ZADS: Eastern Conference Preview- Washington Capitals

by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)

In the eighth preview of 15 Eastern Conference teams, Sports Radio Detroit breaks down the Washington Capitals. Led by a Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin, this team has performed well in the regular season with minimal results in the playoffs.

Caps Preview 2013 2014

History

  • Founded as an expansion franchise in 1974.
  • 0 Stanley Cups
  • 1 Conference Championships (1997-1998)
  • 8 Division Championships (1988-1989, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013)

2013 stats: Top 5 players

Alex Ovechkin (32 G, 24 A, 56 PTS), Mike Ribiero (13 G, 36 A, 49 PTS), Nicklas Backstrom (8, 40 A, 48 PTS), Troy Brouwer (19 G, 14 A, 33 PTS), Mike Green (12 G, 14 A, 26 PTS)

2013 Team Rankings

4th in Goals/Game (3.04), 18th in Goals Against (2.71), 1st in Power Play (24.7%), 27th in Penalty Kill (77.9%)

Goaltender Situation

  • Braden Holtby (36 GP, 23 W, 12 L, 1 OTL, .920 SV%, 2.58 GAA)
    • Holtby was the clear cut starter for the Caps last year and it’s expected he will be again this year.
  • Michael Neuvirth (13 GP, 4 W, 5 L, 2 OTL, .910 SV%, 2.74 GAA)
      • Capitals backup last season, expected backup this season.

Holtby has a chance to be a really good goaltender this season. He only played about 10 games less than a half season from the previous year and lacks NHL experience but he has the skills, and under new goaltender head coach Olaf Kolzig, could flourish. Neuvirth should provide a somewhat reliable backup to the Caps when needed, but overall, Holtby is going to be the workhorse.

 

Offseason Moves

Additions: D David Kolomatis (Free Agent/Los Angeles), G David Leggio (Free Agent/Buffalo), F Matt Watkins (Free Agent/NYI), D Tyson Strachan (Free Agent/Florida), F Brandon Segal (Free Agent/NYR), F Mikhail Grabovski (Free Agent/Toronto)

Losses: F Joey Crabb (Free Agent/Florida), F Matt Hendricks (Free Agent/Nashville), D Jeff Schultz (Free Agent/Los Angeles), F Mike Ribeiro (Free Agent/Phoenix), D Patrick McNeill (Free Agent/Columbus)

Games vs. Red Wings

  • Friday, November 15, 2013 vs. Washington (7:30pm)
  • Friday January 31, 2014 vs. Washington (7:30pm)
  • Sunday, February 2, 2014 @ Washington (12:30pm)

The Washington Capitals are a very good team. The scoring will be there, it always is, but historically, the problem has been goaltending. Don’t be surprised if the Capitals challenge for the top spot in the Metropolitan division, or even the Eastern Conference. As long as the Capitals can generate solid goaltending behind a reliable defensive core, they could be a force to be reckoned with. If they put it all together, this team could be a dark horse to win it all when the playoffs roll around.

To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit on September 11, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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