2011-2012 Preview: The Washington Capitals

Posted: September 29, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Season Preview, Washington Capitals
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Review of 2010-2011: 48-23-11, 107 Points, 1st In Eastern Conference, Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals 4-0 Vs Tampa Bay

Additions via free agency: Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, Ryan Potulny, Chris Bourque, Tomas Vokoun, Danny Richmond, Christian Hanson

Additions via trade: Taylor Stefishen, Troy Brouwer, Danick Paquette

Subtractions: Michael Nylander, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, Steve Pinizzotto, Jason Arnott, Brian Willsie, Tyler Sloan, Scott Hannan, Semyon Varlamov, Eric Fehr

Offense: The Capitals have had 2 straight years of playoff disappointment, so naturally, they made a few moves to “patch the holes” in their team this offseason. The Capitals brought in Troy Brouwer, who could very hell go past the 50 point mark this season with his balanced offensive skill set and powerplay abilities. Also coming in through free agency is Joel Ward, who brings a gritty but offensive style that should work great for 3rd line duty. The top line for The Capitals should be deadly once again, and do not expect Ovechkin to disappoint this year on the goal totals, he should be back to his 50 goal ways again this year. The biggest area for The Capitals to improve this year will be the powerplay, they were ranked 15th last year in The NHL.

Defense: The area that needed a little improvement was on the defensive side of the ice. The Capitals brought in Roman Hamrlik to help. Hamrlik brings a balanced defensive game, he can hit, block, and rack up points, especially on the powerplay which as mentioned earlier, needs improvement. The biggest acquisition this year was easily that of Dennis Wideman. Wideman is a great set up defender who can work well on the powerplay.  It will be nice to see him for a full season with The Capitals. A big storyline this year will be, how will Mike Green do this year? After a big dropoff in point production last year, he will need to be back to his best to keep The Capitals defense working.  Not to be underestimated his teammate John Carlson, who is looking to improve his point total, in my opinion, he will easily surpass the 34 points he had last year. Jeff Schultz and Karl Alzner round out the defensive corps, and while neither are all that flashy, they get the job done on the ice. The caps could have the best Penalty kill on the ice of any team this year.

Tomas Vokoun (Photo: AP)

Goaltender: The past few years, The Capitals have been a little shaky inbetween the pipes, well, no more! The Capitals signed veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun this offseason, who seals the hole inbetween the pipes.  Vokoun is exactly what the doctor ordered, and could be the final piece to Washington’s Stanley Cup puzzle.  Vokoun went 22-28-5 with Florida last year, but had a sparkling .922 sv% and 6 shutouts.  Backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth had a pretty good season in Washington going 27-12-4 with 4 shutouts. Neuvirth will be a more than capable backup to Vokoun, or, if the situation arises, a 1B goaltender.

Prediction: 1st In Southeast Division, 1st In Eastern Conference

Talk about a changed team, with a good, consistent goaltender and a couple new tools on offense and defense, there is no reason The Washington Capitals can’t win The President’s trophy this year. Washington has all the puzzle pieces, but they will need to assemble them correctly come playoff time.

Mike Green (Photo: NHL.com)

Standout Player:  Mike Green

Green should be back to his old ways this season, if not better, getting up into the 70-80 point range.


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