By Tyler Ruby on June 30, 2014
The Washington Capitals always seem to disappoint year in and year out, and last season was no different. They haven't been able to find the right coach and front office combination to bring a Stanley Cup to D.C. They have a solid combination of veteran stalwarts and young, promising talent. Here are the five players the Washington Capitals need to continue to build around heading into next season.
Tom Wilson brings a certain excitement to the game every time he steps on the ice. Does he toe the line a bit? Sure he does, but he brings speed and tenacity to a team that is often viewed as soft. Wilson may not be the most offensively skilled player on Washington, but he is a player a lot of teams would like to have.
After three down seasons in Washington, Nicklas Backstrom returned to form last season for the Capitals. When at his best, he is a point-scoring machine. In the 2013-14 season, Backstrom had 18 goals and 61 assists, the majority of those assists going to Alexander Ovechkin. Regardless, he is an extremely effective center iceman when he is healthy and at his best.
Marcus Johansson, 23, may soon supplant Nicklas Backstrom as the top center on Washington's roster. He finished the year with 44 points as he scored eight goals and added 36 assists. He is also potentially a better two-way defender than Backstrom at this point in his career, and that more than anything is what the Capitals need.
Mike Green has been the best defenseman for the Capitals for the past five years, but John Carlson has now surpassed him in that role. He represented the U.S. team at Sochi in the Winter Olympics, and he logs the most minutes for the Capitals on the back end. He finished the year with 10 goals and 27 assists.
Love him or hate him, Alexander Ovechkin is still one the best players in the world and he is an elite goal-scorer. Last season he scored 51 goals with the majority of them being on the power play. Regardless of his defensive inefficiencies, he is the franchise player for the Capitals, and it is up to the front office to build a winning hockey team around him.
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