The Washington Capitals exploded offensively this season, with five of their top six forwards finishing with 25 goals and seven topping 20 markers.
Alexander Ovechkin displayed his talents, as he does every season, with a 50-59 season which made him tied for second in the league. His 109 points were actually a slight regression from his 110 and 112 points of the last two seasons but he missed 10 games due to injury or suspension. He remains the consensus number one pick going into this year’s draft.
This season was a bit different from the past as his center Nicklas Backstrom totaled over 100 points himself for the first time in his career. His true breakout season showed all fantasy owners just how high his ceiling is. He too should be considered a top five pick entering this year’s draft.
Alexander Semin scored 40 goals working between the first and second line and will be going into a contract year. Earlier in the season he found himself on the top scoring line before Mike Knuble took over. The latter would pot 28 goals himself and continues to prove mother nature wrong.
One of the best waiver wire pickups was Brooks Laich, who finished the season with 25 goals and 59 points. Laich played both left wing and center, but mostly played left wing which should make him even safer value for this upcoming season.
Eric Fehr and Tomas Fleishmann also topped 20 goals and adequately filled in for Ovechkin, Semin or Knuble. Both players are still young and excellent sources for secondary scoring. This value will be above replacement level should any top six players go down.
Mike Green continues to dazzle the league and post big numbers. This first round pick led defensemen in points for the second straight season. In short, if you find him available late in the first a 70 point player at D should always help.
His partner Jeff Schultz also had value based off his whopping plus 50 rating. Aside from that inflated ratio, no other blueliner even topped 24 points. The closest player to turn around this trend could be blue chip prospect John Carlson, who won the gold with the game winning goal at the World Juniors Hockey Championship and the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears.
Carlson could be worth a flyer later in the draft just based on his team. Karl Alzner also could take some of the minutes taken when the team lost Shaone Morrisonn to free agency.
Semyon Varlamov looks to start the season as the number one goalie, after missing most of last season. He was previously rated a top prospect, so it will be good to see what he could do over a full season. If he fails to play up to standards he will be replaced by Michal Neuvirth, who has shown signs of stability between the pipes.
The team also may be in the market for a veteran should either or both young netminders falter. Neither player would be considered a proven commodity despite Varlamov’s nice playoffs preceding his rookie season.
On the Bench:
Bruce Boudreau owns these players. He gets everything he can out of his offense with very little regard for defense. The style of play is simply a run and gun offense– which the team correctly implements en route to drastically outscoring their opponents.
When an opponent plays a level-headed trap style of play like Montreal did in the playoffs, the Capitals fall. Good thing the regular season is all that matters in standard formats as the high offense really can boost most players statiscally.
The Bottom Line:
The Capitals let Joe Corvo and Morrison and did very little else to retool. They drafted more Russians and stayed the course. GM George McPhee must feel confident with his young core and hope they continue to show the same offensive flair this next season.