This series will cover all thirty teams and go over the most important player, and player who’s performance most needs to improve to help the team succeed.
One of the more interesting teams to watch since their ignoble fall from the post season to date has been none other than The Great Eight’s supporting cast. Well, they do support him during the regular season. One hopes that at some point they will remember they are supposed to be productive in the off season as well. While letting go of Scott Hannan was one of the more curious moves for a team not overly experienced in playing viable defense, overall you can’t help but call the off season successful. Given that they are still over the salary cap it is likely there will be one or two moves will be made before the curtain goes up in October.
It is an absolute no brainer to put Alex Ovechkin in this spot. However, after last season he could just as easily be put into the wild card role. With a bad-by-his-standards 32 goals last season, one could wonder if he’s lost his edge, been figured out by goaltenders and defense, or simply was too injured to compete at his normal level. Whichever of those or other reason it might have been, it just doesn’t matter. Anything less than a forty goal regular season that leads to at least the conference finals will be seen as a failure.
There are at least half a dozen players who could be put into this slot, certainly Semin, Backstrom, and the recently acquired Vokoun head the list of other important variables and none can be underrated in their post season level of success being a contributing factor in either direction they aren’t quite at the top. I almost listed both Alzner and Carlson as well who were so important last year. However the player who needs to be healthy, and contribute at his highest level for the Capitals to succeed is Mike Green. Without his skating, and scoring proficiency from roughly the direction of the blueline, the Capitals are doomed. Having had an injury riddled regular season he recovered enough to turn in a solid second season. How he follows last seasons playoffs up, and how much he can improve his defensive play will likely be the difference between playing in April and playing in June.