Capitals

Capitals

There’s no more accurate way to gauge how good a player is than to look at his video game rating. EA Sports has already declared Alex Ovechkin as the best left wing in hockey for the upcoming game NHL 18, but there’s another video game out there with a fun quirk worth exploring.

NBA 2K18, which will be released Sept. 19, features the all-time team rosters of all 30 NBA teams. Want to see how Michael Jordan would fare against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors? Want to see LeBron James of the Cavaliers play LeBron James of the Heat? Want to revisit the Magic Johnsvon-Larry Bird rivalry? You can.

But we're hockey fans. We don't care about that. Let's take this to the ice and figure out what the all-time roster of the Washington Capitals would look like.

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An NHL game roster consists of 20 players: 12 forwards, 6 defensemen and two goalies. Looking at all the players to don a Capitals sweater in franchise history, here's what Washington's all-time lineup would look like:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Mike Gartner
Dennis Maruk - Adam Oates - Peter Bondra
Dave Christian - Bobby Carpenter - Jaromir Jagr
Michal Pivonka - Dale Hunter - Dino Ciccarelli

 

There are not too many natural left wings on this list so I had to shuffle some players around to fill out the lineup. With the context of the team's playoff struggles, it can be easy to forget just how good Ovechkin and Backstrom are. The fact that Ovechkin is the best Capitals player ever is undisputed. Even for a team that boasts Oates, a Hall of Fame center, Backstrom still gets the nod for the top line. He often gets lost in the shadow of his Russian line mate, but he is just that good. Gartner vs. Bondra was a tough call for the top line. Ultimately I went with the stats. In his best season Bondra scored 85 points, a mark that Gartner matched or surpassed four times in his career.

Defensemen
Rod Langway - Larry Murphy
Scott Stevens - Kevin Hatcher
Sergei Gonchar - Al Iafrate

Langway and Stevens are inarguable and any all-time Caps roster that does not include both players should not be taken seriously. The tough part about the defense was not so much picking who was in, but the players who were left out. Brendan Witt, Sylvain Cote, Rick Green, Yvon Labre and Mark Tinordi were all considered and it was especially hard to leave out Mike Green and Calle Johansson. The problem, however, is if you put one of them in, someone else has to come out. Would you take out any of those six for Green or Johansson? I wouldn't.

Goalies
Braden Holtby
Olaf Kolzig

The only other goalie worth bringing up here is Don Beaupre, but ultimately he comes up short to Holtby and Kolzig. Holtby has established himself as one of the top netminders at a time when goaltending has become so dominant, the NHL has literally had to shrink the size of the goalie pads. Kolzig, meanwhile, has more than double Beaupre’s career wins in Washington with 301 compared to 128. And no, Jim Carey is not a legitimate answer. He had one great season earning a Vezina Trophy in 1996 before falling off the face of the Earth. Both Holtby and Kolzig have Vezinas of their own plus several years of consistently great play.

What would your all-time roster look like?

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