The Washington Capitals have a lot of young talent but may still be a year or two away from making the playoffs. Superstar forward Alexander Ovechkin is exciting to watch every night and Alexander Semin is a good 2nd option but other than those two and sometimes Chris Clark, the Washington Capitals can’t score enough every night to win. The defense is young but has some promise with Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina, Mike Green and Steve Eminger. The goalie is Olaf Kolzig and his best days are behind him.
In the off-season the Washington Capitals signed veterans Viktor Kozlov and Michael Nylander. They also got defenseman Tom Poti to take over on the power play. Kozlov had 25 goals and 51 points with the Islanders while Poti scored 32 of his 44 points on the power play. Both Nylander and Poti should help the Washington Capitals this season. How much they get out of Kozlov is another story.
The key to the Washington Capitals in 2007-2008 will be finding more scoring options other than Ovechkin and Semin. Nylander should help the top line but Kozlov is a question. Poti will help the defense but more is needed. The Washington Capitals signed Nicklas Backstrom, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 Entry Draft, and they are hoping he provides immediate help. He 12 goals and had 28 assists in 45 games with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League last year. Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said that Backstrom could be the next star. Other hockey experts compare Backstrom favorably to Swedish star Peter Forsberg and that is high praise indeed. Other prospects that could make an impact for the Washington Capitals this season are David Steckel, Eric Fehr and Tomas Fleischmann.
The Washington Capitals will be trying to sign Ovechkin soon because he becomes a restricted free agent after this season. Kolzig is set to become an unrestricted free agent but he may end up retiring after this season. The 2007-2008 Washington Capitals will continue to excite fans as they build for the future. With Ovechkin, Semin and now Backstrom, the Caps have the building blocks for the future. They now need to solidify the defense and find a solid replacement for Kolzig. Those things may not happen this season but the Washington Capitals are definitely moving in the right direction.