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Over the last decade, the Washington Capitals have had plenty of on-ice success. With a Stanley Cup Championship in 2018 and many playoff appearances, the Capitals are the club that every other club wants to aspire to be. The Capitals have a winning culture, and they have constructed a team blueprint that is built for the long haul.
What is the organizational blueprint the Capitals have built? How can Alex Ovechkin and company continue their reign as one of the most consistent playoff-caliber NHL clubs? Why do the Capitals continue to make the playoffs every year with their current blueprint?
A GREAT MIX OF PLAYERS
The Capitals have an established leadership group that has been through all the playoff battles. From Alex Ovechkin to Nicklas Backstrom to John Carlson to Braden Holtby, they have seen everything that the NHL can throw at them.
In addition to the Capitals core leaders, the Capitals have surrounded them by a quality group of younger players. Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, and Jonas Siegenthaler are all entering their primes now, and these players are each 25-years of age or younger. These players mentioned were drafted and developed inside the Capitals system.
The Capitals have assembled quality depth players throughout their lineup. Lars Eller, Carl Hagelin, and Michal Kempny are just some of the players that have been brought in to the organization from other places that have made an impact with the club.
A GOOD TEAM CONSTRUCTION
The Capitals have done a fantastic job surrounding their star players with quality role players. The Capitals are deep at every key position on the ice, and that leads to a winning recipe on the ice.
Any club that has Stanley Cup playoff aspirations must be deep down the middle of the ice, on defense, and in goal. It is safe to say that the Capitals have these positions covered and covered nicely.
With Backstrom, Kuznetsov, and Eller as the top three centres, the Capitals can match up well with any team in the league. On defense, John Carlson is one of the league’s elite point producers. This group does not have a lot of stars, but they are good players that bring various elements to the table. The defensive group is very cohesive and they can all move the puck very well up the ice and out of the defensive zone.
Finally, the Capitals have plenty of depth in goal. Braden Holtby is the cornerstone for the Capitals in net, and he has a fully capable backup with Pheonix Copley. In addition to Holtby and Copley, Ilya Samonov and Vitek Vanecek are waiting in the wings and could push for roster spots in upcoming seasons.
DEPTH IN ALL AREAS
The Capitals have combined their high-end skilled talent with quality depth. The Capitals are built for the long regular season and built for a long playoff grind. The blueprint the Capitals have in place is built to win a lot of games in the NHL. The Capitals have become a model franchise for the rest of the league, and this should remain the same for years to come.
By: George Foussekis