5. Brooks Laich
The Caps' struggles thus far in 2013 aren't as surprising when considering that the team has been without two of its top players for much of the season, as Brooks Laich and Mike Green have both missed extended periods of time.
In Laich, one of the team's assistant captains, the Caps have one of the game's most consistent two-way forwards, and Laich is equally as valuable in the defensive end as he is in that of the opposition. He's a consistent 50-point scorer, and the Caps can't get their emotional leader back soon enough.
4. Nicklas Backstrom
As little as 13 months ago, Nicklas Backstrom was arguably the team's most important player, because the silky Swede was emerging as one of the NHL's best playmakers. However, Backstrom's continued struggles with physical play since his concussion in 2011-12 have made him less of a game-breaking player, though not skating with Alex Ovechkin or Alexander Semin anymore obviously impacts his numbers.
He's still the team's franchise pivot, but until Backstrom starts playing like former 100-point scorer he is, Mike Ribeiro is Washington's best center.
3. Mike Green
There's a reason why Mike Green is a two-time NHL First-Team All-Star, as he's as dangerous as any defenseman in the league with the puck on his stick. Unfortunately, his injury problems have plagued his production for three seasons, and Green is no longer even in the discussion when talking about the best defensemen in hockey.
Green needs to get back to playing the care-free offensive brand of hockey he became known for, because the Caps are a much better team when No. 52 is on his game.
2. Mike Ribeiro
There's no doubting that Mike Ribeiro has been Washington's best player so far, as the former NHL All-Star has been among the league's top scorers all year long.
Ribeiro may not be a great defensive player, but his ability to create opportunities for his linemates has been an integral part of Washington's offense, and he may be the key for Oates to get Ovechkin to start scoring.