Capitals season preview: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov continue to lead offense

The 2022-23 NHL season starts on October 7th. With training camp kicking off, is looking at his three keys, an inside scoop on roster questions, and projected line-ups for each of the 32 teams. Washington Capitals today.

coach: Peter Laviolette (3rd season)

Last season: 44-26-12, 4th in the Metropolitan Division.Lost to Florida Panthers in 1st round of Eastern Conference

3 keys

1. Alex Ovechkin When Evgeny Kuznetsov

Ovechkin and Kuznetsov were the driving force behind the Capitals’ 17-5-6 start last season. Niklas Backstrom Missed due to a left hip injury. In 28 games, Ovechkin scored 44 goals (20 goals and 24 assists) and Kuznetsov scored 30 goals (9 goals and 21 assists).The Capitals need similar production from them to start this season when Backstrom will be sidelined indefinitely with left hip and front resurfacing surgery. Tom Wilson He underwent surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is expected to be out until at least December.Acquisition of Forward connor brown (deals with Ottawa Senators) and Dylan Strom (signing a one-year, $3.5 million contract) will help fill the void, but Ovechkin and Kuznetsov will have to lead again.

2. Consistency in goaltending

Capitals sign for more consistency on the net Darcy Kemper (5 years, $5.25 million average annual value) and Charlie Lindgren (3 years, $1.1 million AAV) Ilya Samsonov (Signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs) Vitek Vanessek (Traded to the New Jersey Devils) Kemper, who won the Stanley Cup last season with the Colorado Avalanche, gave Washington the established No. 1 goalkeeper Washington wanted. The 32-year-old played his NHL career-high 57 games (all starts), performing similar work to last season when he tied for fourth in the league with wins (37-12-4) and shutouts (5). will have a load. , ranked fifth in save percentage (.921) and eleventh in goals average (2.54).

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3. Stay healthy

Backstrom, Wilson, Karl Hagelin (lower body, eyes), Washington will not be allowed any longer absences. 37 years old, with an aging core containing forward Ovechkin, TJ Oshie35, and lars error33, and Defenseman John Carlson 32, Nick Jensen32, and Dmitry OrlovOshie, who underwent surgery to repair a trunk injury in the offseason, was injured and ill last year. Limited to 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 44 regular-season games for the season, he proved his worth by scoring six goals in six games for Stanley.Cup playoffs.

Video: Capitals Offseason Outlook

Roster overview

make a cut

Most of the roster spots are set, but Strome and Conor McMichael Regarding the second line center vacancies created by Backstrom’s absence. Brown sees Wilson’s spot on the right side of the top line for the first time alongside Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Anthony Mansa and Osier are other options.rookie lucas johansen fighting with incumbent Matt Irwin and a newcomer Gabriel Carlson An additional defensive spot (signed to a one-year two-way contract). There is similar competition between Henrik Borgstrom (concluded a one-year two-way contract), Brett Leeson, Axel Jonsson-Fijarby, Joe Snibley When Beck Marenstein for an extra forward spot.forward Hendrix Lapierre When Ariaxei Protas It’s also been seen for a long time, but if you’re not playing a regular NHL role, you might be better off starting your season in the American Hockey League.

most interesting addition

Despite scoring 48 goals in 69 games last season and an NHL career-high 22 goals, Strom became an unrestricted free agent after being denied a qualifying offer by the Chicago Blackhawks. In his 13 of his first 39 games for Chicago last season, Strom was a wholesome scratch. For Washington without Backstrom and Wilson, that shouldn’t be a problem. The Capitals’ top two line and Power, who scored 16 points (5 goals and 11 assists) last season is.

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the biggest potential surprise

The 22nd pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Lapierre was the biggest surprise at training camp last season. After making the season opener roster and scoring one goal in his six NHL games, he was sent to Bathurst for his junior academy in Quebec. hockey league. McMichael’s growth last season and the addition of Strome will make it more difficult for Lapierre to join the squad this season.A match against Academy Bathurst.

ready to break through

McMichael has a chance to take the next step after scoring 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) and averaging 10:28 ice time in 68 games as an NHL rookie last season. That his season of experience and offseason to get stronger will help the 21-year-old, the No. 25 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. McMichael looks more comfortable in center, but could shift to the wing if Strom fits better in second-line center.

fantasy sleeper

McMichael, C/LW (average undrafted in fantasy) – While his production as a rookie last season was limited by having the Capitals’ lowest average ice time (10:28; minimum 40 games), McMichael is a fantasy breakout contender this season. In the absence of veteran Backström, who has been out for a long time following hip surgery, he has a chance to compete with Strom and Lapierre for the second center job. – Anna Dua

Scheduled lineup

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Connor Brown

Dylan Strom — Conor McMichael — Anthony Mansa

Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — TJ Osier

connor sherryNick DowdGarnet Hathaway

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Martin Feherbury — John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen

Eric GustafsonTrevor Van Riemsdyke

Darcy Kemper

Charlie Lindgren

Injured: Niklas Backström (waist), Tom Wilson (knee), Karl Hagelin (lower body, eyes)

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