Because of the salary cap, the Washington Capitals will need to have some very cheap contracts on their roster. Enter the prospects. The most prevalent one will be Jakub Vrana. He impressed in a small sample size last season. Since Burakovsky has graduated to the top forward line, the third line needs a unique talent to replace him. Vrana fits the bill perfectly. Being on the third line allows him to be sheltered offensively. Once Vrana proves himself, the third line can take on more responsibilities.
The next prospect is Riley Barber. He’ll be making a move from right wing to left wing, but he has experience there. Barber would be a nice fit for the fourth line. He’s defensively responsible and is an impressive skater. Barber also has enough offensive skill to chip in a few points. If Connolly struggles, Riley could be bumped up to the third line.
Finally, Caps fans will see the debut of Madison Bowey. While he’s going to have to be sheltered, he’ll be paired with Hainsey, who should be able to help him grow into his role. With a strong top four, the third line likely won’t be relied on too much. This could be good for Bowey, as it allows him to steadily take on more responsibilities as he makes the transition to the NHL. I was tempted to sign Cody Franson, but he likely wouldn’t play enough to justify what he’d probably get.