If the Washington Capitals choose to start over from scratch, here’s what the offseason could look like.
The Washington Capitals are going to be seeing some huge changes after another season without the Stanley Cup. They have seven free agents and could lose all of them. The opening night roster for the 2017-18 season could look extremely different from the team that took the ice in Game 5.
But just how different will it be? That’s the $64,000 question. Will the Caps see huge changes? Just some tinkering? What if they decide to blow up the core? The latter might be more logical and realistic than you think.
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Let’s go back to the 2003-04 season. It was one of the worst seasons in Caps history. This season began what was a remarkably short process of rebuilding a team that didn’t have talent. Imagine what kind of return the Capitals could get for their stars and jump start a rebuild.
First off, if the Caps are going to rebuild at all, they should just go full throttle. Scrap this current core and build up the next one. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin deserve much better than having to deal with a rebuilding process at this stage of their respective careers. And if you’re going to trade those guys, why not trade Braden Holtby and get one heck of a haul? A full rebuild would be painful, but the upside could be humongous.
Of course, there’s a lot of risk too. What if the new core is worse than the old core? However, if Washington’s going to blow up their core, right now is probably the best time to do it. This offseason might be the last time Ovechkin and Backstrom have significant value as trade chips. What might this offseason look like if the previous rebuild repeats itself?