5 Players (Not Named Ovechkin) Who Are Vital to the Capitals' Success

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIIAugust 14, 2012

5 Players (Not Named Ovechkin) Who Are Vital to the Capitals' Success

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    Alexander Ovechkin is the face of the Washington Capitals and is also one of the top players in the National Hockey League.

    As great at Ovechkin may be, it takes an entire team to win a Stanley Cup. The 2012-2013 squad seems to be a good mix of veterans and young talent.

    Brooks Laich is a gritty forward who can score. Troy Brouwer has a Stanley Cup. Karl Alzner is an up-and-coming defenseman. These players will look to mesh together and bring some much-needed postseason success to Washington.

    Everyone knows that Ovechkin must have a solid year in order for Washington to compete. This list looks at five other players who must produce in 2012-2013. Each of these players has a specific role to play.

    In order to win, the Capitals must work hard and play a solid team game. The on-ice performance of the following players will go a long way in determining the outcome for the 2012-2013 Caps.

    The story of this year's Washington Capitals will be written in the coming months. These players will play a giant part in making it a successful one.

Nicklas Backstrom: Center

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    Niklas Backstrom is a star in his own right and is one of the elite passers in the league. His playmaking ability rivals that of some of the greats in the game. Backstrom played in only 42 games last year, yet still ranked fifth on the team in assists.

    Ovechkin gets all the hype, but Backstrom is the one who sets him up and makes him look good. Backstrom's passing ability makes him a great set-up man for the scorers around him.

    He himself is an improved goal scorer who can come up big in the clutch.

    Backstrom needs to remain injury-free this year. The Caps need him in the lineup. If Backstrom can continue to increase his goal production, he could prove to be even more valuable than Ovechkin himself.

Jason Chimera: Left Wing

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    The smooth-skating Jason Chimera brings 12 years of NHL experience and has been a valuable member of the Capitals since the 2009-2010 season. Chimera's speed can surprise defenders and put him in position to score at the other end of the ice.

    Chimera will look to continue his production from 2011-2012 where he netted 20 goals and pitched in 19 assists. The Capitals need to replace the output of Alexander Semin (21 goals, 33 assists) who signed with Carolina this past offseason. Chimera will be counted on to fill in the hole left by Semin.

    Aside from offense, Chimera plays an important role on the defensive end as well. He's a tough guy who's not afraid to mix it up with opposing players. Chimera was second on the Capitals last season with 78 penalty minutes.

    In order for the Caps to be successful this year, Chimera must step up and continue his strong play from last season.

Braden Holtby: Goalie

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    Few people around the NHL knew of Braden Holtby before last year's playoffs. Caps' fans knew that he was successful with the Hershey Bears of the AHL and that he had played some solid games in an emergency role at the NHL level.

    Holtby quickly proved that he belongs in the NHL. Though he had only played seven games with the Capitals last year, he was called up in the playoffs because to injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth.

    Holtby started all 14 playoff games and showed Caps' fans that the team should be set in goal for years to come. Holtby went 7-7 and posted an outstanding 1.95 goals against average.

    Holtby will look to continue his success this year. He may be the biggest part of the Washington Capitals this season. A great goaltender can take a team far into a playoff run.

     If the Capitals plan on contending for the Stanley Cup this year, Holtby will have to be a big part of that.

Marcus Johansson: Center

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    Marcus (MoJo) Johansson is a young exciting forward whose playmaking ability can remind people of teammate Niklas Backstrom. The flashy skater was an important part of the Capitals' offense last year, scoring 13 goals and adding 32 assists as a center.

    Johansson is important because he adds another quality scorer to either the second line or third line. He also spends time on the power play. He can play center or on one of the wings, depending on how the lines are paired.

    Like the others on this list, Johansson will look to improve his numbers. He is entering his third full season with the Capitals and could take more of a leadership role this season.

Mike Green: Defenseman

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    Perhaps no Capitals player has been more disappointing over the past two seasons than Mike Green.

    Injuries have derailed his ice time and he has seen a major drop in production. It seems like ages ago when Mike Green was the top-scoring defenseman in the NHL. Green was one of the top defenseman in the league from 2007-2010 and was twice a finalist for the Norris Trophy.

    He was known then for his hard slap shot and skating ability.

    Green played in only 32 games in 2011-2012 and registered a measly three goals and four  assists. That's a far cry from his 31 goals and 42 assists during the 2008-2009 season.

    Green can be a huge factor in the NHL again. His major question is health. The Capitals need Green and his production for an entire season. When healthy, Green runs the point on the power play and can do a lot of damage there.

    While we may never see 31 goals out of Green again, somewhere around 20 would be a great number this season.

    When Green was at his best, he was nearly unstoppable. If he can find that again, this will be a very dangerous Capitals team.