Nine games into the season, there’s been some good and some bad from the Washington Capitals. There’s certainly been more bad than we’re accustomed to from a team that has been a juggernaut over the last two seasons. Is nine games enough to be be truly concerned about the issues we’ve seen? Well, yes and no.
If you look back at our first snapshot from last season, done after the 11th game of the season, you can see that two of the main takeaways held up over the course of the season:
- Brooks Orpik and Nate Schmidt look like a really good third pairing
- What is going on with Karl Alzner?
But there’s also reason to use caution instead of making sweeping generalizations about the Caps struggles early in the season:
- Matt Niskanen is out
- Numerous young players are adjusting to life in the NHL. If a player like Madison Bowey or Christian Djoos spend significant time in DC this season, they may become more comfortable and entrusted as the season goes on.
- There are 73 games left (which yes, could end up feeling like a curse, not a blessing, if the Caps continue to take this many penalties, more injuries happen, and so on).
This Caps team almost certainly won’t end up being as good as they were during the last two regular seasons, but this doesn’t mean the Caps are destined to be bad. There’s a middle ground between running away with the President’s Trophy and needing to trade away your stars and rebuild. This season might be more frustrating than the last two, but it’s too early to write off a team that’s 4-4-1 through nine games.
Welcome back to the snapshot, friends. LET US DO THE NUMBERS.