Washington Capitals: How 2021 season can be better than 2020

Peter Laviolette, Washington Capitals (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Peter Laviolette, Washington Capitals (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

How the 2021 Washington Capitals season can be better than 2020.

The Washington Capitals 2020 season was a forgettable one. The team got off to a hot start in the beginning and was tops in the league at one point. Once the Christmas break was over, the team struggled and played .500 hockey.

The season being paused was supposed to help this team heal up and fix those problems. When they headed to the bubble in Toronto, those problems followed them and it resulted in another early playoff exit and some changes that were made to make next season better.

How can this 2021 season can be better? It starts at the top.

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General Manager Brian MacLellan took a major step forward last week with the hiring of Peter Laviolette. Laviolette brings a winning pedigree to the team. He’s taken three teams to the Stanley Cup Finals and is determined to help the Caps win their second Stanley Cup. In his 18 year NHL coaching career, Laviolette has amassed a record of 637-425-25.

Laviolette will improve the defense and he never worked with an offensive lineup as deep as Washington. His offensive schemes are questionable but hopefully Alex Ovechkin will help him out and continue to score.

One thing the Caps need to fix to go along with Laviolette’s gameplan is their defense. Theere could be a trade coming soon, a salary dump to free up cap space so they could re-sign Brenden Dillon or make another move to upgrade their defense.

As for the offense, what happens if age catches up to Ovi and he doesn’t score naturally the way he used to?

Simple, everyone else has to step up. Evgeny Kuznetsov needs to return to the form he had in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs where he was an impact player and almost won the Conn Smythe Trophy. The bottom six needs to improve as well.

There might be a move to fix the third line since it didn’t quite produce the way the team expected it to. The bottom six struggled other than the fourth line where mainstays Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway carried the load.

Overall, what will make this upcoming season better than next season will come down to the playoffs. Washington does not want another first round exit and they’ll be working to make sure they corrected their mistakes the last two years.

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I think the team will be much better with Laviolette in charge. He will hold the players accountable and bring discipline and structure to the team.