The Capitals had a great 2014/2015 season, but it ended once again in the second round. Fans in the capital city are expecting more out of their team, and it certainly appears that management is trying to give them just that. As other teams around the NHL have had a relatively quiet offseason to this point, it has been anything but in Washington.
Remember the start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and prolific goal scorer for the St. Louis Blues, T. J. Oshie? The Capitals began their most recent off season by acquiring him from the Blues via a trade that sent Troy Brouwer, in addition to goaltender Pheonix Coply and a third round pick to be executed in 2016, to St. Louis. This move helps to ensure that the Capitals will once again have a strong offense, garnering notoriety around the NHL at having one of the strongest lineups of forwards moving into the foreseeable future.
Graphic via prohockeytalk
The Capitals seem focused on making certain that they can compete with the Rangers goal for goal come the next go around in the playoffs. They continued their shopping frenzy by going after and signing forward Justin Williams to a two-year deal that will keep him Washington for about $6.5 million. So, the Capitals gained prolific point scorers in Williams and Oshie, but they have already lost Brouwer and are likely to lose Joel Ward. The question remains if this will balance out in favor of more goals being scored in Washington. We will find out in October, of course, but the Capitals certainly do not appear to be any worse for having made these deals.
Within this mix also comes a bit of troubling news for Capital fans in that the team was unable to come to terms with Mike Green, so the offseason is far from over. There are still some holes to shore up in order to move up their odds of making a run deep into the playoffs next season. At the end of the day, it appears the team will be younger and even stronger overall when the first puck drops in October. This bodes well for the future, and it also means that they should have some fresh legs come time for the playoffs next April. In addition, the trades and acquisitions to this point have been a positive in terms of salary cap, so the team still has some wiggle room heading into the last few months of the off season. For a team that was really a few lucky breaks from making it into the third round of the playoffs last season, all indications are that they will be right back there competing once again. How far they go, however, will depend on the play of their forwards, and the signings they are able to accomplish between now and October.
Graphic via starsandsticks