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Capitals release Roy, Peters in roster shakeup

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Capitals release Roy, Peters in roster shakeup

After inviting him to training camp on a professional tryout, the Capitals have cut veteran center Derek Roy from their training camp roster.

The club also released goaltender Justin Peters, forward Liam O’Brien and defensemen Aaron Ness and Ryan Stanton, leaving them with a 24-man roster that includes forwards Chris Brown (who is expected to be placed on injured reserve), Sean Collins and Stan Galiev.

Peters, Ness and Stanton all must pass through NHL waivers before they can be assigned to the AHL Hershey Bears. The waiver period ends at noon on Tuesday.

One of the most difficult decisions of training camp came at the center position, where Roy and Chandler Stephenson battled for a roster spot. Roy, 32, had one goal and one assist, took two penalties and was a plus-1 in four preseason games.

The Caps invited him to camp because of the uncertainty surrounding Nicklas Backstrom and his return from hip surgery. But with Backstrom progressing well and likely to return before the end of October, the Caps decided Andre Burakovsky can handle the role of second-line center for the start of the season.

With Roy’s skill level, the Caps decided it did not make sense to have him playing on a fourth line during Backstrom’s absence while also having his salary count against the cap all season long.

RELATED: Plenty of positives in Caps 6-2 preseason win over Isles

Roy, who has 524 points in 738 regular season games and 27 points in 49 playoff games, is now free to sign with another NHL team.

Peters, 29, had an outstanding preseason, going 1-0-1 with a 0.71 GAA and 96.7 save percentage, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced.

But when the Caps awarded Philipp Grubauer a one-way contract carrying a cap hit of $750,000, it was clear that Peters likely would begin the season in Hershey, where he will share goaltending duties with Dan Ellis if he goes unclaimed.

Following today’s moves the Caps are roughly $600,000 under the salary cap. Here is the Caps’ current roster, with NHL cap hits:

FORWARDS (15)

Alex Ovechkin $9.538 million

Nicklas Backstrom  $6.7 million

Brooks Laich $4.5 million

T.J. Oshie $4.175 million

Marcus Johansson $3.75 million

Justin Williams $3.25 million

Evgeny Kuznetsov $3 million

Jason Chimera $2 million

Jay Beagle $1.75 million

Tom Wilson $894,166

Andre Burakovsky $894,166

Michael Latta $575,000

Sean Collins $575,000

Stan Galiev $575,000

Chris Brown (injured – percentage of $575,000)

DEFENSEMEN (7)

Matt Niskanen $5.75 million

Brooks Orpik $5.5 million

John Carlson $3.966 million

Karl Alzner $2.8 million

Dmitry Orlov $2 million

Nate Schmidt $812,500

Taylor Chorney $700,000

GOALTENDERS (2)

Braden Holtby $6.1 million

Philipp Grubauer $750,000

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz preaching patience with Orlov

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Want the Stanley Cup? Five ways the Caps can beat the Golden Knights

Want the Stanley Cup? Five ways the Caps can beat the Golden Knights

The Caps stand just four wins away from winning their first Stanley Cup. To get those four wins, however, they will have to beat the Vegas Golden Knights.

Here are the keys to the series that will give the Caps the win.

Figure out how to beat Marc-Andre Fleury

No player has been as important to his team this postseason as Fleury is to the Golden Knights. He is reason No. 1, 2 and 3 why they have made their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in the team’s inaugural season.

Fleury’s personal numbers are staggering. Through 15 games, he has a .947 save percentage and has recorded four shutouts.

Vegas has been a middle of the pack team in terms of offense this postseason scoring 2.87 goals per game. They have lost only three playoff games thus far, but, as dominant as they have been, they certainly are not blowing away the competition. Of their 12 wins, ten of them have come with a margin of victory of two goals or less.

This shows you just how important Fleury is to their success. They are not scoring opponents into submission, rather they are relying on Fleury to keep opponents at bay.

Fleury is the absolute key to the Golden Knights’ success. It’s easier said than done, but if the Caps find a way to beat him consistently, Vegas becomes exponentially more beatable.

Win the neutral zone battle

Much of this series will be determined between the blue lines. The Golden Knights are an incredibly fast team.

Just to get to this point, the Caps had to beat two other speedy teams in the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did it primarily by slowing down the offense in the neutral zone with a 1-3-1 trap. With so many bodies defending in the neutral zone, opponents have struggled to break the puck cleanly into the Caps’ defensive zone. The Caps are cutting off passing and skating lanes, creating turnovers and generating odd-man breaks in the other direction by catching opponents’ defensemen playing too aggressively on the rush.

As fast as the Penguins and Lightning were, however, the Golden Knights are even faster. Will the trap be as effective against Vegas?

Limit obstruction penalties

When playing against a team with speed, penalties often become a major issue. When trying to defend against fast players, if you get caught flat-footed or out of position, this tends to lead to obstruction penalties like tripping and hooking. When a player realizes he’s been beat, he does everything he can to prevent that from costing his team, leading to those type of penalties.

Vegas’ power play has not been lights out by any means with a success rate of only 17.6-percent this postseason, but you cannot continually give the opposition chances to score by frequently having a player sent to the penalty box.

Positioning is going to make all the difference in the world in this series to make sure a player is not forced into taking an obstruction penalty just to slow down the Golden Knights.

Get off to good starts

Vegas is 10-1 in the postseason when scoring first. Their secret to success is a mix between goaltending and speed.

Fleury has been phenomenal in net and the Golden Knights are a quick breakout team. It is very hard to get much sustained offensive pressure against them because once they get the puck, they are going down the ice at a million miles an hour.

Having to play from behind against a team like Vegas is not a recipe for success. Just getting the puck and keeping up with them is exhausting. Having to then find a way to then beat Fleury when he has a lead to protect is all the more daunting.

Strong starts will be vital to ensuring the Caps are not frequently having to play from behind.

Depth scoring

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant likes to roll his four lines. It makes sense since there drop-off between his top line and fourth line is not as dramatic as it is on most NHL teams.

Consider how this team was constructed. The expansion draft did not give Vegas access to superstar players, but they also did not have to take any fringe NHL/healthy scratch players to fill the fourth line either. They filled their roster with the best players available to them which gives them four lines of much more comparative strength than most NHL teams.

While this means the Caps have a stronger top six, it also allows Vegas to roll four lines and take advantage of other teams’ bottom six.

You can never take a shift off against Vegas. There is no weak line to exploit. The Golden Knights come at you with four lines and relentless pressure and forecheck for 60 minutes.

Washington will probably get more production from its top six than Vegas will, or at the very least it will be a push. The question is what kind of production will each team get from the bottom six? If the Caps have the edge in depth production as well, they will be in good shape.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.