The Capitals had a tremendous start to the 2015-16 season, but they didn't end the calendar year the way they wanted to. They didn't start 2016 the way they wanted to either.
After a winning streak in which everything seemed to go right for the Caps, the injuries are starting to mount. John Carlson's ironman streak of 412 games was snapped due to a lower-body injury meaning the Caps have been without their top two defensemen for the last four games. In Wednesday's game against Buffalo, both Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle were also injured and the Caps were still able to come from behind for the win. Luckily Backstrom's injury was minor and he played the next day. Beagle, however, has joined Orpik on IR.
SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE
The injuries ultimately cost the Caps their nine-game winning streak and, for the first time all season, the Caps lost two in a row as they fell on New Year's Eve to Carolina and in Columbus on Saturday.
Carlson is skating again and looks as if he will be able to return soon, but the prognosis is not as good for Beagle or Orpik. Beagle will miss several weeks after undergoing surgery on his hand while Orpik's status remains up in the air. The Caps have built themselves a large enough cushion in the standings that they should be fine in the long run. In the short-term, however, the Caps have taken a hit as they suddenly do not look like quite as dominant.
The Caps were finally knocked out of the top spot in this week's NHL Power Rankings. Find out how far they fell here.
Defenseman Madison Bowey re-signed with the Capitals on Thursday, inking a two-year extension that will carry an average of $1 million.
Bowey carried a cap charge of $703,333 last season.
The 23-year-old appeared in 51 games for the Caps in 2017-18, amassing 12 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus-3.
Bowey also suited up in nine contests for AHL Hershey, though he finished the season as one of the Black Aces during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup.
With Bowey back in the fold, the Caps now have six of seven defenseman from last season’s roster under contract. (Veteran Brooks Orpik remains an unrestricted free agent.)
Bowey had an uneven first year in the NHL—he didn’t play following the late-February addition of Michal Kempny—but the Caps expect that the 6-2, 198-pound right-shot blue liner will become reliable full-time player with more seasoning.
Bowey’s deal leaves Tom Wilson as the Caps' only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. The sides are in discussions on a multi-year extension.
Including Bowey’s extension, the Caps have roughly $7.3 million in salary cap space remaining, according to CapFriendly.
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In the present, the Capitals are the Stanley Cup champions. But what does the future hold?
The voice of the Hershey Bears, Zack Fisch, joins JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir to talk all things prospects!
Who stood out at development camp? How will Pheonix Copley look as backup? Which Hershey prospects could push for a spot in the NHL? All that and more on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.
Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.
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