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Offseason report: Washington Capitals

Jul 31, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

Adam Oates

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

42-32-8, 92 points. Second in Southeast Division, seventh in the Eastern Conference.


Joey Crabb, Wojtek Wolski, Mike Ribeiro, Jack Hillen


Dennis Wideman, Alex Semin, Jeff Halpern, Keith Aucoin, Cody Eakin, Mike Knuble, Tomas Vokoun

2012 Draft

First round, 11th overall — RW Filip Forsberg (Leksands, Sweden); 16th overall – RW Tom Wilson (Plymouth, OHL)

Looking back

Despite all the significant changes to the roster and the signing of defenseman Mike Green to a new contract, the biggest move GM George McPhee made this summer might’ve been hiring head coach Adam Oates.

Washington’s transformation from run-and-gun to collapse-and-block since its shock first-round elimination at the hands of the Canadiens two years ago has been nothing short of remarkable. The Caps scored just 222 goals last season, 60 fewer than league-leading Pittsburgh. That compares to the 318 Washington racked up in 2009-10 under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who was fired in November and replaced by Dale Hunter.

Hunter promised the Caps would be “really responsible defensively” and delivered on that promise. In the playoffs, Washington managed to score just over two goals per game, yet with a game plan that saw Alex Ovechkin riding the pine when the team held the slightest of leads, fell one win short of advancing to the conference finals.

Looking forward

There’s not a whole lot more McPhee absolutely has to do before the season starts, though with ample cap space he could make a move should an opportunity arise.

RFA defenseman John Carlsson still needs to be re-signed, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

McPhee might also look at adding another defenseman for depth and/or a scoring winger to replace Semin.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of Washington’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. mclovinhockey - Jul 31, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I love WW but he has fallen hard the last few years. The caps really lost a lot of depth and skill but the majority of it was past their prime or players who don’t work well with the team.

  2. dougr42 - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    What are the odds Holmgren goes after Carlson with an offer sheet?

    • rockthered1286 - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      They won’t get him. On an already thin defensive team like the Caps with plenty of cap space available, they’d match in a heartbeat. Seems to be all the Flyers can do these days…

  3. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Someone here at PHT love them some Adam Oates. Who was it again? You Jason?

  4. rockthered1286 - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Look at what we lost:
    Vokoun- 3rd best goalie last yr on the Caps
    Knuble/Halpern- Healthy scratches every other game
    Aucoin/Eakin- 4th line guys who alternated between DC and Hershey for many years.
    Semin- goal scorer BUT came with laziness and a plethora of stupid cheap penalties (trips, slashing, etc.)
    Wideman- biggest loss, but still a liability on defense. It was a either Green or Wideman and they picked the better (and cheaper and younger) of the two.

    So in essence, I don’t see too much lost, just didn’t make big name acquisitions like the Rangers with Nash or the Wild with Parise/Suter. Bobby Ryan is still out there (although the need is not necessarily there) as well as Doan (although I doubt we offered him 4-$30) and trades are not out of the question at this point in time.

    • therealjr - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      This team is good enough to make the playoffs for sure. Last year was a disaster and they still qualified as the #7 seed.

      Seems like the plan is to see how some of these younger/newer guys on the roster perform and determine what needs to be done in the second half of the season.

    • kantnockdahustle89 - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Thats just about right RocktheRed. Wideman only made the All Star game because Green was out and he was hot for 30 games. After that he was downright abysmal. He was probably the worst d-man in the playoffs. Worse than Shultz Id say.

      My guess is that GMGM will see how this team starts the year and go from there. There wasn’t a lot of movement at the trade deadline last year and leaving cap room can allow you to add a bigger player for the playoffs if they are in position.

  5. happybirthdaytogeno - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    -Since the “bloggers” here at NBC Sports seem to neglect that this
    joyous day should be celebrated with borscht, halva, and praise for
    the greatest Russian to ever touch the puck Evgeni Malkin, we at the
    SCA headquarters have to bring you the news ourselves. Roughly 26
    years and 9 months (give or take the extra time it took to cook that
    magnificent pringles can) Vladimir Malkin was giving his seed to his
    wife and eventual life giver to a goal scoring machine. Evgeni came
    out of the womb with a Bauer contract and the rest is history. From
    his first goal when he tipped it past Marty to the infamous backhand
    to embarrass Cam Ward and the entire Hurricanes organization, every
    single one has added to the thickness that you see today. It is quite
    evident why the picture below is entitled “I’m Score.” Just look at
    that lucky lady… Mmmmm Mmmmm Mmmmmm.

  6. polegojim - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    For my comments on the Washington Capitals…. see ‘Offseason Report: Calgary Flames.

    Same story – only Washington has failed to produce on an even larger scale.

  7. ravenscaps48 - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I think we’re about the same… But the big key here is the Mike Ribeiro Acquisition. We have been yearning for a significant Number 2 Center for quite a while. Hopefully he and Wolski, Perreault, Laich, or Galiev can develop some chemistry and get us a strong two line combo…. Also. Carlson has one “s” in it. Other than that, fine job as always Mr. Brough!

    • dougr42 - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Brooks Laich is a center.

      • ravenscaps48 - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Well Sir. Before you go correcting me, he is listed as a RW/C. He does play Center mostly because we have no other C’s on the team… But now that McRib is here, you’ll probably see him play a lot more Wing than other years

  8. caps247 - Jul 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Players like Laich, Matty P., Beagle, Johansson, etc. can play either wing or center. One of the things I like is that the Caps are very flexible and can fill many positions accordingly.

    Also for that comment a few up above, I agree. Going through a coaching change mid-season and ending up being 1 goal away from an Eastern Conference Finals appearance with an young goaltender is definitely producing worse on a much larger scale than the Flames.

    The Bruce Boudreau era was fun to watch, but we never got past getting swept in the 2nd round. The Dale Hunter era was very brief, (and less exciting to watch), but he got farther than BB in less than a season. This new Adam Oates era should be a hybrid of offense and defense, being fun to watch while getting the job done.

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:58 AM

      Did you just start watching the Caps? Hunter got no further than Boudreau did in the playoffs. It was just a couple of years ago the Caps went SEVEN games in the SECOND round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boudreau was the coach. If you don’t believe me, go the the NHL website and watch the games. They are all there and you can watch as many as you want for five dollars. It’s a good way for you to actually get to know the team since you just started watching them.

  9. bcjim - Jul 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Letting Semin walk will be looked back on as a bad decision I predict.

    They should still make the playoffs though.

  10. bloatedjoxx - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    happy birthday to geno!! u make us all proud with ur pringles can buldging out of your sexy tight pants! I want to mouth hug your thick meat. SCA OWNS YOUR MOTHERS

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      This guy sweeps his mother’s basement before he is allowed to come onto the internet

      • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:49 AM

        Apparently that is not all he does.

  11. bloatedjoxx - Jul 31, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    no she doesnt make me sweep the basement. i have to pick the bugs out of her bush before im aloud on here. TORQUED JOXXX

  12. thecrabcakestate - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    What’s with all the malkin love? I mean happy birthday to him and he’s a phenomenal player. And would be fun to watch as well if he didn’t have that blasphemous penguin on his jersey. But this is a caps post and meant to talk about them. If you want to talk about him I’m sure there’s still plenty of support groups directed at the fans after the butt ravaging Philly gave pitt in the 1st round.

  13. thecrabcakestate - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Oh yeah. ravenscaps48. Awesome nickname of ribeiro. McRib should be a good center in dc.

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