Emerging Storylines for Washington Capitals' 2014 Offseason

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Emerging Storylines for Washington Capitals' 2014 Offseason
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

For the Washington Capitals, this has to feel like rock bottom. 

That's what happens when a team that's earned postseason berths in six straight seasons, including five with divisional crowns, has effectively played its way into lottery contention during the most critical portion of the schedule. 

And more importantly, unlike in recent years in which the Capitals staged gripping comebacks to punch postseason tickets during the final days of the regular season, this 2013-14 squad has produced embarrassingly poor efforts when it mattered most. 

None have been more humbling than the 5-0 thumping Adam Oates' boys took from Dallas on Tuesday at home, and though this team's still technically in the mix, the playoffs seem further than ever since Bruce Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon in November of 2007. 

That being said, there is still a lot to like about the pieces in place in D.C., and it'd be premature to say it's time to blow things up and start over. 

Heading into what may be the most important offseason since Alex Ovechkin arrived in 2005, here are the biggest storylines surrounding the team. 

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