been awesome over the last couple of years.  In behind, Philipp Grubauer is set to be the back-up, but Holtby's numbers may restrict the minutes that Grubauer gets and he may not be a viable selection at the draft, due to a lack of minutes.

Team To Pick From?

Have I convinced you that the Capitals will be a good team to pick from yet?  No?  Why not?

Okay, maybe you're a Penguins fan or something and that's okay... they're good too.  I think if you're picking with your head, you'll have some Capitals in consideration.  If you're picking from your heart, you might end up with Tom Sestito.

Unsigned Players and Salary Cap

Salary CapThere is one concern on this Capitals depth chart, still yet to be taken care of and that's defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who remains a restricted free agent, now into the home stretch of the off-season.  It's hard to say where either side is coming from after he missed the 2015 season altogether, so this one could be at a bit of an impasse.

The Capitals don't have a lot of room left, considering some teams that are going to be contending do, but their 23-man projected roster is coming in $3.3 million short of the ceiling and Orlov is bound to take a good chunk out of that, if not the whole thing.  He might be a player worth inquiring about.


The off-season's concern was only that of defenseman Karl Alzner, but his sports hernia surgery would have been taken care of before anything was to get too crazy.  The expectation here is that the Capitals should start the World Cup, at the very least, with healthy participants and they hope that carries over into training camp.

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