As part of our summer countdown series, CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley breaks down his Top 25 impact players for the Washington Capitals’ upcoming 2014-15 season.
No. 25: Aaron Volpatti
Positon: Left Wing
2014-15 NHL Salary: $600,000 [$575,000 cap hit]
2013-14 stats: 41 games, 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points, minus-3, 49 penalty minutes, 7:41 ice time
Projected 2014-15 stats: 21 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, even, 27 penalty minutes
Analysis: It was far more difficult coming up with the bottom five on this list than the top five, especially since it’s hard to know what kind of impact, if any, players like Philipp Grubauer, Chandler Stephenson, Chris Brown, Tim Kennedy, Kris Newbury and Steve Oleksy will have on the Caps next season. In the case of Volpatti, he is on a one-way contract, which means he would need to pass through NHL waivers before being sent to the AHL Hershey Bears. That could happen if new coach Barry Trotz believes he is upgrading his fourth line with the addition of forwards such as Stephenson, Brown, Kennedy or Newbury. Volpatti’s 7:41 of average ice time was second-to-last on the team last season, ahead of only AHL callup Nicholas Deschamps [6:49], who saw just three games with the Caps. At 6-foot, 215 pounds, Volpatti is not quite an NHL heavyweight, but plays a rambunctious style and is willing to defend his teammates by dropping the gloves with anyone. He’s unlikely to provide much on the offensive side and could see a dramatic drop in NHL games if someone like left wing Andre Burakovsky finds a way to make the season-opening roster.