Washington Capitals: 5 training camp storylines

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 27: Washington Capitals Left Wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the Capitals practice for the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day on May 27, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 27: Washington Capitals Left Wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during the Capitals practice for the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day on May 27, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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LAS VEGAS NV – MAY 27: Washington goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during an early afternoon Capitals practice session the day before game one of the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas NV on May 27, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS NV – MAY 27: Washington goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during an early afternoon Capitals practice session the day before game one of the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas NV on May 27, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /

#5 What can we expect from the Capitals this season?

It’s not easy figuring out a team before they even take the ice, especially one with a roster subject to change being over the salary cap but there’s a reason the entire staff of Stars and Sticks picked the Caps to win the Metropolitan Division.

ARLINGTON, VA – MARCH 02: T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals signs the jersey of a young family member of the UHL (United Heroes League) after the Washington Capitals practice as part of the 2018 NHL Stadium Series Annapolis Legacy Project event at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on March 2, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA – MARCH 02: T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals signs the jersey of a young family member of the UHL (United Heroes League) after the Washington Capitals practice as part of the 2018 NHL Stadium Series Annapolis Legacy Project event at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on March 2, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

We all believed that the Capitals made improvements despite saying goodbye to a couple of popular players. They chose defense over offense in the offseason.

After coming up not only short of their lofty Stanley Cup aspirations but enduring their longest summer since the end of the 2013-14 season, many players trickled back to MedStar and it seemed like a packed house at the informal skates up to two weeks before training camp.

LAS VEGAS NV – MAY 27: Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during an early afternoon Capitals practice session the day before game one of the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas NV on May 27, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS NV – MAY 27: Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during an early afternoon Capitals practice session the day before game one of the Stanley Cup finals in Las Vegas NV on May 27, 2018. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /

The start of the season presents a brutal October with nine of their 14 games that month on the road in a tough stretch of games against both divisional foes and western conference powers plus the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I’m interested in seeing how the third line will perform this season with Richard Panik replacing Brett Connolly. Connolly was a success story in Washington and replacing his 22-goal production. Panik has a two-way game, however, and on a team like the Caps and on a line with Carl Hagelin and Lars Eller, he can tap into that potential.

The fourth line battle will be fun to watch as will how the Caps construct their defense. It’s still weird seeing Radko Gudas in a Capitals sweater but his new teammates have made him feel right at home.

Related Story. Capitals PK has a lot to work on. light

It all begins October 2 in St. Louis. If the Capitals begin October with at least a .500 or better record they’ll be in good shape. Nope the playoffs aren’t clinched then but a .500 record against the toughest opponents can give you the confidence necessary for the rest of the season.