Everyone has their own ideas about how the Washington Capitals will handle the off season. Questions about who should be traded, what situations need help, and who deserves a bigger role – all are rather vague.
Or at least they were up until now. I solved the problem of all your hot, fuzzy stuff that just couldn’t reconcile with each other, and I did it by doing what I always do: make a cute little color-coded spreadsheet.
Here comes a data-driven approach to identifying Washington Capitals’ needs this summer.
I asked my fellow RMNBers to score every position player in the lineup. I wanted to know, on a scale of 1 to 5, how worried they are about this player/position. A low number indicates little concern, All is well. The large number indicates that this player and this situation is giving us anxiety, and perhaps indicates that the hats have to do something about it this summer.
In order to do this exercise, I had to build some kind of platonic formation. I used a bunch of games before and after the trade deadline to create the list of players you see below. The cell color of each player indicates the average degree of anxiety for them (red is bad, green is good, yes, I know I need to do better with accessibility for color blindness).
Take a look. Let your eyes wander for a moment and you’ll get the gist.
Now, using our concern data as a starting point, let’s identify Washington’s weaknesses and thus their unofficial priorities. We’ll go line by line.
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson
With another season of 50 goals for Ovechkin and Kuznetsov counting Safely in the rear view, we feel good about scoring higher, although Ovechkin could have been higher had it not been for the specter of aging around him.
But Tom Wilsonanterior cruciate ligament injury scary. We know Wilson will miss the start of next season, and we’ve seen from the Florida Series how much of an impact he can miss. More on that in a moment.
Anxiety level: 2.0 – Not great, not terrible
Mantha – Backstrom – Oshi
Niklas Backstrom He has the worst anxiety score of any Caps player, where – Due to the fateful exit interview It is not certain that he will be available at the start of next season. We saw from 2021-22 that Backstrom still had excellent handling skills, but his mobility really waned (and there wasn’t much to sing about).
while, TJ O’Shea It was very divisive for us – with a mix of four and two averaging three. We know he’s got a talent for scoring, but Durability is a growing concern; He missed 38 games last season.
The first and most important priority in the Offseason is knowing what the future holds for Nicklas Backstrom. Will he need more surgery? If yes, how long will he stay abroad? If not, can he even pass a physical examination? It seems likely that there will be some degree of long-term casualty reserve, but its amount will determine how aggressive the hats will be in seeking an alternative, both in the short and long term.
We know Office Caps adores both Tom Wilson and TJ Oshie, but we have good reason to worry about the right wing in both the top lines. But I’m not sure the team will be serious about trying to mitigate these weaknesses.
Anxiety level: 3.5 – Chronic heartburn
McMichael – Eller – Cherry
Forecasts get more murky once you leave the top six. Placing Conor McMichael here in the lineup is questionable in itself, though my impression from the RMNBers is that he is concerned more with opportunity than talent.
There is more disagreement Lars Elerwhich doesn’t worry everyone, so I guess I’m a concern there. I don’t think Eller, 33, can handle the third streak anymoredriving play and hopefully the goals are in Washington’s favour.
Suddenly, there’s likely to be a huge gap in Washington’s lineup – both the second line and the third line center are shrouded in doubt. That’s a big problem, but it also presents an opportunity: Washington needs reinforcements in the central position, and they could possibly justify increased spending on the 3C role if they can play in the top six at times.
Finally, everyone else seems to be satisfied with Conor Sherry. Except for Ian who is a hater.
Anxiety level: 2.9 – Feeling Kinda IFFY
Larson – Dodd – Hathaway
without flaws. There are no notes.
But Johan Larsson is an expired free agent. Given how successful it is Repeat for the fourth line It was, hopefully, that Washington would seek an extension.
Overall, this is a great line and gives us positive feedback.
Anxiety level: 1.4 – Affirmation of good feelings
Fehervary – Carlson
There is a lot of opposition Martin Ferrari (Equal number of four and two), who was A good start and a terrible end to the junior season. I know it drives you crazy sometimes, but John Carlson Player more confident in pairing.
Personally, I think the hats should try a different partner for Carlson, and they should be more willing to make evidence-based tweaks in general.
Anxiety level: 2.9 Some errors have been detected
Orloff – Jensen
Everyone loves Dmitriy Orlov and Nick Jensen. They haven’t quite had the same smoke in the post-season, and I think Jensen doesn’t exactly set anyone’s world on fire, but there’s no concern here.
Anxiety level: 1.6 – Just wake up from a nap
Schultz – Van Rimsdijk
This is tricky, as Justin Schultz is an expired free agent, and the Capitals don’t seem to care much about re-signing. Schultz’s voices seemed to be in trouble at his imminent exit from his stairs. His position in the third conjugation must be filled, either from free agency or from the farm. Knowing Brian McClellan, I suspect he will try both.
Anxiety level: 2.9 – Guys come to have a look at this
despite of Ilya Samsonov Better interval performance, both guards got the same score: 4.4, severe anxiety. After two whole seasons working under the illusion that one of these players will step up and take the starting position, nor did. Both goalkeepers’ contracts have expired, both are in a restricted state, and I have no idea what the team will do. I know our biggest fear is a third year of the same boring dance between two not-so-good-enough guards.
So I bet Washington would pick a goalkeeper in the off-season. Maybe they will get two.
Anxiety level: 4.4 – President of the Republic
So the big needs of the capitals in order are:
- Excellent quality goalkeeper
- Middle of six at least one center
- Can you help the right wing?
- Defenders of Depth
This is arduous and difficult to meet with a salary cap for the team unknown until Backstrom’s decision and prognosis are clear. Free agency begins July 13th. I hope the team will do their homework.