The Washington Capitals have a very important off-season coming up. They have the chance to either come back strong in 2014-2015 or to squander opportunities and continue to regress. If they want to contend in 2014-2015 and beyond, here is what they must do this off-season.
1. Get their front office in order. After firing General Manager and Vice President George McPhee, the Washington Capitals have a big glaring hole in their front office. Without a General Manager, they can’t even make moves. Considering the Capitals have been tied to rumors surrounding Wayne Gretzky, I think the Capitals are interested in separating the GM and VP roles.
2. Hire the right head coach. McPhee’s biggest problem was his inability to hire (and keep) good coaches. There are plenty of good candidates out there, but the Washington Capitals should be looking for the right one.
3. Re-sign Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski was a brilliant signing by McPhee. He was the team’s best possession forward. If you look at Stanley Cup winners since 2007, they all have one thing in common: They possessed the puck extremely well and played strong defense. Grabovski does both. Re-signing Grabovski would solidify the second line. There are other options out there for a second line center, but Grabovski is the best fit to what the Washington Capitals should be doing.
4. Find a top 4 defenseman. This is an absolute must, not just for next season, but for the future of the Washington Capitals. The free agent market is a bit barren other than RFA P.K. Subban, so I think that the Capitals would be better off acquiring one via a trade. One possible target is Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler. The Capitals should at least try to get Subban, even if their chances of signing him are virtually non-existent.
5. Find a top 6 left wing. This isn’t an issue right now, but if the Capitals trade Marcus Johansson, it will be. There are some good wings on the free agent market this off-season, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a reliable second line wing.
6. Don’t do anything stupid at goalie. The Capitals have a very good goaltender in Braden Holtby. Yes, Holtby had a rough season, but I’d place 90% of the blame on the defense being horrible and Adam Oates messing with him. Holtby is two seasons removed from almost single handedly taking the Washington Capitals to the Eastern Conference Finals. I hope the new front office is smart enough to realize what they have in Holtby.
The Washington Capitals aren’t that far off from contending again. I think the only major change that needs to happen as far as the players is getting a top 4 defenseman. Hopefully the new front office realizes this and doesn’t blow up the team.
Tags: Washington Capitals