32 Teams In 32 Days: Washington Capitals
So you landed the top free agent goalie....
In today’s 32 Teams outlook we examine the Washington Capitals and their signing of top free agent goalie Darcy Kuemper. How much of an impact does that make? And what risk does it carry?
Let’s talk about the Washington Capitals, one of the more confusing teams in the league the past few years.
They finally reached the NHL’s peak in 2018 by winning their first Stanley Cup. While they have remained a steady contender in the four years since, their playoff success has completely dried up. Since beating the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Final, they have failed to win a playoff series, losing in the First Round four years in a row despite consistently being one of the top teams in the league. In three of those First Round exit seasons they finished with a top-five record in the NHL.
They have still had superstar players (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson) and have been active in adding complementary pieces around them. The team is good. Very good. And even though there was a small step back this past season, they still made the playoffs by a comfortable margin despite being decimated by injuries all year to key players.
Still, the playoffs ended with another First Round defeat.
I am not going to say that goaltending has been the ONLY problem over the past four years, but it has definitely been A problem. A significant problem.
Fixing that has been one of the main focal points of the offseason. They parted ways with Ilya Samsonov, at one time their goalie of the future, and traded Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils.
Replacing them will be the duo of Darcy Kuemper, the top free agent goalie on the market, and Charlie Lindgren.
How much of an impact will that make?