The Washington Capitals have decided to make a move this offseason. They decided to fire Todd Reidren as the head coach of the club. He was the head coach for only two years. Barry Trotz was the head coach of this team for four seasons before that. Trotz is the reason why they won the Stanley Cup back in 2018 in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights.
It was their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history and they should have kept Barry Trotz around. Instead, he is having success with the New York Islanders. After Washington lost to New York in the first-round 4-1, there was a ton of respect in the handshake line with Trotz, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Braden Holtby, and other players.
The Capitals are getting older and they are in win-now mode. Alex Ovechkin is not getting any younger. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Jakub Vrana, Ilya Kovalchuk, T.J. Oshie, and Nicklas Backstrom are some of the key forwards on this team. John Carlson is by far the best defenseman on the Washington Capitals. The blue line would be lost without him.
Carlson played in 69 games this past season. He scored 15 goals and recorded 60 assists. His plus/minus was 12. John Carlson was the best defenseman in the NHL this past season. It appears as if he will win the Norris Trophy this season. If anyone else wins that award, it is going to feel like highway robbery.
For the 10th time in his illustrious career, Alex Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy. He scored 48 goals, in 68 games played. Ovechkin also recorded 19 assists. His plus/minus was -12. David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins also scored 48 goals during the regular season.
In Alex Ovechkin's career, he has scored 706 goals. Ovechkin is currently in eighth place. He is just two goals behind Mike Gartner for seventh place on the all-time list at 708. Wayne Gretzky scored 894 goals in his illustrious career and we will see if Alex Ovechkin plays long enough to reach that goal and historic milestone.
Nicklas Backstrom scored 12 goals and recorded 42 assists, in 61 games. His plus/minus was -1. T.J. Oshie was second on the team in goals scored with 26. He also recorded 23 assists. His plus/minus was 4, in 69 games.
The Washington Capitals need to fix the bottom six, the defensive pairings, and also figure out the goaltending situation this offseason. Braden Holtby is expected to be a free agent. He is 30 years old. His record was 25-14-6 with a .897 save percentage and a 3.11 GAA, along with zero shutouts. Holtby played in 48 games and started in 47 games.
Ilya Samsanov is projected to be the starting goalie next season if Holtby bolts. Samsanov is also the goalie of the future. He was the 22nd overall pick (second-round selection) in the 2015 NHL Draft. Ilya Samsanov played in 26 games this past season and started in 22 of them. His record was 16-6-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.55 GAA, along with one shutout.
It will be interesting to see who would become the backup goalie to Samsanov is if Braden Holtby leaves. He will get offers from the New York Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, and other teams.
The Washington Capitals also need to figure out who will be the next head coach. The four names that come to mind is Bruce Boudreau, Mike Babcock, Peter Laviolette, and Gerard Gallant. This will be a major decision that they have to figure out.