For the Washington Capitals, changes have been made so far during this offseason and holes have been address, but is that enough for them to make the playoffs. There are a couple of aspects of the game that need to change or get better to have a successful year. What is a successful year? Making the playoffs and only getting to the second round of the playoffs as they had done the previous 6 season? Having more than 100 points? Making the Stanley Cup finals? Nothing less than the Cup in their hands?
The latter would be a good start, I think that calling the 2014-15 season successful shows improvement in the areas that lacked last year as well as maintaining the successful points from last year. The Power Play was top in the league and could possibly be the only thing that saved them from not finishing lower than 9th place last year. 68 goals, which was more than anyone else, is a good mark to keep.
Areas that need improvement would be the defensive play. The lack of defense and lack of consistency last year really hurt the Capitals. Injuries also did play a part in that but how long can side step the problem with excuses. The Capitals did go out and re-vamp their defense with the additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. With the prospects that the Capitals have as well, their defense should be better this year.
Braden Holtby is going to be the number one going into the season and having a confidence boost at the end oft he year last year as well as during the offseason with the coaching changes and what is to come, this should help him get back on track from having the lowest Goals Against and Save percentage in his career.
Barry Trotz is preaching a defensive style to the Capitals game, but he is also looking at puck control as well. If you have the puck, they other team can’t score. Keeping the puck for an extended period of time can keep the pressure on the other team and create multiple scoring opportunities.
A final aspect of the Capitals game that really could use improvement is putting the puck in the net. With Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, and Joel Ward were the leading scorers for the team. A team can not rely on 3 players to carry the team. Production needs to be throughout the team for them to be successful. Three players stood out with a lack f production that hurt the Capitals last year. Mike Green had only 9 goals and as an offensive defenseman, more is needed out of him. Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson also had low production years with both only putting 8 pucks in the net. Playing on top lines, you expect those players to produce double digit goals. single digit numbers for talented guys like these will not make the playoffs for one and will not win games for another. Production is probably the biggest area that needs improvement for the Caps to be successful.