Have the Washington Capitals improved in 2021?

Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In the case of the Washington Capitals, barring any trades, they are brining back 99% of their team from last year with a few notable exceptions.

Our contributor CJ makes a good point when he compared what the Caps are doing to what the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing. If you want to read more about what the opening night lineup could look like, check out David’s piece here.

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When I think about the way the Capitals constructed their roster so far this offseason, I’m impressed with a couple of things but scratch my head at others. General Manager Brian MacLellan did his part in protecting T.J. Oshie in the expansion draft. Speaking of expansion drafts, the Caps lost nothing except Vitek Vanecek for a week before trading for him right back.

The only real shakeup on the 2021-22 Caps roster comes on the defense with the departure of Brenden Dillon. It was a tough but necessary move to free up salary cap space to lock in Alex Ovechkin for the next five seasons. This retool on the defense opens up an opportunity for Martin Fehervary to get some playing time.

On the forward front, don’t expect any major changes. If MacLellan was shopping around Evgeny Kuznetsov, the reason he didn’t pull off any trades is there wasn’t any good returns on the open market. But that’s okay. It gives Kuznetsov another chance to prove himself on the ice and clean up his act off the ice.

The interesting thing the Caps did was their most recent move in extending Ilya Samsonov to a bridge deal of just one year. Does it show the team doesn’t have faith in Sammy to be a long term starter? I wouldn’t quite say that.

Samsonov’s contract is a prove it deal and reacquiring the services of Vanecek back from the Seattle Kraken gives the Caps a chance to run it back again with two young goaltenders. It worked out in some ways last season, in other ways it didn’t. Not sure what this means for Henrik Lundqvist, who’s determined to get back on the ice after missing last season due to open heart surgery.

More. Washington Capitals: A Look at Peter Laviolette’s Possible Line Combinations for 2021-2022. light

Overall, I don’t think the Caps got worse this offseason but at the same time, I don’t think they got better either. Only time will tell and we won’t know the true answer until the spring.