Why the Caps Will be Beasts in the East for a Long Time
Right now, Caps fans everywhere are freaking out about a non-existant problem. In fact, the entire hockey community is exploding with criticism. It is pathetic that this argument is even happening. The Caps are not in trouble and their window is certainly not closing. First, they have one of the best rosters in the league. Their top defensive pairing is made up of a 21 y.o. and a 23 y.o. in John Carlson and Karl Alzner both of whom have limitless futures. Next, they have one of the best hockey players of the decade in Alex Ovechkin. I know he had an off year, but he still scored 30+ goals and was one of the top 10 scorers in the NHL. In fact, the entire team had an off year and they still won their conference and had the second best record in the entire NHL. Third, they are blessed by the invaluable gift of youth. They have players like Marcus Johansson who came in with little to no expectations in the beginning of the season and ended up being one of the most sought after players in the entire league at the trade deadline. Finally, and most importantly, the organization has the best front office staff that I have ever seen. Nicklas Backstrom was chosen 4th overall in the draft that saw Erik Johnson drafted with the 1st pick (I know the St. Louis staff are still kicking themselves). Alex Semin was a steal at 13th overall, and Mike Green and Jeff Schultz were drafted 29th and 27th respectively. Cody Eakin, Stan Galiev, and Braden Holtby were all drafted as 3rd round picks, and all of them have the potential to be integral parts of the starting line-up in the next 3 years. Last year saw Evgeny Kuznetsov, the second best Eropean in the draft, picked up at 26th overall. The talent that McPhee and his scouts have found in late first round and after is absolutely unbelievable. The Eastern Conference, however strong it may be, should fear the currently undisputed beasts of the east that are the Washington Capitals, despite recently disappointing playoff performances.