It took the Washington Capitals just five games to end the cinderella story that was the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season. After playing into the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights were defeated at the hands of the Caps who won four straight games to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
As Louise St. Jacques – the engraver for the Stanley Cup – gets ready to fill the designated area with names from the Capitals roster and coaching staff, here’s a look at which players will have the honour of seeing their name engraved on hockey’s holy grail. But first, what exactly does it take to get there?
Meeting the Cup Requirements
To start, when a team wins the Cup, they are only allowed a maximum of 52 names within their designated area. While not every player who suited up for the Capitals this season will get their name on the Cup, there are some requirements that can automatically land a player a spot in the engraving process.
Players who’ve played at least 41 regular season games for the winning team or at least one game in the Stanley Cup Final automatically get their name on the Cup. Any others will need to go through a petitioning process put forth by the Capitals in order to get their names included.
There are 21 players that earned their way onto the Cup from this year’s Capitals squad. Of those 21, there are 20 players who will be having their names engraved on the Cup for the first time.
The list includes Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson, Dmitry Orlov, Matt Niskanen, Brett Connolly, Jakub Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson, Chandler Stephenson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey, Michal Kempny and Braden Holtby.
While Kempny only played 22 games for the Caps before their Cup run, he did slot in during the Final which qualifies him for the Cup engraving.
The only player of this group that will see his name on the Cup for the second time is Brooks Orpik. Orpik last won the Cup nine years ago as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Players With a Chance
While 21 players solidified their spots on the Cup, there were a number of players who suited up for the Capitals this season who missed out on reaching the requirements. However, the Capitals can petition the league to have select players included in the engraving process. With that said, here’s a look at a couple players who the Capitals might consider including.
|Games Played||Record||Goals Against Average||Save Percentage||Shutouts|
Grubauer may not have met the regular season or playoff requirements to officially get his name on the Cup, but back-ups are normally included without argument. On top of that, Grubauer played 35 games during the regular season – just six games shy of the regular season requirements. He started the opening round of the playoffs for the Capitals before Holtby took over on the run to the Cup.
|Regular Season (with WSH)||11||1||3||4||-1|
|Regular Season (total)||36||2||6||8||-2|
While he only played 11 games for the Capitals during the regular season – tallying four points over that span – Jerabek did play a total of 36 games in his rookie season spread out between the Caps and the Montreal Canadiens. He finished with a total of eight points, but still didn’t qualify for the Cup. That said, he played two games for the Capitals in the postseason notching one assist so maybe the team will consider petitioning for him seeing as he did play 36 total games during the regular season.
Likely Missing the Cut
|Regular Season (with WSH)||7||1||0||1||+1|
|Regular Season (total)||9||1||0||1||0|
Walker will be a long shot to crack the list of petitions that the Capitals make to the league. The Australian came over from the Edmonton Oilers during the season after playing just two games for them and suited up for the Caps in seven regular season games. He finished the year with one goal and an even rating – adding one assist in one postseason game for Washington.
Boyd is another player that likely won’t make the cut. He played just eight regular season games for the Capitals, tallying one assist and a plus-two rating over that span. The 24-year-old dressed for just one game in the playoffs where he played just over 12 minutes.
Finally, Gersich recorded one assist in three regular season games for the Capitals in 2017-18 to go along with his minus-one rating. He played two postseason games for Washington, but didn’t record a single point over that span. He, too, likely won’t make the cut when the Capitals decide to petition the league.
With the 19 members of the coaching staff, training staff and management – according to the team’s website – likely all included on the list of engravings, that’ll leave 12 spots for the team to fill. Assuming both Jerabek and Grubauer are also included, there will be 10 spots remaining for the Capitals to include other players or members of the management team.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.