The Capitals Fan Club held its monthly meeting prior to the Capitals’ game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon and heard from Mike Vogel, writer for the Washington Capitals website.
Vogel noted that, after a slow start to the season, the Capitals are at a 119-point pace with their record over the past 29 games (20-7-2), which is the same point pace they have had over the past couple of years — a surprise given the talent the Capitals lost over the season.
He pointed out an interesting statistic from Ben Raby: four rookies (defensemen Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey, winger Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson) are on pace to play 60+ games for the first time since 1981-1982.
Research for story, found that #Caps Jakub Vrana (40GP), Christian Djoos (33GP), Madison Bowey (32GP) & Chandler Stephenson (29GP) could become first quartet of @Capitals rookies to each to play 50+ games in same season since 1981-82 (G.Duchesne, C.Valentine, B.Gould, G.Theberge)
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) January 4, 2018
Vogel pointed out that Tom Wilson has more 5-on-5 points than T.J. Oshie and that Evgeny Kuznetsov has more shots than Oshie.
On the potential for a move at the trade deadline, Vogel speculated that the Capitals could shop for defensive depth given the two rookies playing regularly. Vogel thinks Brooks Orpik’s ice time in the run up to the playoffs has to be managed. Cap space will be a big factor in any potential trades Washington could make. He also said that he would not trade Grubauer given how Pittsburgh’s and Florida goalie situation has gone. Vogel said that a defenseman will cost something. He said the Caps will likely have to move a player out to bring a quality blueliner in. Another factor about a trade will be how much growth will we see out of rookies. If their ice time increases and the staff trusts them enough, then they won’t have to make a trade before February 26 (trade deadline).
He talked about that the 500 assist milestone for Ovechkin coming up. He sat at 494 entering Sunday’s game. Ovechkin would become the first winger since before the 2000 draft class to have 500 assists (Nick Backstrom got his 500th assist a year ago today vs. Ottawa).
Asked about a typical day on the road, Vogel said he gets up about 8:00 or 8:30, takes the bus (or walks) to the arena for the morning skate, chats with reporters for the opposing team to gain some insights, watches the morning skates for both teams, talks to players in the locker room, and then returns to the hotel for lunch and, if time allows, a nap. He writes up his pregame “Skate Shavings” column, and then it’s off to the arena for the game, where he writes a story for the Caps website with an emphasis on accuracy over speed and then heads to the airport for the flight home or to the next destination, a trip that usually ends after midnight.
On the Olympics, Vogs said that while there was a lot of disappointment that the league was not going to South Korea for the Olympics this month that participation in future Olympics could be considered later.
He said that the Capitals re-signing Carlson is a ’50-50′ chance. The cap could go up. He thinks that they need to shop immediately for a defenseman if they lose Carlson, who could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
He said that the Capitals will have to see at the end of the season about Barry Trotz’s contract. He is at 5th place on the all-time coaching wins list. How do things go in the playoffs and the rest of the year will be a big factor in that. He noted that, unlike former GM George McPhee, Brian MacLellan prefers to hold off on contracts until the end of the year.
Vogel is not sure when Samsonov will come. His KHL contract expires in May.
The Capitals Fan Club is open to all fans to join. More information is available on their website.
By Harrison Brown