|Left Wing --|
Locks: Dainius Zubrus, Kip Miller, Mike Grier
Bubble: Stephen Peat, Graham Mink, Boyd Gordon
Farmhand: Jason Ulmer, Darcy Verot, Garret Stroshein, Francois Methot, Eric Fehr
Skinny: Zubrus is shining in the pre-season and may anchor the second line with Lang and Grier. Gordon is making a strong push, but could lose out if both Sutherby and Whitfield make the cut. Verot is performing well above his normal level, though he still won't make the team.
Locks: Jeff Halpern, Michael Nylander, Robert Lang, Brian Sutherby
Bubble: Trent Whitfield
Skinny: The Caps starting centers are pretty well decided. They may keep five or six on the roster and skate Whitfield/Sutherby at wing, though. Halpern will get a chance to score some more with Konowalchuk and Bondra as linemates.
|Right Wing --|
Locks: Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Steve Konowalchuk
Bubble: Alexander Semin, Matt Pettinger, Alex Henry, Owen Fussey
Farmhand: Roman Tvrdon, Andrej Podkonicky, Mel Anglestad
Skinny: Despite his lack of size, Semin is getting a shot on the top line with Jagr and Nylander. The 19-year old Russian impresses with his offensive skills. He is looking more and more likely to get a look during the regular season.
Locks: Brendan Witt, Sergei Gonchar, Rick Berry, Jason Doig
Bubble: Steve Eminger, JF Fortin, Nolan Yonkman, Josef Boumedienne, Jakub Cutta,
Farmhand: John Gruden, Chris Hajt, Matt Libby, Dwayne Zinger
Skinny: Emminger and Boumedienne have made strong cases, and Gruden has stuck around longer than expected. Injuries to Yonkman and Fortin have opened some space for others.
Locks: Olaf Kolzig
Bubble: Sebastien Charpentier, Rastislav Stana, Maxime Ouellet
Farmhand: Robert Gherson, Maxime Daigneault
Skinny: The Caps haven't had a starting goaltender controversy in a decade and they won't start now. The battle for backup will be interesting with three promising young goalies duking it out. Ouellet will likely be the starter in Portland to get him seasoned as soon as possible. Charpentier was the backup last year his performance gives him the inside track this season.
The Caps don't have to worry about their goalies or right wings with considerable depth at both positions. They have a number of young players at all forward positions who combine size, skill and smarts. At least two will be on the squad this year.
The Caps lack goal-scoring except from the usual suspects (Jagr, Bondra, Gonchar, Lang) and need to find someone else to step up into the 25+ goal range. The blue line is incredibly thin and will depend entirely on young, untried players and cast-offs from other teams to hold down the fort.
The biggest opportunities are for those young players competing for blue line and left wing jobs. There are plenty of spots for a youngster having a great camp to make the jump to the NHL.
The established players face no threats. The only returning players who might lose their jobs are the backups/lesser known players. Jason Doig, Alex Henry, Kip Miller, Stephen Peat, and Dainius Zubrus are the only returning Caps who are really threatened with demotion to a lower line or to Portland.
|Camp Surprises -- Semin is performing above expectations. He's a project, but he reminds many of a young Peter Bondra...Why is Verot still in camp?...Zubrus looks good before Christmas for the first time ever...|
|Camp Concerns -- Fortin and Yonkman spend more time hurt than Albert Belle...The penalty killers are in regular season form already! 3 PP goals allowed against Detroit...Is Kip Miller really a top line forward? Is he really a 3rd/4th line forward?|
Piney Orchard Ice Arena
9/12 - Veterans
Caps Drop To Wings
Washington dropped their home pre-season opener to the Red Wings, 4-3. Solid play at even strength was overwhelmed by horrible penalty killing.
Caps vs. Pens, Again:
For the second time this preseason, the Caps and Pens face off on Saturday.
|9/18 - @ Pittsburgh (7:00)|
9/19 - @ Detroit (7:30)
9/20 - @ Philadelphia (7:00)
9/25 - vs Detroit (7:00)
9/27 - @ Pittsburgh (7:00)
10/1 - vs Philadelphia (7:00)
10/3 - vs Carolina (7:00)
10/4 - @ Carolina (7:00)
|Cut Counter (23 roster spots)|