The Washington Capitals will have plenty of new faces in their lineup in 2017-18. The Capitals will have a mix of established players that are looking to develop their games and they will also have some new players making their NHL debuts.
The Capitals have groomed many players at the AHL level and some are ready to take the next step into the NHL. With some new faces, what should the Capitals expect from these players? What are the goal and points projections for the Capitals young talent?
Let’s look at what Capitals fans should expect from some of the new and already established players.
Projection: 20 goals, 45 points
Analysis: Andre Burakovsky re-signed on a 2-year extension this summer and will be placed in a new role on the 2nd line with Evgeny Kuznetsov. With the departures of Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams, Burakovsky will need to show that he can put up more goals consistently. Burakovsky scored 12 goals and 35 points in 2016-17, so scoring 20 goals and 45 points should not be a stretch for the Capitals 22-year old winger.
Projection: 12 goals, 25 points
Analysis: Wilson has not quite developed his offensive game, but he will be up for a new contract next offseason. Wilson tallied 7 goals and 19 points in 2016-17 and will likely see a bump in icetime next season. If Wilson can earn icetime on the Capitals 2nd line, his point production could increase.
Projection: 15 goals, 35 points
Analysis: Capitals fans saw Vrana briefly last season. Vrana is the top candidate out of training camp to fill one of the Capitals forward holes. Vrana could be positioned on the Capitals second line coming out of training camp if he can earn the coaching staff’s trust. Vrana has shown some inconsistency with his game, but the 21-year old has also shown a skill set that the Capitals are looking for.
Projection: 5 goals, 25 points
Analysis: Djoos is one of the Capitals young defenseman from Hershey that could crack the opening night lineup this fall. Djoos is a small defenseman, but he has shown plenty of offensive flair at the AHL level. He tallied 13 goals and 58 points in 66 games with Hershey last season. The Capitals are looking for a defenseman that can skate next to John Carlson and Djoos will push for a starting spot. If Djoos can carry over his offensive flash from the AHL level, there is no reason he should not be able to get close to 30 points at the NHL level.
Projection: 2 goals, 15 points
Analysis: Bowey does not have the offensive flash that Djoos has, but he has a quiet confidence that shows on the ice. If Bowey cracks the Capitals opening night roster, he will likely see time with Brooks Orpik on the Capitals third defensive pairing.
Projection: 1 goal, 10 points
Analysis: Like Bowey, Lewington does not have the offensive flash. However, Lewington is a tough defenseman that has shown excellent penalty killing ability at the AHL level. Lewington racked up 142 penalty minutes in Hershey last season and he is not afraid to throw his body around for his teammates.
By: George Foussekis