After 2 disappointing 1stround losses, the Caps are trying to get back to that 2018 level. They have little time to get back to that level tho, considering Ovi's 25 and Backstrom and Oshie are 33. In are Chara, TVR and Anderson and out is Braden Holtby. It's also important to mention that Rierden was fire and Laviolette was hired.
The first x factor for them will be the goaltending. With Hank being gone and with Samsonov only having one NHL season behind him, Samsonov will have to be close to elite level. If he's just «good» then the team isn't making the playoffs IMO.
The second x factor for them will be the defense, cause their top 6 will score goals. The D worries me a bit because they have 2 d-men who stink at defense (Carlson and Schultz) and Chara can't skate anymore. Dillon and Orlov will have to be HUGE for them. They will need to have the best season of their career.
Oh, and one last thing: I believe McMichael will make their team
Here's how I'd build the lines:
1) 2019 capitals lost in game 7 in overtime to the Canes with Oshie and Kempny hurt. Not too disappointing IMO. 2020 was more a vacation than a hockey playoff. That was embarrassing
2) Carlson and Orlov will play together and that’s huge. Dillion will play w Schultz and if that doesn’t work out they have Fehevary and Seig who are both really solid. They have pretty solid depth. Chara was 2nd in ice time for bruins last year in ice time. He can kill penalties and move people from the front of the net. Exactly what they need for a 3rd pairing Dman. People need to realize Chara bring a lot more leadership and grit which plays into the Capitals system. He’s also 7 feet tall don’t need to be quick when you have a 10 foot reach lol. Amazing 3rd pairing guy IMO.
3) BIGGEST X FACTOR... Kuzy. Do you get the elite level center that scores 80 points and 30 in the playoffs or the absolute liability?
4) Sammy doesn’t worry me. He should be good enough
5) Laviolette add was the biggest need from last season. TR was a clown
6) caps top 6 can score but their 3rd line scored a good amount and had amazing possession numbers.
7) Schultz d partner was JJ .... it’s now Dillion that’s HUGE to say he stinks is premature... be more optimistic
Capitals upgraded the roster that won the Metro last year. Every team has warts but I like what the capitals did