Quick Links

How good was the Caps offseason?


How good was the Caps offseason?

The Washington Capitals had a good offseason, but just how good was it compared to the rest of the NHL? Pretty darn good according to Luke Fox of Sportsnet.

Fox ranks the Caps sixth in his offseason power rankings that judges teams based on their offseason moves. The Caps may have lost several notable players, but the addition of Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie more than makes up for that as Fox notes:

Washington traded in some solid role players — Eric Fehr, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward — for bigger-name forwards in Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie, which should make them even more fun to watch. After some posturing, Braden Holtby and the Caps realized they're both better off together, to the tune of five years and $30.5 million. Fair.

Fox does not mention perhaps the Caps' biggest loss in Mike Green, but his point is fair. The Caps lost forwards who were mainly third-line players and added two top-six wingers. That lifts the Caps all the way to sixth in his opinion.

What about some of the other notable offseason moves?

Perhaps the biggest story of the offseason was Toronto winning the Mike Babcock sweepstakes. As great a coach as he is, trading away Phil Kessel makes this team worse, at least in the short-term. While no one could dispute the Maple Leafs are better off for the future with Babcock in tow, for now they will continue to struggle which resulted in them falling all the way to No. 18 on the list.

All eyes were on Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel at the draft and, not surprisingly, the addition of these two lifted their teams high on the list as Edmonton ranked No. 1 and Buffalo No. 3. Dallas was able to slip in ahead of the Sabres thanks to the addition of Patrick Sharp, Antti Niemi and Johnny Oduya. While Niemi is an upgrade in net, his best years are behind him. Calling the Stars the second most improved team in the NHL, to me, is a bit much.

After winning their third Stanley Cup in six years, Chicago needed to cut salary in the offseason and boy did they as Sharp, Oduya and Brandon Saad are all moving on. It's no surprise to see the Blackhawks slide all the way down to No. 28 as a result.

For a team like the Caps to come within one goal of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and still rank sixth in the offseason rankings bodes well for what they can do this season.

RELATED: Gonchar could be returning to the Penguins

Quick Links

Ovechkin looks to match career point streak as Capitals visit Carolina tonight

Ovechkin looks to match career point streak as Capitals visit Carolina tonight

The Capitals visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night at PNC Arena (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Alex Ovechkin can tie his career-best point streak (13 games). Washington (18-9-3, 39 points) has won three straight games. It is the first meeting this year with the Hurricanes (13-13-4, 30 points), who are in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division.                          

Here are four things to watch:

Ovechkin’s Best

Alex Ovechkin has a point in 12 straight games and is one away from matching his career high (Dec. 30, 2006-Feb. 1, 2007). Ovechkin has 19 points (13 goals, six assists) during in this streak and 18 of those have come at 5-on-5 or with the opposition's net empty (three goals). 

Going Streaking

The Capitals have a three-game winning streak and have won 11 of 14 overall. That has allowed them to extend their lead in the Metropolitan Division to three points over Columbus and seven over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh. Even better for Washington is it has won seven of its past nine games on the road. 

Holtby starts

Interesting decision by Todd Reirden, but he goes with Braden Holtby tonight on the road in the first game of a back-to-back. Division rivalry comes into play here. Holtby gets the Hurricanes while Pheonix Copley likely plays against the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Holtby has a .934 save percentage since Nov. 7. He is one shutout shy of tying Olie Kolzig (35) for most of franchise history.   

Injuries mounting

The Capitals will be without defenseman Christian Djoos, who had surgery on his left thigh and will be out “a substantial amount of time,” according to Reirden. Djoos was hurt in the Detroit game on Tuesday. That gives an opportunity to rookie Jonas Siegenthaler, who will play with Madison Bowey tonight on the third pair. Brooks Orpik is not yet back from knee surgery and it could still be some time for him. Expect a recall from AHL Hershey for Saturday's game. The Caps are down to six defensemen. 


Quick Links

Djoos out indefinitely giving Seigenthaler a chance to cement himself in the NHL

Djoos out indefinitely giving Seigenthaler a chance to cement himself in the NHL

Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos is out indefinitely after undergoing a successful surgical procedure on his left thigh Thursday, the team has announced. Djoos sustained the injury in Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Djoos did not practice on Wednesday and the team initially labeled him as day-to-day.

Head coach Todd Reirden said after Wednesday’s practice that he would get an update on Djoos’ status later that day from the trainers and was hopeful he could play in Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“He got some treatment instead of going on the ice and hopefully when I get the update from the trainer, he’s headed in the right direction and can be back there on Friday.”

Reirden also said the team would wait to make any recall until they knew Djoos’ status.

The injury, evidently, was worse than feared prompting an in-season surgical procedure. Djoos has four assists in 28 games this season.

Despite Djoos’ injury, however, when asked if there would be a corresponding recall from Hershey, a team’s spokesman told NBC Sports Washington via text, “Not as of right now.”

With Djoos on the shelf and Orpik still on LTIR, this gives Jonas Siegenthaler a chance to cement himself as an NHL defenseman. Siegenthaler looked poised to make the NHL roster after a strong training camp, but Tom Wilson’s suspension forced a number of roster moves that ultimately saw the waiver exempt Seigenthaler reassigned to the AHL. He was recalled later in the season and has impressed with his play.

In five games, Siegenthaler has yet to record an NHL point, but offense is not his game. He is a physical defenseman with a similar playing style to the veteran Orpik, but much more mobile. He has not looked out of place at all since coming to the NHL despite regularly playing on a third pair with either Djoos or Madison Bowey, both of whom are only in their second NHL season.

If Siegenthaler keeps up his current rate of play, it will be very difficult to send him back to Hershey even after Djoos and Orpik return from injury.