Before we get to the top five fan favorites of all time, let's take a look at five players who did not quite make the cut, but who are all very beloved by Caps' fans everywhere.
Yvon Labre played on some really bad Caps teams. From 1974-1980, Labre played for the Caps and scored the first home goal in franchise history. Unfortunately, there were not many good moments to be had in that first season, and the Caps' .131 win percentage (8-67-5) is still the worst in NHL history.
Still Labre played some very tough defense and fans in the new market took notice. Labre quickly became the most popular player for the Caps during those early years, and his off-ice community activity only endeared him to the fans even more.
He was the team captain from 1976-1978 and was also an assistant coach for the Caps from 1982-1993.
Labre's number was retired on November 22, 1981.
The original pet detective.
OK...maybe not. Still, when this Jim Carey put his mask on, he was "smokin," no doubt about that.
Selected No. 32 by the Caps in the 1992 NHL draft, Carey would eventually debut in 1995 and would go on to win his first seven games.
The 1995-96 season would be Carey's finest moment, as he racked up a record of 35-24-9, with nine shutouts, a 2.26 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. That was good enough for Carey to win the Vezina Trophy.
Carey became very popular during this run, but he ran into major problems two years in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. The Caps organization lost faith in him, and he was traded to the Boston Bruins midway through the 1996-97 season.
He was never the same.
Still, for a couple of years there, Carey was incredibly popular in D.C.
Bengt Gustafsson is another player who holds a special place in the heart of Washington Capital fans who recall the teams initial rise to prominence in the 1980s. A true fan favorite in every way, "Gus" was also one heck of a player.
Gustafsson was picked in the fourth round of the 1978 draft by the Caps. He was always rather quiet and flew under the radar during his seven seasons in Washington.
Gus ranks sixth all time for the Caps in points and goals scored, and he ranks fifth all time in assists. Gus was also one of the more unselfish players on the Caps, and if he had decided to shoot the puck more than pass it, his numbers could be even higher.
Gustafsson's best season in Washington came during the 1983-84 campaign. It was during that season that Gus would notch five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 8, 1984. This is a Caps record for most goals in a game that Gus still shares with Peter Bondra.
Gustafsson's personality and demeanor, combined with his excellent play, made him one of the biggest fan favorites in the history of the Washington Capitals.
It was not until Rod Langway arrived that the Caps escaped the bonds of true mediocrity and became a very good team.
In many ways, if not for Langway, there might not be hockey in D.C. any longer. The Caps were on the brink of moving from Washington when Langway was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in a huge trade prior to the 1982-83 season.
Langway immediately helped to transform the team. The Caps would finally break through and make the playoffs in Langway's first season with the team, and they would make the playoffs in each of the next 11 seasons Langway was there.
While Langway would never be confused with Mike Green as far as a two-way defender was concerned, he was an absolute and complete defender in every other way imaginable. He won the Norris Trophy in 1983 and 1984 and was also the captain of the Caps from 1982 to 1993.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Langway never sought out the adoration of the fans. He rarely clamored for the accolades. Perhaps, that is what made him so popular. There is little question that the man who saved the franchise is one of the most popular players in Capitals' history.
For me personally, it was very difficult to not have Dennis Maruk in the top five. When I first started watching the Caps, and watched them begin to get good, Maruk is the player I remember the most.
He was not a big guy, standing only 5'8" and weighing just 165 pounds. And what was the deal with that Fu Manchu moustache anyway?
But when Maruk laced up the skates and got down to business, there were not many better than him.
Maruk had originally been drafted No. 21 overall by the California Golden Seals franchise in 1975. He would go with the Seals to Cleveland to play for the doomed Barons franchise. But once he arrived in D.C. in 1978, Maruk's career would explode.
Maruk's arrival would coincide with the Caps beginning to threaten for a playoff berth. This was readily apparent during the 1980-81 season when Maruk would be teamed up with Mike Gartner and Ryan Walter on what was termed the "Roaring 20's Line."
The Roaring 20's Line would transform the Caps, and Maruk would have a tremendous season with 50 goals and 47 assists.
The next season would be even better. Maruk would score a phenomenal 60 goals and assist on 76 others. Maruk's 136 points for the 1981-82 season is still a Caps record.
The Caps would miss the playoffs both of those seasons. Somewhat ironically, it was the 1982-83 season that would see the Caps break through and reach the playoffs—even though Maruk only scored 31 goals.
Maruk would be traded to the Minnesota North Stars where he would finish out his NHL career. But during his time in Washington, Maruk re-wrote the Caps record books. Despite only playing in 343 games for the Caps, he still ranks ninth in points and goals scored. He also boasts a 1.26 goals-per-game percentage, which is still the best all time for the Caps.
His energetic playing style, combined with his great production and numbers, made Maruk a tremendous fan favorite. Many could argue he deserves to be in the top five, and it would be hard to argue otherwise.
Regardless, Maruk remains one of the most popular players in Caps' history.