Can the Washington Capitals make a huge leap in 2021?

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

One week from now, the Washington Capitals will officially begin training camp. This Saturday marks Development Camp for the rookies and prospects. Hockey season is almost here and the dog days of the NHL offseason are nearly behind us.

So now that we kind of get the gist of what the Capitals roster will look like, what can we make of this upcoming season’s team?

I won’t be a homer and say the Capitals will win the Stanley Cup. As much as I want it to happen as the next fan, it is going to be tough. Other teams got better this offseason including a few in the Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals kept 99 percent of their lineup from last season with the one percent being the departure of defenseman Brenden Dillon. Is going with mostly the same guys and trying again going to work or are we talking about a fourth straight first round exit? Can they even make the playoffs at all?

The answer to that second comment is a confident yes. The answer to the first question is very tricky to answer. At the same time, I won’t be negative about the Capitals. I’ve read your comments on articles and seen the tweets all over Caps twitter. I know fans are still pissed about that latest first round debacle and some are even calling for a rebuild. There’s already enough pessimism that comes from three straight first round exits as it is.

Some thought there would be shakeups to come in the summer. Instead it was a quiet offseason with the only noise coming out of Washington being the Alex Ovechkin contract extension and the reacquisition of Vitek Vanecek from the Seattle Kraken just one week after losing the young netminder in the Expansion Draft.

Oh yeah and there was that big rumor involving center Evgeny Kuznetsov. All eyes will be on him after the Caps tried to shop him but failed to find any suitors. But trading Kuznetsov would only cause one good thing to happen: salary cap relief. Other than that, it is a big risk. Don’t forget that when Kuzy is on his game he is one of the elite centers in the NHL.

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Even though there’s still 29 days until games that count happen, this is an important training camp and preseason coming up for the Caps. Calendar wise, things are back to normal so it’ll be interesting to see how these veterans fare with a full training camp and preseason after lacking it last season. No matter what, I’m entering the season as cautiously optimistic and you should too. As Nicklas Backstrom would say, “Positive vibes only.”