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Revisiting the Capitals' roster needs following the trade deadline

Revisiting the Capitals' roster needs following the trade deadline

Before the trade deadline, we looked at possible needs and targets for the Caps. Now that the deadline has come and gone, let's review and see how they addressed those needs.

Goalie

Possible need: Third goalie

How did the Caps address it: Trading for Pheonix Copley as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade

Copley was a former prospect of the Capitals who was traded to St. Louis as part of the T.J. Oshie trade. He is someone the organization knows well and is comfortable with. With a 2.23 GAA and .924 save percentage in the AHL, he represents a clear upgrade over Joe Cannata given Cannata's play this season. Copley also made his NHL debut this season, though it didn’t go well as he allowed five goals on 29 shots.

Did Hershey get stronger in net? Yes. Are the Caps likely to need Copley to play? No, but if you were looking for the Caps to have a Jeff Zatkoff type goalie as their No. 3 like the Penguins had last year, they appear to have fallen well below that mark. They likely could have done better considering there was zero market for goalies. Ryan Miller and Jaroslav Halak stayed put while teams that clearly needed another goalie like Edmonton and Calgary stood pat. Even Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman said the reason he traded Ben Bishop to Los Angeles was because it was his only option. With no buyers, that makes me think the Caps could have gotten a more established No. 3 for cheap.

RELATED: Trotz shows Caps video of Shattenkirk's fight with Williams

Defense

Possible need: Right-shooting defenseman

How did the Caps address it: Trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

If you’re trying to win the Stanley Cup and have a chance to add a top-four defenseman without losing a core player on the roster, that’s hard to turn down. Losing a first-round draft pick hurts, but the fact that the 2017 draft appears to be rather weak helps soften the blow. Shattenkirk was the best player on the market and the Caps not only got him, they also kept him out of Pittsburgh’s hands. Granted, deadline acquisitions tend to fail more often than they work and Shattenkirk still has work to do in terms of adjusting to the Caps’ system, but general manager Brian MacLellan did about as good a job as you can do adding a very talented piece without giving up anything to weaken the current roster.

Offense

Possible need: Scoring depth

How did the Caps address it: N/A

The original plan was for the Caps to carry Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana as extras for the postseason. If you thought that was a gamble, you’re probably not pleased that Washington traded away Sanford and did not make any moves to add forward depth. Is this really a major issue? It shouldn’t be. I’m skeptical as to what Sanford would have added. He looked timid at the start of the regular season and it affected his confidence resulting in a trip to the AHL. He has played much better of late, but it’s not hard to imagine the timidity returning in what would have been his first NHL postseason. Vrana has looked fantastic in his return from Hershey, but the bad news is that now he’s pretty much it in terms of forward depth. If the Caps suffer even two injuries in the playoffs, they will have to turn to players like Chandler Stephenson, Zach Sill, Paul Carey and Riley Barber to fill those holes.

MORE CAPITALS: Prediction recap: Caps outlast Flyers

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Vrana returns and other morning notes ahead of Saturday's game against the Wild

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Vrana returns and other morning notes ahead of Saturday's game against the Wild

Coming off a poor two-game road trip, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz elected to keep his lineup mostly familiar with Bruce Boudreau and a hot Wild team coming to town.

Here’s how they’re expected to line up tonight on F Street:

Forwards
Stephenson – Backstrom – Oshie
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Smith-Pelly
Vrana – Eller – Wilson
Connolly – Beagle – Chiasson
Extra: Walker

Defense
Orpik – Carlson
Orlov – Niskanen
Chorney – Bowey
Extra: Ness

RELATED: HOW TO WATCH CAPS-WILD

Now for some notes, quotes and observations from the morning skate:

  • Braden Holtby (10-4-0/2.68 gaa/.918 Sv%) is scheduled to return to the net for Washington. It’s likely Devan Dubnyk will get the nod for Minnesota, which has won four games in row. Dubnyk (8-6-1/2.28 gaa/.922 Sv%) earned shutouts in three of those games.
  • After getting smoked 6-3 and 6-2 in Nashville and Colorado, respectively, the Caps are looking to get things back on track at home, where they’ll play the next four games in a row and nine of the next 10. The good news? T.J. Oshie and Co. have won their last four games on home ice after a 1-3 start there.
  • The only lineup change for the Caps is Jakub Vrana returning after sitting out Thursday as a healthy scratch. Vrana has two points—both goals—in his last 13 games...and one was scored into an empty net.
  • Trotz was pretty direct when asked where his team needs to improve after a couple of ugly losses on the road. “We were executing, playing pretty solid and in a groove, if you will,” Trotz said of the Caps winning five of six games to start the month. “But it’s gone off the rails a little bit here in the last two games. We’re the only ones that can get it back. …We’ve had too many passengers. Everything starts with our best players. Tonight, we’re going to need our best players to be the best players because everyone else will follow.”
  • Christian Djoos, who suffered an upper-body injury in Nashville and missed the Colorado game, did not skate Saturday. “I don’t know exactly when he’s going to skate yet,” Trotz said. “He’s still day-to-day with the trainers. Once they tell me he can skate, he’ll be out there.”
  • Tyler Graovac, in Hershey on a long-term conditioning stint, figures to be back soon. He’s got a goal and an assist in two games with the Bears. Although the stint is set to end this weekend, Trotz said he plans to talk to Graovac and that his stay in Hershey could be extended to a fourth or fifth game with the player’s permission. “I’ve set it up with him and I have good communication with him,” Trotz said. “[So] if he needs a fourth or a fifth game, we’ll talk and we’ll decide. …There’s a possibility that he could return as soon as Monday or as late as next Friday.” 

 

MORE CAPITALS: CAPS' FIRST QUARTER REPORT CARD

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Game 21: Capitals vs. Wild Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 21: Capitals vs. Wild Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Wild will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Wild game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

 You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-WILD GAME?

The Capitals (10-9-1) take on the Wild (9-7-2) Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-WILD GAME ON?

The Capitals-Wild game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Capitals GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Wild
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-WILD GAME?

The Capitals-Wild game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-WILD OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.