Washington Capitals logoWashington Capitals

Washington Capitals Lineups: 6 Possible 2011-12 Opening Night Roster Scenarios

Jake WareCorrespondent IIIJuly 30, 2011

Washington Capitals Lineups: 6 Possible 2011-12 Opening Night Roster Scenarios

1 of 7

    When the Washington Capitals suffered another premature playoff loss this past season, management promised there would be significant changes to the roster.

    There were.

    The Capitals made 10 big moves aimed at drastically re-modelling the roster, and their hard-work has led to many top NHL analysts calling the Caps "the most improved team this offseason."

    In came Troy Brouwer, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Halpern, Mattias Sjögren, Tomas Vokoun, Joel Ward and potentially Christian Hanson or Chris Bourque.

    Leaving the organisation are Jason Arnott, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Eric Fehr, Scott Hannan, Tyler Sloan, Marco Sturm and Semyon Varlamov. 

    A major rebuild, you could say.

    The moves have fans scratching their heads as to what the opening night roster may look like. There are a whole bunch of different line combinations that would all make sense. When Bruce Boudreau comes into training camp, he'll have his work cut out for him finding the combinations with the right chemistry and scoring touch that help the team the best they can.

    Here are the six most likely lineups we may see come opening night.

1. Standard

2 of 7

    The first option is a pretty standard one. The odds we see this are fairly high considering this one goes with a lot of lines we have seen in the past.

    This particular first line is a favourite of head coach Bruce Boudeau's, and he has used it a lot in the past.

    The fourth line, defensive pairing and goalies are pretty standard throughout. General manager George McPhee as well as Boudreau have already spoken about how they like some of the potential defensive pairings and these appear to be the ones the Capitals will head into the season with. 

     

    Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Bäckström - Mike Knuble

    Oft-used first line has skill, playmaking ability, and grit. Complete.

    Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson - Alexander Semin

    Johansson will be ready to step full-time into a 2LC role. Laich adds physicality.

    Troy Brouwer - Mattias Sjögren - Joel Ward

    Great physical line that will score goals. Sky-high potential.

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jason Chimera

    Big improvement from last year's Gordon - Bradley. Speed, scoring, fighting. Good fourth line.

    (Jay Beagle)

     

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Obvious choice. Expect even more from them in their sophomore season.

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Can Hamrlik be the partner that Green has needed so long?

    Dennis Wideman - Jeff Schultz

    Excellent for a third-line pairing. Offensive and defensive alike.

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Vokoun is a top-tier goalie. Can you really pencil him in as back-up?

    Michal Neuvirth

2. Heavy-Hitting on First-Line

3 of 7

    This option would include a more physical winger to complement the Caps' two top-line superstars.

    Analysts have long said what Ovechkin really needs is someone on his other side to take some pressure off him to be the tough guy on the first line, and this scenario would provide that possibility.

    Brouwer, in particular, has played with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the past and knows what it takes to play with superstars. He could be the man to fulfill the role Caps' management hoped Chimera would last year.  


    Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Bäckström - Troy Brouwer / Brooks Laich / Joel Ward

    Troy Brouwer / Brooks Laich / Joel Ward - Marcus Johansson - Alexander Semin

    Troy Brouwer / Brooks Laich / Joel Ward - Mattias Sjögren - Mike Knuble

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jason Chimera

    (Jay Beagle)

     

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Dennis Wideman - Jeff Schultz

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Michal Neuvirth

3. Eggs in a Basket

4 of 7

    These line-combos would be based off something Bruce Boudreau has often done but has never liked doing: putting all his stars on the top line.

    When the Caps are losing in games, Boudreau will often throw out the young guns all on the same line to try to add some offensive flair.

    This is truly celestial hockey. There is nothing more fun than watching these three together, because they always dominate. If they can find the right mix between being "too cute" and being offensively brilliant, I dare say they could all become 100-point men.

    By the way, Evgeny Kuznetsov may well claim the spot when he comes over. Why not get the other two used to playing with another skill guy?

     

    Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Bäckström - Alexander Semin

    Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson - Mike Knuble / Joel Ward

    Troy Brouwer - Mattias Sjögren - Mike Knuble / Joel Ward

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jason Chimera

    (Jay Beagle)

     

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Dennis Wideman - Jeff Schultz

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Michal Neuvirth

4. Laich as Third Line Center

5 of 7

    This series is pretty self-explanatory. It involves giving $6 million man Brooks Laich the duties as the third-line center. It would continue a theme in Boudreau's reign as head coach: to try to spread out scoring.

    With his brand new contract, Laich is expected to go on to bigger things. He could make that third line the best in the league.

    While I personally see him taking the second line left-wing role, this is a possibility as both GM Mcphee and Boudreau have stated how important it is to have good center depth.

    I mean, it turned out OK for Boston...

     

    Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Bäckström - Mike Knuble

    Troy Brouwer - Marcus Johansson - Alexander Semin

    Joel Ward - Brooks Laich - Mattias Sjögren

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jason Chimera

    (Jay Beagle)

    

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Dennis Wideman - Jeff Schultz

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Michal Neuvirth

5. Christian Hanson/Cody Eakin/Mathieu Perreault Option

6 of 7

    This particular scenario involves incorporating a young center prospect into the lineup. The reason this one is unlikely is because it would almost certainly have to involve a trade to send Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine or Tom Poti away.

    On the subject of prospects, I'll also use this slide to suggest how Dmitry Orlov may fit into the lineup should he come into training camp and win a spot.

    The Capitals are stacked at defense, so barring a Dennis Wideman trade, it probably won't materialize.

     

    Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Bäckström - Mike Knuble

    Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson - Alexander Semin

    Troy Brouwer - Christian Hanson / Cody Eakin / Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Mattias Sjögren

    (Jay Beagle - Jason Chimera)

     

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Dennis Wideman / Dmitry Orlov - Dmitry Orlov / Jeff Schultz

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Michal Neuvirth

6. Top-Line Mojo

7 of 7

    The last option involves separating Alex Ovechkin and his Swedish superstar center and putting him with another Swedish superstar center.

    This scenario nullifies the notion of having two top lines. It is more a 1a and 1b line. A terrific one-two punch based on spreading out the scoring.

    Boudreau has used this one before, so don't be surprised to see it if the Caps start losing a few games this season.

     

    Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Mike Knuble

    Brooks Laich - Nicklas Bäckström - Alexander Semin

    Troy Brouwer - Mattias Sjögren - Joel Ward

    Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jason Chimera

    (Jay Beagle)

    

    Karl Alzner - John Carlson

    Mike Green - Roman Hamrlik

    Dennis Wideman - Jeff Schultz

    (Tom Poti - John Erksine)

     

    Tomas Vokoun

    Michal Neuvirth

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices