The defending cup champs are punchless compared to the Capitals.
Washington fans should not fear the teams in the Southeast Division. Only Tampa Bay and Carolina seem playoff bound, but they cannot possibly be a serious threat to take the top spot at the end of the year.
Carolina has Eric Staal and Cam Ward—a good combination—but behind them, there is much to be desired.
Tampa Bay has their own version of the Big Three in Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. A trio that would normally strike fear into the hearts of other teams, they will be a challenge for the Capitals, but get past them and everybody else and you have Dwayne Roloson, a former backup.
I know, from my previous years as an Islanders fan, that Roloson is terrible and easier to beat than an egg, so it shouldn't be a problem for the Caps.
As for the other East challengers, here are the two other top spot candidates:
Boston Bruins. The Stanley Cup Champions are led by Nathan Horton, Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara. These days, Chara is only good at instigating fights, but Horton and Thomas are tough to beat. Expect them to pose a serious threat to the Caps.
Pittsbugh Penguins. Evengi Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury—now that's a trio worth mentioning. Malkin and Fleury will be stable anchors for the duration of the season, but Crosby is still hurting from last year. The reason why they won't be able to top the Caps is because they have already been beaten by them and, thus, will be reeling from the humiliation.