The season is here and you have some questions. Luckily, I have answers.

Josh M writes: What do you think is the timeline for the recently signed Alexeyev who looked real good?

I’m with you Josh, I was very impressed with Alexeyev in development camp and training camp. He also has been great since returning to Red Deer, but it could be a few years before we see him in Washington.

Alexeyev is 18 years old and will spend this season in the WHL playing for the Red Deer Rebels. The CHL and NHL have an agreement in place that prevents 18 and 19 year old junior players from playing in the AHL. Per my understanding, because Alexeyev will not turn 20 until after the Sept. 15 cutoff in 2019, that means his only two options for this season and next are the WHL or NHL, he cannot play in the AHL.

The Caps currently have a logjam on defense with seven players returning from last year’s teams plus Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs hoping to eventually crack the NHL squad. Even if Alexeyev looks like he could possibly be ready for the NHL next season, there may not even be room for him just yet.

So, to answer your question, I think we see Alexeyev in the WHL both this season and next and most likely in the AHL at least to start the 2020-21 season. By then, however, I would not be surprised to see him make a real push for the NHL squad.

 

Also from Josh M: Whats your final roster projection for opening night?

This seemed like a pretty easy question until Sunday’s incident with Tom Wilson. That certainly changes things.

If this team is completely healthy and suspension free, I believe Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd would cycle on the fourth line and Madison Bowey would be the extra on defense with Jonas Siegenthaler back in Hershey.

Let’s assume Tom Wilson is suspended, something that seems like a reasonable assumption at this point. The trickledown effect of losing a top-line player will leave a hole that I do not think Nathan Walker and/or Jayson Megna are going to be able to fill by themselves. What I believe will ultimately happen is that Boyd will be placed on IR, Nathan Walker will be placed on waivers and sent to Hershey and Shane Gersich, who his waiver exempt, will be recalled from the AHL. Siegenthaler does make the opening roster, but as an extra until Michal Kempny returns from injury. Once he does, then Siegenthaler goes to Hershey and Madison Bowey becomes the extra cycling in and out of the third pairing with Christian Djoos and Brooks Orpik.

Yes, I believe Siegenthaler is going back to Hershey. As well as he has played, he is waiver exempt. That matters. If the team kept him, it would most likely mean waiving Madison Bowey. While most players pass through waivers with no issue, Bowey has shown enough potential that I believe teams would take a good long look at claiming him and no team likes to lose a drafted player for nothing.

Richard D writes: What’s a realistic expectation for Ovi’s point total this year? Should we expect Kuzy to beat that mark?

Ovechkin certainly looks like he hasn’t lost a step so far in the preseason. I don’t think he’s going to hit the 50-goal mark, but I do think he goes somewhere between 40 and 50 goals. The last two seasons he had 36 and 38 assists respectively. I also believe he will stick around the 30-assist mark so a realistic point total for next season would be somewhere between 70-80 points. Still a pretty respectable total, but he’s going to get passed by Kuznetsov who I am predicting will have a monster season.

Kuznetsov was over a point-per game producer in both the regular season (83 points in 79 games) and the playoffs (32 points in 24 games). We are seeing Kuznetsov make the jump from good to great and he will build off that success from the 2017-18 campaign. He will lead the Caps in points by a wide margin and flirt with the 100-mark.

I asked several members of the NBC Sports Washington Caps crew what they would do with the Cup. Here’s what they said:

Al Koken: First, Al would coordinate with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to bring the Cup to children undergoing treatment for fundraising efforts. Then, he would hold a party for all the behind the scenes NBCSW and Capital One crew who makes everyone look so good on TV. As for what he would put in the Cup, BBQ and high quality small batch bourbon.

Joe Beninati: Joe B's day is about as meticulously put together as his wardrobe.

First, he would organize a street hockey tournament for kids to play for the Cup and invite the top Squirt and PeeWee teams in the area. Then he would have the Cup as the guest of honor for an NBC Sports Washington luncheon, sharing it with everyone who helps put Caps hockey on the air. After that, he would take the Cup on a trip to Walter Reed Hospital or Children's National Medical Center or both if possible to share it with the kids and bring smiles to the faces of those who really need it. Finally, he would team up with Craig Laughlin for a big charity fund-raiser to gives Caps fans the chance to spend time with the Cup while also raising money for a good cause. He would definitely want his family along for the ride as well, especially at the party.

Being a wine aficionado, of course you can expect a bottle or two to end up in the Cup. The key would just be choosing the right one for such an occasion.

Rob Carlin: Rob lives in Annapolis, Md. and is inspired by equipment manager Craig ‘Woody’ Leydig who took the Cup around Annapolis on his day. Everyone Rob knows in town managed to find the Cup and have a special moment with it so he would like to have a similar experience of bringing it to Annapolis.

Of course for someone who went to the University of Maryland and who now calls Maryland home, it should come as no surprise that he would put crabs in the Cup and have a crab fest.

…And beer. Can’t forget the beer.

Craig Laughlin: If he could, Craig would take the Cup to his mom and family back in Waterloo, Ontario. Either that, or take it around his home in Crofton, Md. for charity and enjoy a six-pack of his favorite IPA.

Once again, can’t forget the beer.

As for me, first thing is the cereal: Cap’n Crunch. T.J. Oshie got it right. I would take it to the nearest children’s hospital and then to the nearest military base to share with them. To close out the day, I would have a party with my closest family and friends.

 

Thanks for your questions! If you want to have your question answered on next week’s mailbag post, send it in to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com

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