How Will the Washington Capitals Forwards Perform in 2014-2015?
Training camp is less than two weeks away for the Washington Capitals! On September 19, rookies and veterans will take the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and the assembly of the 2014-2015 roster will begin.
With some fresh new faces and new direction behind the Capitals bench, how will the Washington Capitals perform this upcoming season? Will the Capitals forwards be able to gel and will they be able to put up some goals?
I assembled a list of all the Capitals forwards who will play this upcoming season. I am going to predict the totals of the following categories for each player: goals, assists, points, penalty minutes. I do not use the plus/minus statistic for projections because I believe it can be a flawed statistic and may not reflect the player’s actual performance. Players who played less than 15 games for the Capitals last season will not be included in this projection list.
There will be a Part 2 coming at a future date that will project the defensemen and goaltender statistics. And now, let’s predict how the Capitals forwards will perform this season:
Alex Ovechkin: 60 G, 30 A, 90 P, 50 PIM
Nicklas Backstrom: 19 G, 72 A, 91 P, 46 PIM
Marcus Johansson: 14 G, 40 A, 54 P, 6 PIM
Evgeny Kuznetsov: 16 G, 30 A, 46 P, 20 PIM
Brooks Laich: 14 G, 20 A, 34 P, 26 PIM
Jason Chimera: 20 G, 25 A, 45 P, 40 PIM
Troy Brouwer: 22 G, 17 A, 39 P, 72 PIM
Joel Ward: 22 G, 23 A, 45 P, 30 PIM
Eric Fehr: 18 G, 21 A, 39 P, 28 PIM
Tom Wilson: 14 G, 15 A, 29 P, 100 PIM
Jay Beagle: 7 G, 5 A, 12 P, 26 PIM
Aaron Volpatti: 1 G, 1 A, 2 P, 50 PIM
Michael Latta: 3 G, 2 A, 5 P, 20 PIM
Projected Total Goals (Forwards): 230
-Evgeny Kuznetsov should be in the running for the NHL’s Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. I am not sure if he will post enough points to actually be league best among rookies, but he should be in contention by season’s end.
-Alex Ovechkin should have a revival in his game. He should become a lot better in the defensive zone under Barry Trotz’s direction, which should automatically lead to more goals. I believe that he could cross the 60-goal mark if he keeps focus the whole season.
-Tom Wilson should see more time in the top six mixture for the Capitals. I expect him to continue to develop his offensive punch to his game. I do not expect Barry Trotz to limit his role by keeping him trapped on the Capitals fourth line.
-Nicklas Backstrom is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Like Ovechkin, I expect Backstrom to have a bump in goals and points. It would be nice to see Backstrom cross the 20-goal plateau again, but I believe he comes up just short this season.
-Marcus Johansson is in a contract year and he should want to show the Capitals brass that he is worth a long-term, high dollar contract. Marcus will still have to try and find a permanent home in the Capitals top six somewhere. He is one of the biggest enigmas for the Capitals right now. Will he continue to play with Ovechkin and Backstrom on the top line, or will Trotz slide him down to play the second line center spot?
-Brooks Laich will get back into action and should be productive for a short time. But I do think he will miss some time this year with various ailments. I feel he is one big injury away from possible retirement. The Capitals desperately need secondary scoring from Laich, but his health status should remain a concern for the organization.
-I hope Barry Trotz keeps the line of Jason Chimera/Eric Fehr/Joel Ward together. This line was one of the few bright spots for the Capitals in 2013-2014. They showed tremendous chemistry together and they were able to get some good offensive zone time for the Capitals. This line provides a great combination of speed, skill, and grit to the Capitals lineup.
-Troy Brouwer is a guy who has been pretty consistent for the Capitals with his consistent 15-25 goal seasons. Because of his consistency, his name has also been brought up in the trade winds. What could Brouwer fetch on the trade market? Could Brouwer fetch the Capitals a centre that they really need? His bruising style of play is something that is attractive to a lot of other teams. I would keep a close watch on him as the season progresses.
-What will the Capitals fourth line look like this year? Jay Beagle will be a fixture on the fourth line, but who will surround him? Since Tom Wilson’s role should be expanding with the Capitals, who will become the new crash and bangers on the Capitals fourth line? Will Michael Latta get the chance to make the team? How will Barry Trotz want his fourth line to play? If it is anything like in Nashville, he usually had three guys who could crash and bang, and they could usually get some offensive zone time too. Paul Bissonnette is rumored target still on the market for the Capitals. Will they make a late signing before the season begins?
Thanks for tuning in!
I am from Virginia. I am covering the Washington Capitals for The Hockey Writers. I love to write and I am a huge sports fanatic – especially hockey. Follow me on Twitter: @Canucksfin56