For the second straight year, the Washington Capitals enter training camp with question marks in goal. Whether Jose Theodore (who has one year remaining on his contract) can recover the starter’s role is undetermined. Theodore faltered in the post-season which paved the way for young goalie Simeon Varlamov to shine.
Still, any team with superstar Alex Ovechkin will not only be competitive, but also a contender. Implementing a system of defensive responsibility will be the main task this season for coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Capitals have a number offensive weapons in their arsenal, including forwards Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, and even defenseman Mike Green, the first blueliner to notch 30-plus goals in a season since former Capitals defenseman Kevin Hatcher scored 34 goals in 1992-93.
With the subtractions of Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov, both signing in the KHL, the Capitals signed Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison, both who can provide secondary scoring. After a disastrous season with Anaheim and Dallas, Morrison will look to rediscover his offensive abilities in Washington.
But the most interesting piece is veteran Michael Nylander, who battled injuries during his first year in Washington, while last season was one to be forgotten, tallying just 33 points in 72 games. Though he has two years and $8.5 million remaining on his contract, Nylander will be the first player out of Washington, possibly through waivers, should the Capitals require salary cap space.
The Capitals will see the return of Brian Pothier, limited to just nine games last year as he battled concussion issues. Prospect defenseman Karl Alzner, who saw some action with the Capitals last year, will be assigned to regular duty this season. Alzner brings both size and mobility to the blueline.
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