Washington Capitals : NHL 2018/19 season preview
Washington Capitals: NHL 2018/19 season preview (Photo: hockeypngs.com/Ty Fisher Vavel.com)

Washington Capitals : NHL 2018/19 season preview

Without Barry Trotz can the Washington Capitals defend their Stanley Cup title next season? A look at the team heading into 2018/19.

wayne-ching
CP Ching

The Washington Capitals had a historic season in 2017/18, they captured their first ever Stanley Cup in franchise history.

In the process of capturing their first championship, they put several past failures to rest.  Which includes finally getting past the second round, and beating Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The celebrations didn’t last long, as the Capitals had a busy off-season in the weeks following their Stanley Cup win. We saw them lose head coach Barry Trotz to the New York Islanders and name Todd Reirden as the new head coach.

They also traded Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche before re-signing him again for cheaper after he was bought out.  We then saw them re-sign John Carlson, Tom Wilson and Michal Kempny to long-term deals.

All in all, we will see an almost identical team hit the ice this fall and many fans expect them to compete for another championship in 2018/19.

Projected lineup:

Forwards:

Alex Ovechkin -  Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly

Chandler Stephenson - Travis Boyd - Devante Smith-Pelly

Extra Forward:

Nic Dowd

Defense:

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen

Michal Kempny - Madison Bowey

Seventh defenseman:

Christian Djoos

Goalies:

Braden Holtby

Pheonix Copley

Best case scenario

- The Capitals win the Metropolitan Division again.

- They are a top-ten team in scoring again.

- Young players like Jakub Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, and Chandler Stephenson contribute even more than they did last year.

- Alexander Ovechkin wins another Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy in 2019.

- They are able to defend their Stanley Cup title.

Worst case scenario

- Washington finishes out of the top three in the Metropolitan Division.

- The team is unable to adjust to Todd Reirden’s coaching style and new system.

- Alex Ovechkin scores less than 30 goals and 65 points.

- They miss the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

Predictions

Obviously being able to repeat their Stanley Cup title should be the goal. This team is built to win now, and they pretty much have the exact same roster minus Barry Trotz and a few other minor pieces.

On paper, the Capitals should be considered a heavy contender to come out of the East and should be a favorite to win the Metropolitan Division as well.  As they have many of their key players (Alexander Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson) still in their prime.

In addition to that, they have several younger players (Jakub Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, Chandler Stephenson, and Madison Bowey) with the potential to get better. As a result, they might end up even better than they were last year... if that's possible.

If anything, a playoff appearance should be the bare minimum and remaining a top-three team in their division should be the main focus. Missing the playoffs would be considered a huge failure for the Capitals next season.

All in all, the ultimate goal should be for them to go for back-to-back championships!

How do you think the Washington Capitals will do in 2018/19? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (@VAVELNHL_ENG). 

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