Buy or sell: The Washington Capitals
Nothing about this team makes sense so far.
The Washington Capitals were one of the teams I was having a hard time putting my finger on coming into the 2023-24 NHL season.
Obviously as long as Alex Ovechkin is on the roster this is a team that is going to try and compete.
But they missed the playoffs a year ago (and by a pretty decent margin), have one of the oldest rosters in the league, had some major questions at center, and did not have an overly deep lineup.
Part of their struggles a year ago could be chalked up to injury issues.
Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom, Anthony Mantha and even Ovechkin to a degree (eight games) missed significant time due to injury. That is a lot of salary cap space and production out of the lineup, and that is going to be a lot for any team to overcome.
But injuries are something older teams have to deal with, and none of that gets into issues regarding how good and productive players like Mantha, Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov can still be.
Add in what was a fairly quiet offseason in terms of changes to the roster, and it would be easy to conclude that this could be another tough season for the Capitals. Even with a new head coach coming in to change things up a little.
And after the first five games of the season it seemed like the Capitals could be on their way to an absolutely miserable season. But things have rapidly changed for the Capitals over the past month, and they now find themselves in a stretch where they are 9-2-1 over their past 12 games.
Is this team better than we thought?
Or this is just an early season surge that is not destined to last?