While the Caps did a lot better than I thought they would in the playoffs, the regular season was a disaster. wildly inconsistent players and results. They would go from looking unbeatable to looking like they were the worst team in the league game to game. They just manage to sneak into the playoffs and found a system that made them competitive. It did look a bit like a square peg into a round hole situation though. So many of the players were brought in to suit Boudreaux’s run and gun style, it took time to get the guys to buy into the block shots, defense first mentality. There are a lot of free agents on this team, and there are some people that I’d like to see go.
I think we should let Semen, Green, Voukun, and Shultz walk away as free agents. Yes, Semin has amazing skills but he is going to be expensive and he is way too inconsistent to pay the kind of money he is going to be asking for. While Green has gotten a little more physical in his defensive play, he never got his most valuable part of his game going this year, his offense. Plus, he can’t stay healthy. I can’t imagine tying him down to a longer contract. Schultz is just slow and he doesn’t use his size the way a defenseman should.
I think that Backstrom is the best player on the team and he’s worth building around. I’m mostly OK with most of the other guys like Johannson, Aucoin, Knuble, Laich, etc. SOme are getting paid more than they should be, but still, good NHL players. I don’t think that Brower or Ward are pulling their weight, but they can still be valuable pieces. Chimera and Hendricks have been revelations this year, I had no idea they could perform that well. We’re in good shape in the net. Both Neuvirth and Holtby are the real deal, and they’re cheap.
I would entertain offers on Ovetchkin. I know, I know, but hear me out. His offensive contributions continue to go down, and the rest of his game hasn’t really improved enough to offset that decline. I think that it’s telling that OV spent so much time on the bench during the playoffs. It’s even more telling that it worked. Semin is far better all around player, his defensive work can be really good and he was even a good guy to have out there short handed. OV continues to be a defensive liability. I’m not saying we should dump him, he’s still a good player, but he has always been an offensive player. If the offense keeps going down and his defense doesn’t get markedly better, he will be a net negative on the team, especially with his salary. I feel that if we can’t find a good fit for him on the team, we should trade him and get some good players in return.
So yeah, I’m more or less advocating breaking up “the young guns.” This season has shown that they simply do not gel well enough to be successful. At the very least, this season has shown us that we don’t have the right kinds of players for whatever systems that were tried. I thought that the moves made by GM last offseason were good, but they never did gel. Let’s see what he can do this time around.