Here we go again.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Washington Capitals will be entering the summer months with a laundry list of question marks. The team continued its tradition of underachieving during the Stanley Cup playoffs by failing to advance beyond the first round of the postseason.
Sure, there are positives to build on, such as the resurgences of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green—not to mention the second-half turnaround orchestrated by first-year head coach Adam Oates—but changes are needed in D.C., and fast.
Some of it will happen from within, as rookie Tom Wilson looked good during his first handful of games as a Capital in May, and Brooks Laich and Martin Erat will presumably be healthy come September, which will solidify the Caps' top two forward units.
However, George McPhee has to improve this squad, and though this year's crop of prospects is deep, he'll have to add some proven veterans if this team is going to erase its repeated playoff disappointments in 2014.
Last year, he acquired former All-Star pivot Mike Ribeiro during the NHL draft and the move paid off. The veteran center finished third on the team in scoring and was Washington's best player for much of the season.
Heading into the offseason, here's a look at three players McPhee and the Capitals' brain trust should be targeting.