Sunday, June 30, 2013

A New Future for the Washington Capitals

A few weeks ago, I did a pre-draft look at how the Caps could look in the next few years, once their prospects had matured and gained starting roles.

Now I take a post-draft look. The Caps may not have done as good a job as they could have addressing their biggest needs (2nd-line center, defenseman), but they have certainly improved their depth. That being said, once again barring any stunning trades, injuries, and assuming players will come up, here is how the Caps could look around 2015, 2016.

Galiev/Burakovsky-(Insert 2nd-line center here)-Brouwer
Possibilities: Brooks Laich, Martin Erat, Zach Sanford

Possibilities: Cameron Schilling

There are a few things that jump out for this. The top line looks solid. If nobody does any tinkering, that will be an incredibly dangerous line (I mean seriously, this could rival any line in the league right now). The second line is a question mark. First-round pick Andre Burakovsky has good upside, but he could be a late bloomer, and it is too early to tell if he will be a top-6 forward. Stan Galiev is the other LW who will be fighting for a spot, and it will be tough to see who deserves the 2nd-line spot more. That center spot is the biggest wild card. Do the caps re-sign Mike Ribeiro? Do they sign/trade for a solid center? Or do they turn to later draft picks which are hard to call right now? That is one spot which is extremely tough to call. The bottom two lines look fairly solid, although free agency, trades, and drafts could change this.

The D is more straightforward. Everyone except for Bowey have proven that they will be good professionals, and could help backstop a solid blue line for the Caps. Kundratek and Alzner will provide a steady D-line presence so their offensive-minded partners can join the attack. Madison Bowey, though could be a tough call. He is a good, physical defenseman who also has a high hockey IQ. He could be the biggest draft pick from 2013.

Still, this will be a talented team if the core is kept the same. They just need to fill some gaps, and this could be a real contender.

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