Isles Talk continues it’s 2014-15 Season Preview with a team that missed the playoffs for the first time in 7 years, the Washington Capitals. After moving over to the new Metropolitan Division, the former South Division champs got a taste of stronger divisional hockey going 12-15-3 and missing the playoffs as a result. They fired offensive minded coach Adam Oates and replaced him with former Predators defensive minded coach, Barry Trotz. The Capitals also shored up their defense and goaltending during the offseason to minimize the goals against. Will this be the year Ovechkin wins the Selke? No, not even close.
2013-14 Record: 38 30 14 90 points; 5th in the Metropolitan Division; 9th in Eastern Conference
Additions: D Matt Niskanen, D Brooks Orpik, G Justin Peters, F Chris Conner
Subtractions: F Mikhail Grabovski, D Tyson Strachan, G Jaroslav Halak
My take: I like the improvements in coaching as Trotz will get the most out of his players. I have to ask this question: Where is the offense if (Hockey Gods forbid) Alexander Ovechkin has an “off” year and only scores 30 goals? That’s a lot of pressure to put on kids like Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky. I have to say, I do like Burakowsky and he should make this team. The other issue for the Caps is that the Devils & Islanders also improved their offense which will make things difficult to say the least. Getting Pittsburgh’s best defenseman in Niskanen and Orpik was a smart gamble but can they produce the same way as the did with the Penguins? Overall, I think the Caps will be in the hunt, but you may see some moves made during the season to catch up to the rest in the Metro.