The time has come to start the 20-21 NHL season. After the disaster that was the bubble for the Caps which feels like ages ago now, its time to turn the page and move on to this upcoming season.
The Caps offseason was exciting and full of surprises with the acquisition of Veteran blue liners Justin Schultz and Zdeno Chara. We even saw the Caps sign Veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but that dream of seeing the King in red was brought to a quick halt after needing heart surgery.
What did the Caps lose this off-season?
Radko Gudas (signed with Florida), Ilya Kovalchuk (signed with the KHL),Travis Boyd (signed with Toronto), Braden Holtby ( signed with Vancouver)
After you look at this list of departures honestly we really didn’t lose much besides our lord and savior Holts. (really hope he crushes it up north). As for the others that Gudas made me think of that Martin Erat trade a couple years ago where the Caps lost way more than they gained.
What did the Caps gain this off-season?
Zdeno Chara (FA), Conor Sheary (FA), Justin Schultz (FA), Henrik Lundqvist (FA), Trevor van Riemsdyk (FA), Paul LaDue (FA), Craig Anderson (training camp tryout)
After looking over these additions the Caps definitely filled some needed holes on the defensive end as well as improved some offense which they are always strong in. Conor Sheary stood at the most for me personally because if you aren’t a everyday Caps fan you are going to quickly realize how solid this guy is and how much he will help the Caps on offense with his speed and offensive agility.
What I have been seeing over social media from Caps fans which is driving me insane is that some are acting like we have a liability in between the pipes. This is far from the truth because the Caps have a ton of young skill to choose from. Have we seen these young goalies take a true starter role yet? No!, but I am far from worried because there might be some growing pains with Samsonov, but I am excited to see how he handles his new role.
Also I am extremely confident that our new bench boss Peter Laviolette will right the ship after last year’s poor playoff showing. The Caps still have their Stanley Cup Window WIDE OPEN, but will slowly start closing. Laviolette brings a strong mentality of accountability to the Caps which we really didn’t see much of during the tail end of last season.
With the Caps core full of Veterans and established guys I am hoping they can mold some of these younger guys to take that extra step this year and exceed expectations.
As with any sport you have to be realistic and think of best case or worst case scenario when it comes to your squad.
Worst case scenario is that Samsonov struggles and can’t handle the starting goaltender role and then the Caps have to play goalie roulette during the shortened season and rely more on their offense. Also that Chara and Schultz become a liability on defense given their reduction in speed over the past couple years and the Caps defense becomes a real problem. Especially with Michal Kempny likely out for the whole season the Caps really need to see these grizzled Vets play a bigger role.
Best case scenario Sammy becomes the stud tendy we think he can be and make a long playoff run standing on his head. Ovi will continue his scoring pace and even with a shortened season is able to gain ground on the Great One. As well as making it back to the Cup Final.
I am excited to see where this season goes and how it will pan out especially with a season format that we have never seen before and may never see again once everything gets back to normal. I really would love to see fans allowed at Capital One Arena (still is the Verzion Center for me) rocking the red again in D.C.!