NHL Washington Capitals

7 Washington Capitals Players Who Need to be Magnificent in 2013-14

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Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals endured a rough start last season. They languished in 30th place out of 30 teams for a spell in January. They’ll want to come out of the blocks a little faster for the brand new 2013-14 NHL season and sustain the momentum — especially in the new “Retro Metro” Division. Okay, I’ll give its actual (terrible) name: The Metropolitan Division.

Vying for playoff spots in a division with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers is going to be a whole new puck game. Also, let’s not discount the Columbus Blue Jackets who may show up as upstarts in the new stanza.

Granted, the boys in red were working with their third head coach in as many years, but they struggled to the point where many people thought they might miss the playoffs. They turned it around thanks to some excellent play by their captain Alex Ovechkin and the now departed Mike Ribeiro.

It took Ovechkin a few weeks to get used to his switch from the left wing to the right wing. However, once he found his bearings, he dazzled and blazed his way to a third MVP award and took the “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer.

Jason Chimera is another Cap who had a slow start last term — surprising since he was coming off a career high 20-goal 2011-12 season. He picked up three goals over 47 games. I saw all of those games and poor Jason hit the post a lot and fell victim to some horrible bounces. He’ll want to get back to scoring during the upcoming campaign.

Let’s take a look at which players need to be the Capitals’ “Magnificent Seven” this year.

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7. Karl Alzner

Karl Alzner
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Karl Alzner makes the list because he needs to get into top gear this season and emerge from the shadow of the mighty Mike Green. Room for improvement for Alzner: His plus/minus rating, which was at minus six last season.

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6. Mikhail Grabovski

Mikhail Grabovski
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Grabovski is stepping into some big skates in the eyes of the D.C. fans who adored the departed Mike Ribeiro. The former Toronto Maple Leaf has an opportunity to have a career-capping season as second-line center.

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5. Troy Brouwer

Troy Brouwer
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Brouwer is a crowd favorite and a powerful forward. He tallied 19 goals in 47 games last term and needs to repeat that form this go around.

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4. Jason Chimera

Jason Chimera
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Chimera only clocked up three goals last season. He must look to the future and show his true colors as an excellent skater, exhaling a fighting spirit on and off the ice.

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3. Mike Green

Mike Green
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A healthy Mike Green is the best defenseman in the league. He’s proved that in seasons past and must prove it again in 2013-14.

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2. Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“Holts” hasn’t played as many games in the NHL as his more popular and well-known adversaries. But, he has it in him to be an all-time great goalie. This is the season he will start down that trail.

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1. Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody who knows anything about the NHL knows that Ovechkin is the Washington Capitals franchise. It’s hard to verbalize how much the guy means to the club. He’s coming off another MVP season — and if he repeats the trick, the Capitals can win the Stanley Cup.