I’ve gone through 28 teams already, and today is the Washington Capitals. I’ve never been fond of the Caps because of the Battle for the Southeast rivalry between the Canes and them. A horrific season turned into an amazing one for them, until the first round disappointment against the Rangers. If the divisions and playoff format were the same, I would see them in the playoffs this year, but I’m not so sure with the way it’s set up. I think they’ll be in the race with Detroit, Ottawa, and Carolina.
The reason I don’t see a playoff run is the loss of Rebeiro. They lost a lot of offense when he decided to leave. Grabovski was a great move, getting that 2nd-line forward, but, even though he’s a very good scorer, he doesn’t fully replace the loss of Rebeiro’s 80 point ability.
I’ve criticized McPhee’s lack of interested in grabbing an elite goaltender, but the more I think about it, Holtby is really starting to grow as a very solid goalie. He has proven to Neuvirth that he is not weak competition for the starting job like he thought. The defense is set in stone because of this and the core of defensemen that they have.
Compared to the other teams, I don’t think they can make it to the playoffs, but they might surprise me.