Take a glance at the Washington Capitals‘ depth chart and it looks thinner than when they last took the ice. But that doesn’t mean expectations are any different for the perennial NHL frontrunners. “I actually like our team,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “With some of the departures, we’re not quite as deep in some areas. But I know we’re a really good hockey team.” The Capitals open training camp on Friday and some familiar faces won’t be there. Gone are defencemen Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, plus winger Justin Williams, causalities to free agency due to salary cap issues. Financial considerations also forced the Caps to deal centre Marcus Johansson, their fourth-leading scorer, to New Jersey. Promising blueliner Nate Schmidt was lost in the expansion draft to Vegas. The only additions to replace them were fringe NHL forwards Devante Smith-Pelly and Tyler Graovac. But Trotz believes the dropoff in output will be minimal thanks to internal improvement. He points to forwards Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson as players who will take on bigger roles. “They’re two younger guys that have developed quite nicely,” Trotz said. The Capitals are a little more than $4 million below the team salary threshold. However, they only have 10 forwards and five defencemen on one-way contracts. So, it appears they’ll have look from within the organization to fill out their roster.
Barry Trotz counting on Capitals’ youth to replace departing vets
Sportsnet | Sep 15