Category Archives: Wsh. Capitals

Predicting Protected Lists: Washington Capitals 

Due to the fact that they have a large number of unrestricted free agents on the team, the Washington Capitals do not face many problems heading into the expansion draft. However, one place they where do have to make a quick decision is in goal. 

At forward, six of the seven spots are essentially locked in. 

Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, and Andre Burakovsky will all be protected. 

After that bunch, the last spot comes down to three players, those being Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, and Lars Eller. 

In terms of age and production, the trio looks like this — 

Beagle: 31-years-old, 31 points in 81 games

Connolly: 25-years-old, 23 points in 66 games 

Eller: 28-years-old, 25 points in 81 games

Beagle’s numbers look more impressive, however, based solely on deployment and how much they forked over for him last offseason, the Capitals are likely to protect Lars Eller. 

On defense, John Carlson and Matt Niskanen are going to be protected. 

Albeit rumors have been swirling recently about a jump to the KHL, the Capitals are likely to protect Dmitry Orlov on defense as well. A case could be made for Nate Schmidt over Orlov, but head coach Barry Trotz clearly prefers the Russian. 

Braden Holtby will be protected in goal. This leaves Philipp Grubauer to be taken by Vegas. The Golden Knights are looking to be young in net, and Grubauer possesses the ability to transform into a number one goalie. Grubauer has the chance to be the man in Vegas, which is an opportunity he will never get in Washington. 

In total, the Washington Capitals probable protection list looks as so:

Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller

Defense: John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov

Goalie: Braden Holtby 

Unless they trade him in the upcoming days, the aforementioned Grubauer is likely to go to Vegas in the expansion draft. 

Next team: Winnipeg Jets 

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

April showers bring May flowers: who has the best chance of coming back in Round 2?

As the hockey season moves from April to May, the playing field shrinks. Currently eight teams remain, but soon enough the group will whittle down to four.

As of now, Pittsburgh, Washington, Ottawa, New York (Rangers), St. Louis, Nashville, Edmonton, and Anaheim remain. For these series, Pittsburgh leads Washington 2-0, Ottawa leads New York 2-0, Nashville leads St. Louis 2-1, and Edmonton leads Anaheim 2-1. Each of these are far from over, however the odds have begun to shift to the favor of one team per series. But the questions that begs is who, of the teams currently down in a series, has the best chance of making a comeback and advancing to the Conference Finals?

For me, it’s the New York Rangers. Although their defense, with the likes of Holden, Staal, and Girardi, is shaky, their lightning quick offense and superstar goalie could be enough to propel them on a run past Ottawa.

The Rangers and Senators have been locked in a back-and-forth series through the first two games. In Game 1, Erik Karlsson scored the game winner from the goal line with 4:11 left in regulation. Game 2 was a barn burner that resulted in a 6-5 Senators win in double overtime. The games cannot be defined as anomalies by any means, but regardless the series is not over by any stretch of the imagination.

To win the series, the Rangers need Henrik Lundqvist to go into Conn Smythe form. His save percentage in the series so far is .888, but not all of that can be attributed to him. The defensive core in front of him is less than ideal, but that is the Rangers mantra. They need Lundqvist to bail them out, which is something he did not do in Game 2.

In terms of the other teams, this is not to say that they do not have a chance to come back in the series. Each team is in the second round for a reason.

Anaheim is a rigid, experienced team that needs to take advantage of that fact against Edmonton. But, Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot are unbelievable players capable of turning a series in an instant (which they have done already). 

St. Louis is in the same category as Anaheim to a sense, but Nashville is playing great right now. The series against the Blues has not come as easy as the series against Chicago did, but it is hard to bet against the Predators currently. They are using their fast paced tactics to their advantage perfectly. 

Lastly, Washington has fallen into a deep hole with Pittsburgh once again. It’s hard to go against the Penguins right now given Washington’s history in the second round and against Pittsburgh in general. If they can overcome this challenge, it’s hard to argue against the fact that they will win the Cup. But it’s one hurdle at a time for Alex Ovechkin at company. 

Of the teams down currently, who do you think has the best chance of moving on to the second round?

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

Three winners and three losers from the 2017 NHL trade deadline 

The 2017 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Quite frankly, it was pretty boring this year. No big or surprising names were moved. However, there was certainly enough action to determine winners or losers of the past few days.

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Three surprising players that could be traded in the next few months 

In less than six months, the entire shape of the NHL will be shifted.

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Five Players Off to Disappointing Starts in 2016-2017

As every new season rolls around, there are bound to be players that come in hot and players that come in cold. Most of the time these come as surprises, especially for teams paying big money for players that start the season slow.

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Sharks, Islanders, Panthers and Capitals have chance to erase ugly history in 2016 playoffs 

The 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs have provided a number of teams with a chance to change their past. The Sharks, Islanders, Panthers, and Capitals all have a shot at a redemption of sorts, but the road getting there won’t be easy. 

The Sharks have gotten a chance to face bitter foe Los Angeles in the playoffs once again, and more importantly for the first time since the historic 2014 collapse. In that series, as we all know, the Sharks were up 3-0 before the Kings stormed back on their road to their second Stanley Cup in three years. The Sharks yet again are up 2-0 this year with a chance to make it 3-0 tonight. 

Both rosters have changed and evolved since the 2014 bout, especially San Jose’s. Players like Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi are new to the mix as well as head coach Peter DeBoer behind the bench. 

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau don’t have much time left in the NHL unfortunately. The Sharks have a chance to do something special this year and erase the 2014 meltdown from memory and finally move on.  

The Islanders and Panthers are two teams going head to head that have some disappointing history within their respective franchises. The Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996, however they are outdone by the Islanders who haven’t won one since 1993. Both are young, hungry teams looking to make the leap to legitimate contenders. 

Garth Snow and the Islanders are certainly closer to the threshold for change than the Panthers are, despite Dale Tallon’s trade deadline extravaganza. One team will undoubtedly go home empty handed and disappointed, but one will head back to their home city with a changed history. 

The Capitals have some ugly history to vex also. They had the most points in the league again this year, a feat they also accomplished in 2009-2010 when the Montreal Canadiens eliminated them in round one. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup and have only advanced to the finals once in their history. That year, 1998, was also the last year the Capitals made it past the second round. 

Ovechkin and company have their best chance at making a run at the Cup this year for the first time in far too long. The first step is getting to the third round, though. 

Plenty of teams have the chance to re-write history in the first round (or beyond) this year. The playoffs are a new animal and there’s never any rhyme or rhythm with how things will shake out. The fate of these four teams can only and will only be decided on a game to game basis. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Islanders Need to Control Their Emotions in Game 5

It’s no secret that the Islanders are irate over Tom Wilson’s hit on Lubomir Visnovsky in Game 4 of their series with Washington, and that hit will help dictate the pace of how Game 5 goes tonight. Whether the hit was clean or not is a matter of opinion, but either way, Visnovsky has a concussion and his season, and more importantly career, is in jeopardy. 

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Two Possible Suitors for Jaromir Jagr

Although just turning 43 years old on February 15th, Jaromir Jagr still has a lot of hockey left in the tank. Jagr, much like he did with the Bruins in 2013, can provide a lot both on the ice and off the ice for a team looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. Jagr has 29 points in 53 games this season, averaging 17:58 time on ice per game. His stats this season, per 60 minutes played, are still good enough to be a second liner in the league, and he also has the advanced statistics to back it up.
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