It has been a memorable offseason for the Washington Capitals, as the franchise is celebrating its first Stanley Cup in history. The Capitals went on a memorable through mid-June, and shocked the world as underdogs.
The 2017-18 regular season saw many ups and downs for the Capitals and its players. While many players played very well for the Capitals, some players did not have the seasons they were hoping for. Hockey provides its players plenty of ups, downs, and challenges, and it was clear that some of the Capitals were not at their best at various points last season.
With 2018-19 on the horizon, the Capitals will aim to defend their Stanley Cup and will hope that they can win their second straight Cup.
Which players will need to rebound in 2018-19? Let’s dive in to some players who will need to rebound in the upcoming season.
Burakovsky’s last two seasons have not been kind to him, as he has been sidelined with significant injuries which kept him out of the lineup for some time. Burakovsky, 23, recorded 12 goals and 25 points in 56 games a season ago. When fully healthy, the Capitals hope that Burakovsky can hit the 20-goal plateau and 40-point threshold. Burakovsky has one year left on his current deal, so he will most likely look to have a good season to get a long-term deal next summer.
Holtby turned in on in the 2018 postseason when it mattered the most, but struggled at times during the regular season. Holtby recorded a 2.99 goals against average and .907 save percentage in the 2017-18 regular season. It was a regular season that Holtby would probably like to forget about, and he will look to get back into the Vezina Trophy conversation like he has done before.
Like Burakovsky, Vrana will most likely want to improve his regular season numbers in a contract season. Vrana, 22, is in the final year of his entry-level deal with the Capitals. He recorded 13 goals and 22 points in 73 regular season games, and followed it up with 3 goals and 8 points in the postseason. The Capitals 1st round pick of 2014 will likely compete for a top-six forward spot, and will look to get close to the 20-goal plateau.
Kempny thought his NHL career was close to ending after being in and out of Chicago’s lineup last season. After the trade to the Capitals at the Trade Deadline, Kempny found comfort under Barry Trotz and Todd Reirden’s systems. He became a regular in the Capitals top-four defensive rotation, as he mainly skated alongside John Carlson. The Capitals rewarded Kempny’s late season play during the summer with a four-year deal that has a reasonable cap hit. With Kempny’s new deal, the Capitals will hope that he can remain consistent on the Capitals blueline for the foreseeable future.
By: George Foussekis