The Caps drafted Stan Galiev in the third round of the 2010 draft. After failing to establish himself as even an AHL regular prior to last season, Galiev finally showed promise in 2014-15, posting 45 points in 67 games for the Hershey Bears and one goal in two games for the Caps. The skillset on display last season has given some high hopes for Galiev’s future in the NHL.
Editor’s note: With the preseason beginning this week, RMNB will spend some time framing the questions about the upcoming season that are on our mind.
In 2014, it took Brian MacLellan just one day to dramatically upgrade the Washington defense, which was his first priority upon taking the job of general manager. In the space of a single afternoon, Mac signed Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, immediately improving a troubled blue line.
In 2015, he did the same for the offense, except this time it took him two full days. In consecutive days at the beginning of July, the Capitals signed Justin Williams and TJ Oshie, two marquee threats from across the league.
I don’t like calling it the “new-look” Capitals offense, but if you want to, I’d totally understand.
On Monday, the Washington Capitals will play their first preseason game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. It will be televised on CSN Washington. No matter what the score, the Caps and Canes will experiment with the NHL’s new overtime format: five minutes of three-on-three hockey.
Over the weekend, Barry Trotz had his team go through three-on-three drills, giving the players an opportunity to get a feel for the open ice. He didn’t always use two forwards together with a defenseman.
On September 20, 2015, In News, Photos, By Ian Oland
Sunday afternoon, injured first-line center Nicklas Backstrom traveled to FedEx Field like Tom Wilson and Michael Latta did last week, to watch the Washington Redskins take on the St. Louis Rams. After a surprisingly drama-free week out of Ashburn, the Redskins won their first game of the season, 24-10, and are now 1-1.
On Saturday, Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner spoke to the media and predicted big things from a player likely slated for the team’s third defensive pairing.
“It’s just fun to see him handle the puck out there and do some of the things he does,” Alzner said to NHL.com’s Katie Brown. “He’s a very highly skilled player and he can be a game-breaker for us. It’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”
Let me be clear: I don’t care about the preseason of any sport, not even hockey. Takeaways from preseason are often worthless, for a wide variety of reasons. Intersquad scrimmages are even further down the ladder of things we should care about and read into. And, considering line combinations aren’t worth getting worked up about on a day-to-day basis during the season, no one should read much into lines from a scrimmage at training camp.
But let’s do it anyway.
While Andre Burakovsky was one of the team’s top possession wingers last year, he will begin the preseason at center – just like he did as a rookie. Last season, Burakovsky tallied 12 points in his first 15 games, most of which he spent up the middle.
“I’m going to start at center,” Burakovsky said to NHL.com’s Katie Brown after his on-ice session Saturday. “I’ve been practicing at center, I was at center today, and it felt good. I have some chemistry with [Marcus Johansson] and [Garrett Mitchell]. It felt good out there. It’s a lot more responsibility but it felt good.”
With Nicklas Backstrom slated to potentially miss the entire month of October recovering from hip surgery, Evgeny Kuznetsov is the most likely candidate to move up and center fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin. That will leave Burakovsky, Brooks Laich, Jay Beagle, Michael Latta, and Derek Roy all battling it out to center the team’s other three lines.