With the Capitals roster now pretty much set, this 2015-16 Capitals club has the potential to do some great things. There are very high expectations for the current crop of Capitals players.
On paper, the 2015-16 Washington Capitals might be one of the deepest clubs in franchise history. This group is deep at all positions on the ice and they do not have many areas of weakness.
So how will the Capitals season unfold? Which Capitals players could be up for individual awards at the end of the regular season? Will the Capitals win the Metropolitan Division? Will Alex Ovechkin score 50+ goals again? These are just some of the questions surrounding the Capitals franchise heading into the season.
With all of these questions surrounding the Capitals, let’s have some fun and answer these questions with some bold predictions and answers.
BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE CAPITALS – 2015-16 SEASON
- Alex Ovechkin will score 55 goals and 90 points; Will win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the 6th time
There is no doubt Alex Ovechkin had one of his best seasons as an NHL pro in 2014-15. The Great 8 will have a new winger skating across from him with T.J. Oshie. Oshie should provide the Capitals top line with a boost in scoring. With Oshie on the opposite flank, the Capitals should have one of the most productive top lines in the NHL.
Braden had a career season for the Capitals in 2014-15 and he should only improve upon that. Last season, Holtby played in 73 games for the Capitals and recorded 41 wins, 2.22 goals against average, and .923 save percentage. His numbers should slightly improve in 2015-16 – I project him to have 43 wins, 2.14 goals against average, and .930 save percentage.
- John Carlson Will be a Norris Trophy Finalist
The Capitals most complete defenseman should be up for Norris consideration at the end of 2015-16 season. In 2014-15, Carlson set career highs with 12 goals and 55 points. I project him to put up around the same offensive output, but his powerplay point totals should increase a bit with Mike Green’s departure. I am picking Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban to win the Norris Trophy, but John Carlson should make the final cut to be up for the award.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov will score 25 goals and will hit 50 point plateau
The Capitals second line center should continue to improve his game and was one of the Capitals best forwards in the preseason. Kuznetsov really found his way in the second half of 2014-15 and scored some big goals for the Capitals in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has gotten better in a short period of time and should be depended on a lot more by Barry Trotz this season.
- The Capitals will not win the Metropolitan Division; Will Advance to the Eastern Conference Finals
I project the Capitals to just fall short of winning the Metropolitan Division. The NY Rangers should win the Metropolitan Division again, but the point margin between the Rangers and Capitals will be very small and no more than five points. Barring any major injuries, the Capitals have a club that is built and structured well for playoff hockey. I do not think there are many teams that would want to draw the Capitals in a playoff matchup. The Capitals have a good mix of everything throughout their lineup. They have some young players such as Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, and Tom Wilson who bring a lot of speed, skill, energy to the lineup. The Capitals have a fantastic leadership group with veterans Jason Chimera, Justin Williams, and Brooks Orpik who have been through all of the battles of playoff hockey. Let’s not forget the stars of the Capitals with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby. This group has a good mix of everything and the Capitals have all of the right ingredients for a successful club.
I hope you enjoyed some of my predictions for the 2015-16 Washington Capitals season. Now, let’s see what this club can do on the ice!
By George Foussekis