First we'll look at each of the forward positions: right wing, center and left wing.
Next, we'll take a look at the Capitals defenders.
And finally, we'll analyze the goalies.
Here is a look at the Washington Capitals depth chart for the 2013 NHL season. For each player, I will provide a brief synopsis, based heavily on my own opinion and perspective.
Washington Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin.
The Capitals have a couple of new faces at right wing, with a few old ones sprinkled in:
- Alex Ovechkin: A natural left winger, Ovechkin had never played an entire game at right wing until this season began. Hopefully, head coach Adam Oates will have the same success moving Ovechkin from left to right wing as he did last season with the New Jersey Devils, when he did the same with Ilya Kovalchuk.
- Troy Brouwer: Washington's purest power forward. Brouwer is also an invaluable member of the power play unit, as he is quite skilled at setting screens in front of opposing goaltenders.
- Joel Ward: Provides excellent hard work and hustle. Ward can provide secondary scoring, but usually only in spurts.
- Joey Crabb: One of the team's new additions during the offseason. Crabb can provide energy as a fourth-line grinder.
- Eric Fehr: Another offseason addition, Fehr is beginning his second stint as a Capital. Fehr can provide significant secondary scoring, although he has yet to see any game action this season.
Washington Capitals C Mike Ribeiro.
The Washington Capitals now have considerable depth at the center position:
- Nicklas Backstrom: Finally healthy after a concussion during the 2011-12 NHL season and a neck injury during the 2012-13 KHL season. Backstrom is capable of being one of the five best centers in the NHL.
- Mike Ribeiro: The Caps biggest offseason addition. Ribeiro's excellent hands make him a legit second-line center, and a formidable member of the Washington power play.
- Brooks Laich: This versatile forward is the longest tenured Washington Capital and a well-respected veteran leader. Laich is currently injured, which means there is one less forward for Adam Oates to shuffle.
- Jay Beagle: A quintessential fourth-line center. Beagle is a shut-down defender who is excellent in the face-off dot.
- Mathieu Perreault: The odd man out when Laich returns. Perreault is a slick skater who can provide energy and skill.
Washington Capitals LW Matt Hendricks.
The Washington Capitals are thinner at left wing than at any other position:
- Marcus Johansson: Loaded with speed and potential, Johansson has not yet had his breakout season with the Washington Capitals.
- Wojtek Wolski. Another offseason addition among the forwards. Wolski has good hands, and is capable of reaching the 20-goal plateau in a full season.
- Matt Hendricks: The new heart and soul of the Washington Capitals. Sometimes it appears as if Matt Hendricks has to do so much for his team because others do so little.
- Jason Chimera: Good wheels, but seems to be stuck in neutral. Chimera enjoyed a breakout season in 2011-12, but something is missing this year.
Washington Capitals D Mike Green.
Defense is now the Capitals deepest position:
- Mike Green: Healthy again, and back to his graceful ways on the ice. Green may benefit the most from assistant coach Calle Johansson's philosophy of having defensemen join the rush.
- John Carlson: Recovered from a poor start to last season with a solid playoff campaign. Carlson is now ready to solidify himself within Washington's top defensive pair.
- Karl Alzner: Washington's best pure defender. Despite being undersized for an NHL blueliner, Alzner has consistently earned the toughest defensive assignments.
- Tom Poti: Back with the Capitals after a remarkable comeback from two seasons lost to injury. Poti is a disciplined, stay-at-home defender whose comeback may explain why GM George McPhee didn't try to sign a similar player during the offseason.
- Roman Hamrlik: A shot-blocking machine. Hamrlik is a physical defender who also happens to be seventh among all active players in penalty minutes.
- Jack Hillen: Puck-moving defender was signed in the offseason from the Nashville Predators. Hillen is already on the IR after suffering an upper-body injury at the hands of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent LeCavalier on opening night.
- Tomas Kundratek: Technically still a prospect, according to Hockey's Future. Kundratek was recalled from Hershey to fill in for Hillen, and may provide an offensive spark.
- Jeff Schultz: Once considered the Caps' best pure defender. Schultz has not won over either of the last two head coaches.
- John Erskine: A bear of a man, this physical defender is the Capitals only heavyweight enforcer. Despite filling a couple of roles for this team, Erskine has been a frequent healthy scratch since the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
- Dmitry Orlov: A prized prospect in his own right. Orlov was expected to benefit from time spent with head coach Adam Oates while with the Hershey Bears, but he may have trouble cracking the Capitals lineup this season.
Washington Capitals G Braden Holtby.
The Washington Capitals have an embarrassment of riches at goaltender, with two talented netminders:
- Braden Holtby: Breakout star from the 2012 postseason. A high-risk, high-reward goaltender, Holtby's confidence in net rubs off on his teammates.
- Michal Neuvirth: Native of the Czech Republic actually has more NHL experience than Holtby. Neuvirth will benefit from the short season, as Adam Oates intends to platoon the two goalies.