Washington Capitals Hockey Pool Predictions for 2010/2011

Woodsey14 By Woodsey14, 16th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Sports>Sports

In the continuing series of a team by team look at potential hockey pool picks for the upcoming NHL season, here is a breakdown of the Washington Capitals.

Washington Capitals Hockey Pool Predictions for 2010/2011

The 2009/2010 regular season was a stellar one for the Capitals which imploded thanks to a sublime goaltending performance by Jaroslav Halak during the second round of the playoffs. Before people begin to write off the Capitals as being the East's version of the San Jose Sharks, it's worth noting that the Capitals are still a young team that is learning what it takes to be a Stanley Cup Champion. From a hockey pool perspective, as the highest scoring team in the league last season, the Capitals are a gold mine of excellent point producing players. Add to this the fact that a lot of the team still hasn't reached their prime point producing years and you have a team of players who are definitely worth a close inspection.

Blue Chip Players

Forwards

Alexander Ovechkin- Definitely one of if not the best players in the league. Ovechkin has the skill, will and physical attributes to dominate on most nights. Despite some nagging injuries and missed games due to suspension, Ovechkin still managed to score 109 points in only 72 games. That's a ppg of 1.51. With good reason, Ovechkin will be the number one overall pick in most drafts. (one word of caution- Be aware that due to the physical nature of his play, Ovechkin has an increased injury risk in comparison to some other players)

Alexander Semin - Former teammate Brendan Morrison is on record as saying that Semin has a higher level of overall skill than Ovechkin. That's heady praise from a well respected veteran player in the league. Unfortunately Semin does not have Ovechkin's body as he has suffered from some nagging injuries in the last two seasons. Despite this, he has averaged just under 83 points over the last 2 years and has a ppg average of 1.21 over that same period of time. If you can get a full 82 games out of Semin, he could end up with monster numbers.

Nicklas Backstrom- Nicklas Backstom is often the overlooked blue chip player on the Capitals. In most pools he should be a first round pick, but he tends to be overshadowed by the Alexes. In only his third NHL season, Backstrom scored 101 points with a ppg of 1.23. Add to this the fact that he has never missed a game in his career and you have a very reliable, elite player who still has the potential for an even greater upside.
Defensemen
Mike Green- Green gets knocked a bit for his defensive inconsistency, however there is no arguing his point production which is head and shoulders above the other defenders in the league. Green's ppg last year was an elite forward like 1.01. If you are looking for defenseman points, Green should be a the top of your list.

Second Tier

Forwards
Brooks Laitch- After scoring 53 and 59 points over the past two seasons, I believe that it is fair to say that Laitch has become a reliable second tier forward. At the age of 26, last year was a career year for Laitch. Seeing as he is just entering his prime years, I would expect a mild improvement in the range of 60-65 points this year.
Thomas Fleischmann- Last year Fleischmann's career took a major leap forward as he scored 51 points in only 69 games with a ppg of 0.74. At the age of 26, Fleischmann appears to be figuring out how to put his considerable skill package to good use. Given his age and linemates, 65+ points should be achievable for him provided he can shake the injury bug that has never allowed him to play an entire 82 game schedule in his career.

Defensemen

None. After Mike Green, offense from the blueline becomes quite thin.

Don't Over Rate

Forwards

Mike Knuble- In 2009/2010 Knuble put up statistics that were close to number that he was achieving in his prime with 53 points in 69 games and a ppg of 0.77. Unfortunately Knuble is now 38 years old. Be careful not to chance too high of a pick on a player who is at an age where their career could decline very rapidly.
Eric Belanger- Was statistically brutal with the Capitals after being trade at the deadline last season. The Capitals intend to use him as a defensive center. As a result I would expect defensive center numbers from him.

Defensemen

Tom Poti- Poti is a frustrating player, he is a defenseman who teases with 40 point potential, however he rarely delivers an in recent years has spent time in the coach's doghouse. I would expect a ceiling of 30 points for Poti although, given his inconsistency, he may not be worth risking a pick on.

Goaltenders

Semeyon Varlemov- As of today, the Capitals appear content to go with Varlemnov as their starting goaltender, however his has never played starter minutes in his pro career. The organization appears to be very high on Michael Neuvirth who has been penciled in as a backup. If Varlemnov falters, his position as starting goaltender is going to be in jeopardy. He's a classic risk reward pick- If he plays well he will get a lot of wins. Poorly- he may be relegated to backup duty. Make no mistake that the jury is still our on Varlemov.

Potential Sleepers and Late Round Steals

Forwards

Eric Fehr- Was a big time scorer in junior and appeared to find his offensive game last year with the Capitals as he scored 39 points in only 69 games. Big players like Fehr are notorious for taking a bit longer to develop. Now 24 and entering his 4th NHL season, I would expect Fehr to have a breakout year, particularly if the Capitals decide to move him up the depth chart and onto the second line.


Defensemen

Tom Poti- But is he worth the risk?

Sleepers

John Carlson- Is projected to be an excellent offensive defenseman. Last year was Carlson's first in pro hockey where he had a ppg total of 0.81 in the AHL which earned him a promotion to the big club. I wouldn't be surprised if Carlson doesn't become Washington's number 2 offensive defenseman this year.

Michael Neuvirth- If Varlemov falters, Neuvirth would inherit the starting goalie position.

Other Pages

Don't forget to check out my Hockey Pool Prospects and Strategy page for a few extra pointers!

Team Pages

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