Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
It seems obvious that Tom Wilson is going to get lots of playing time this season.
With the comments made by McPhee at the July 8 press conference, it is now pretty clear that the Caps are not planning on doing anything in free agency and they will go with what they have.
One thing the Caps do have are some talented young players and prospects who are quite obviously going to get some playing time this coming season.
I believe it is safe to assume that we are going to get a healthy dose of Tom Wilson this coming season. Wilson was taken with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft by the Caps.
Most figured it would be a couple of years before we actually saw Wilson skate with the Caps. Instead, when the team needed a lift after Martin Erat was injured in Game 4 of the Caps series with the New York Rangers, the Caps turned to the 19-year-old right winger.
Wilson played in three games against the Rangers, and one would never know that those were his first three NHL games ever. In the three games he played, Wilson did not score a goal, but that was OK. It was how he played that mattered. In the Game 7 debacle, Wilson might have played his best game. In fact, he may have been the best player on the ice wearing a red jersey.
Wilson is going to be a tremendous player, and I am excited to see what he can do with this great opportunity he will be getting.
Another player to watch will be Michael Latta. Latta was the other player the Caps acquired in the trade that sent Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat.
When the trade went down, Russian Machine Never Breaks ran a nice article on Latta and why he was more than just some "other guy" thrown in to make the deal work.
Latta can score and play a very physical style of game. On top of that, he can play center and—who knows—perhaps he can be the second line center the Caps have been seeking for several years now.
There are also players like Stanislav Galiev and Connor Carrick who have shown a lot of potential. Galiev was selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Caps. Carrick was drafted in the fifth round by the Caps in the 2012 NHL draft.
Galiev just turned in a very strong season for the Reading Royals of the ECHL, scoring 23 goals, handing out 24 assists and registering a plus-16 rating in just 46 games for the Royals.
Carrick played in 68 games for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL and had 12 goals, 32 assists and a solid plus-27 rating. Those numbers sound a lot like Mike Green's, and having another player like that is a problem most teams would like to have.
On the blue line, the Caps re-signed Tomas Kundratek. Dmitry Orlov figures to get a real opportunity to earn a full-time starting job for the Caps this season. Both men have played very well when they have been given the opportunity.
Of course, the biggest impact to the Caps roster might not be felt until the early part of 2014, after the Sochi Olympics conclude. That is when Evgeny Kuznetsov might end up finally joining the team.
The 21-year-old center has enormous potential, even if most anticipate him playing on the wing once he arrives in the NHL. He can skate with the best of them, pass, score, make plays, has fantastic vision and has even improved his game on defense and as a penalty killer.
His stats this past season while playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL were outstanding. He had 19 goals and 25 assists in 51 games during the regular season. In 25 playoff games, Kuznetsov had five goals and six assists, including one in the KHL Championship where Traktor fell in six games to Dynamo Moscow.
The question remaining is whether Kuznetsov will actually come to D.C. this season. Earlier this year, Kuznetsov stated that he would come and play for the Caps after the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
If he does come to Washington after the Olympics, he has the potential to be an immediate game changer for the Caps. He would also likely arrive right when the Caps would be in the thick of a playoff chase, and his addition could be what pushes the Caps over the top.
There is no question that George McPhee has invested heavily in his young up and coming players. It sure seems like he is "all-in" on players like Wilson and Kuznetsov.
And perhaps he knows more about Kuznetsov's pending arrival than he has let on.
His attitude towards free agency tells me that he either truly believes in these young prospects or he is just flat out in denial.
Let's hope it is the former and not the latter.