Washington Capitals: Breaking down what we’ll learn from the preseason

Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Tomorrow players will lace up skates, fans will be in the bleachers, and reporters will have their notepads out ready to ask the hard questions. Washington Capitals training camp will be underway and despite little to no changes over the offseason, there’s still plenty we have to learn over the next six exhibition games.

The one question everybody has is why were there hardly any changes after three straight first round exits? But that’s a question we will be scratching our heads on even after the preseason is over.

What the preseason is about is finalizing those roster spots and figuring out the lines and defensive pairings for opening night on October 13 against the New York Rangers. The two most notable departures of the offseason (and only) were Brenden Dillon and Zdeno Chara. That’s two holes on the left side of the defense.

The likely candidates to fill those two holes are Michal Kempny and Martin Fehervary. Kempny is coming off an Achilles injury that sidelined him all of last season. Fehervary is 21 years old and has just six games of NHL experience under his belt but is ready to take on a full time NHL role.

A hot debate that will extend past the preseason is who deserves that number one spot in goal, Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov? But the question that will get answered this preseason is who will get the nod for opening night. I can imagine each goaltender getting significant playing time in the preseason for the answer to that latter question.

We will also learn about where top prospect Connor McMichael is at in his development. He was a hot topic and a player to watch over the weekend at Rookie Camp and expect more eyes to be on him at Training Camp playing with the big boys. He is vying for an NHL roster spot and if he impresses the coaches enough, general manager Brian MacLellan may have a tough decision to make.

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All in all, it is good to have hockey back in Washington or in the case of the first few days, Arlington.