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05-14-2012, 03:14 AM
Delivering The Truth
HockeyThoughts's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Mississauga
Country: Canada
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A few thoughts..

-A Holtby-Neuvirth is a great 1A/1B situation for Washington, pitting two quality young goaltenders in a competition for #1 on a strong defensive squad

-They need to limit Hamrlik's minutes in his final season with the club

-Dennis Wideman needs to be let go.. He was #1 in TOI/G in the regular season and #6 in TOI/G in the postseason .. that is simply unacceptable, he is an extremely poor defensive player and his offensive abilities do not make up for this

-The final few games of the playoffs had Mike Green really starting to look like his old self again. A top 3 of Carlson(2way)-Alzner(shutdown)-Green(offense) in addition to a more experienced Orlov is a great top 4. Hamrlik in limited minutes with another solid, hardnosed defenseman would give the Capitals one of the best defense cores in the league

-They need to put Ovechkin back with Backstrom full time. Backstrom is the most dynamic two-way forward on the roster, as well as the most creative offensive forward. He has also exhibited unmatched proven chemistry with Ovechkin, and the pairing will give Washington the dominant offensive first line they need.

First Line: Ovechkin-Backstrom-?(Brouwer)

-I say they take advantage of the situation and keep Semin at the discounted price he will surely sign for. He is best friends with Ovechkin and is coming off a down offensive season which truly puts the ball in Washington's court in terms of contract negotiations. He is a great offensive threat on the 2nd line and a pretty great defensive forward as well. It'd be nice for he and Johansson to develop some more chemistry and for Johansson to take the next step in 12/13 and slot in more comfortably as the #2 center.

Second Line: Semin-Johansson-?(Laich)

Bottom 6:
-Washington has got to hope that the 11/12 playoffs proves to be a coming out party for Matt Hendricks. There were flashes of promise throughout the regular season but in the playoffs he proved that he can be relied on to play hard top 9 minutes -- and excel in the position. Jay Beagle also falls in the same category, and in an even bigger way. A relative unknown prior to the playoffs, he was absolutely dominant as a checking line center throughout the playoffs. The pairing slotted with the right choice of winger would give Washington a dominant shutdown line throughout the season if they are able to replicate their postseason success in the regular season.

Third Line: Hendricks-Beagle-?(Chimera)

-This leaves three spots open in the top 9. I believe all of Laich, Brouwer and Chimera are perfectly suited for these positions. Laich is the outspoken captain-type figure on the team, a great defensive player and a clutch scorer. Brouwer is a hard-nosed forward with youth, experience, physicality and offensive ability firmly on his side. Chimera contributes an element of both speed and size which are huge to any roster.

The fourth line is really the only line I'd make any changes to. Joel Ward is good in a mixed bottom 6 position, earning more minutes on the roster when he plays well but generally logging 4th line minutes. I'd like to see Cory Eakins take the next step and earn a full time position on the Capitals roster slowly working his way into consistent bottom 6 minutes. I'd also like to see the Capitals sign a grizzled veteran with a pedigree to fill the final position. Some names I'd go after in free agency include Paul Gaustad, Chris Kelly, and Dominic Moore.

-At this point in time the bottom 6 has a bunch of interchangeable forwards with different strengths and skillsets. I am using the playoffs as an indication of things to come for the Washington Capitals. As a GM however, I would throw a few more talented bottom 6 forwards in the mix and let them duke it out for prime defensive minutes in the postseason.

The powerplay:
-One thing that drove me absolutely crazy was seeing Dennis Wideman being given the opportunity to QB the powerplay in favour of Mike Green -- and fail miserably. Prior to his injuries Green had stepped up as the BEST PPQB in the entire league! If their is one place he is going to excel offensively and build confidence its on the powerplay! Let him utilize the extra time and space and let him play with the top offensive players and get his game back together.

I honestly don't think the Capitals need to make that many moves this offseason but rather stay the course and hope for a few better bounces next season. This is the first season of the Dale Hunter experiment and the Capitals, though hard to understand given their length of success are still a very young team. Let the players mesh together and grow as players. This core will likely be in tact for another 2 or 3 seasons, and it's hard fought playoff losses like this that make them work even harder this offseason and throughout the duration of next season.

Last edited by HockeyThoughts: 05-14-2012 at 03:21 AM.
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