Five Players Capitals Players That Must Step Up This Season
January 15, 2013 in nhl
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
Here are five players who need to step up for the Washington Capitals to advance to at least the Eastern Conference Finals.
1- Alexander Ovechkin:
An easy one most of you guys are probably saying. Ovechkin's scoring has been down especially last year. Was it Hunter system? We should get that answered with new coach Adam Oates. Ovie scored over a point a game in the KHL so hopefully he can keep it going back in the NHL. Is this year about Ovechkin getting back into the MVP race or about stripping him of his captainship?
2- John Carlson:
Prior to last season Carlson seemed to be on a quick road to being an all star caliber defenseman. But Carlson seemed to struggle most of the season. He seemed to find his game down the stretch and it’s time for Carlson to play big in 2013. I don't have Green because if healthy I feel he will be the solid Mike Green. Karl Alzner has shown consistency and I don't expect that to change. It is Carlson who could step up as a x-factor type.
3- Mike Ribeiro:
Over the past runs of the last five seasons Washington has been looking for that second center behind Nick Backstrom. Ribeiro joins the Caps as what looks to be their best option over guys like Federov and Arnott. He has been consistent playing for good organization like Dallas and George McPhee has to be happy to have him. And being in a contract year Ribeiro should be looking to show something in the shortened season.
4- Braden Neuvirth:
I put the two goalies together because I am unsure who steps up as the #1. You would think Holtby but last year we expected Neuvirth to be the man but the Caps went out and got Tomas Vokoun. Holtby shined in the playoffs and has gotten good work in the AHL. I expect this is a wait and see decision that Oates will have to make. With the compacted season both should get an opportunity.
5- Marcus Johansson:
Like Carlson I expected Mojo to go to a new level last season but I felt very disappointed with his play. I was even more bothered by his play in the playoffs. Its time for Johansson to become a consistent scorer and an option that Oates can count on. With a new coach I would not surprised for Mojo to get buried in the lineup if he doesn't produce.