Previewing the East: Washington
The biggest spending at the free-agency party, the Capitals shored up defensive need
Sure you are.
The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Washington Capitals:
Coach: Barry Trotz
Last Year: 38-30-14, 90 points (ninth in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Capitals: 1-0-2
5-on-5 Goals: 139 (12th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 68-for-291, 23.4 percent (second in Eastern Conference)
|2013-14 Stats||Vs. Red Wings|
|IN THE CREASE|
|vs. Red Wings|
Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Oct. 29 (at WAS); Jan. 10 (at WAS); Apr. 5 (at DET).
ARRIVALS: Forwards Chris Conner, Tim Kennedy, Kris Newbury; defensemen Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Mike Moore, Jon Landry; and goalie Justin Peters.
DEPARTURES: Forwards Mikhail Grabovski, Dustin Penner and Joel Rechlicz; defenseman Tyson Strachan; and goalie David Leggio.
SEASON SCOPE: The Capitals spent more money than any other NHL team in free agency this summer – an estimated $70 million – while getting tougher on the blue line with the acquisitions of two guys, Matt Niskanen (seven years, $40.25 million) and Brooks Orpik (five years, $27.5 million), who were defensive stalwarts during their time in Pittsburgh. By adding the pair, the Capitals believe they’ve addressed a major concern, bringing in veteran leadership to a unit that used an NHL-high 14 different defensemen last season.
Niskanen led all NHL defensemen with a plus-33 rating last season, and, under new coach Barry Trotz, he’ll be counted on to run the Caps’ power play with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, who finished 1-2 in the league in power-play points with 44 and 39, respectively.
|2014-15 EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS|
|Atlantic Division||Metropolitan Division|
|Buffalo (July 24)||Carolina (Aug. 7)|
|Boston (sep. 11)||Columbus (Aug. 21)|
|Florida (July 29)||New Jersey (Aug. 14)|
|Montreal (Sep. 2)||NY Islanders (July 31)|
|Ottawa (Aug. 12)||NY Rangers (Aug. 28)|
|Tampa Bay (Sep. 4)||Philadelphia (Aug. 26)|
|Toronto (Aug. 5)||Pittsburgh (sep. 9)|
|Washington (Aug. 19)|