Capitals have difficult season ahead
Barring the unlikely event of a free-agent signing, it’s a safe bet that how the Capitals look right now is pretty much how they’ll look when they open training camp in the second week of September.
Judging from the recent comments made by general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates the Capitals biggest addition to this year’s lineup will be … Brooks Laich.
Maybe not the free-agent center Caps fans were hoping for, but with very few roster alterations this summer, here’s a depth chart we’ve put together, with 2013-14 cap hits for each player.
Today, we’ll look at the forward line combinations. Tomorrow, the defense pairings and goaltenders.
Marcus Johansson [RFA] Nicklas Backstrom [$6.7m] Alex Ovechkin [$9.538m]
Martin Erat [$4.5m] Brooks Laich [$4.5m] Troy Brouwer [$3.666m]
Eric Fehr [$1.5m] Mathieu Perreault [$1.05 million] Joel Ward [$3 million]
Jason Chimera [$1.75m] Jay Beagle [$900,000] Tom Wilson [$1.294m]
Extra: Aaron Volpatti [$575,000]
There are a few issues with the above lineup.
First, the Caps don’t want to develop Wilson with fourth-line minutes. The fiery right wing could add a significant and much-needed physical element to the Caps’ lineup, but where else could he play?
Could the Caps move Troy Brouwer to the left and construct a bruising second line of Brouwer, Laich and Wilson? Do they put Wilson on the third line with Perreault and Fehr? If that happens, are they willing to pay Ward $3 million as a fourth-liner?
Another issue is putting Fehr on the left side. He’s a right-handed shot and Oates likes keeping his righties on the right side of the ice. If Fehr moves to the right, who does he replace?
And if Wilson is not on the team, do the Caps have enough faith in Volpatti to make him an everyday player?