5 Moves the Capitals Must Make If They Hope to Make the Playoffs in 2014

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5 Moves the Capitals Must Make If They Hope to Make the Playoffs in 2014
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

With the 2013 season now firmly in the rear-view mirror, it is time for the Washington Capitals to turn the page and move ahead.

It has been a little over a week since the Caps' Game 7 meltdown against the New York Rangers, and while the sting of that defeat still burns, it would nevertheless be unwise to linger on that defeat too long and lose sight of the fact that the 2013-2014 season will still start in less than six months.

Let the questions begin for a franchise that perpetually seems in transition and seems to be in that posture yet again.

For the Caps, this past season was a constant work in progress. It started very badly with that 2-8-1 start, then ended so strongly as the Caps got red hot and took the Southeast division title and then ended so badly again with the Caps blowing a 2-0 series lead for the ninth time in team history and being unable to score a a goal in the final two games against the Rangers.

Opinions vary as to whether the Caps can still compete or whether they are far away from being truly competitive. Have their best years passed them by—or are better times still ahead for this franchise?

All we know for sure is that there won't be any lockout this season. The Caps will have a normal schedule and a normal offseason routine. That will help things some, but it would be naive for anyone to think the Caps can stand pat and still compete, particularly with the new landscape that will be the NHL during the 2013-14 season.

No, the Caps must make some changes if they are going to make the playoffs this coming season, and they will have to make some moves as well. Here are five such changes and/or moves the team must make if the Caps hope to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

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