We asked some of our favorite Capitals bloggers to weigh in on the upcoming season. To round out the series, here’s The Peerless Prognosticator’s take:
What will end up being the best offseason move?
The easy answer would be signing Tomas Vokoun, but I think what might help the Caps even more is signing Joel Ward and Jeff Halpern to bolster the third and fourth lines. The Caps got almost no production out of those lines when it mattered, and they rarely posed any offensive threats at all, reducing the Caps to a one-and-a-half line team. That could suffice against a Rangers team in the playoffs that had difficulty scoring, but it posed problems for the Caps against Tampa Bay.
Biggest concern entering the season:
Health. Mike Green played in all 82 games in the 2007-08 season but has missed 54 games over the past three years. Alexander Semin has missed 65 games over the past four seasons. Even Nicklas Backstrom, who played in all 82 games in his first three seasons, was nicked up late last season. It makes that depth the Caps acquired late last season in Dennis Wideman, and this past summer with Roman Hamrlik, Halpern and Ward, that much more important.
Who will have a bounce-back or breakout year?
Backstrom. In his first 26 games last season, Backstrom was on a pace to score 95 points. Then came the December losing streak, a change in philosophy, and injuries late. I don’t think he rebounds to his career year in 2009-10, but as the Caps find a happy medium between the “Showtime” offense of two years ago and the defense-oriented club of the second half last season, Backstrom should return to being a point-or-better-per-game player.
Ideal season-opening line combos:
The emphasis there is on “season-opening” line combos. I’d just like to see what an up-tempo line of Ovechkin, Johansson, and Brouwer could do.
What should be the 2011-12 theme song?
“Brand New Morning,” Bob Seger. Beats “Beautiful Loser”
Season preview in haiku form:
For years of sadness
All those tears shed every spring
Stanley worth it all