Who better to scout the Washington Capitals than friends of the site, Russian Machine Never Breaks?
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 239
His minutes are down and so is his scoring, but at least half of that was deliberate. Barry Trotz rested and protected his weapon in the regular season. That’s over now.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 213
Backstrom is the guy behind the guy. There’s no one stronger on the puck on the Caps roster, which will be a fun match-up against Toronto’s active stick-checkers.
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 189
His stick is on fire. Shooting 23.1 percent is not something players do much anymore over a full season, and it just so happens Oshie’s heading into free agency this summer. He’s gonna get paid — but probably not by DC.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 204
The Caps almost went to arbitration with Johansson last summer, but they signed a multi-year deal at the last minute. Johansson repaid them for their kindness with his best season to date.
Ht/Wt: 6-2 192
Kuzy was ice cold in last year’s playoffs. With a solid second line, he’ll be eager to remedy that. Watch for him below the goal line especially; he could give the Leafs D fits.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 188
Old Stick is still playing big minutes in the top six and crushing them. He’s got three Cups already, but this is his last best hope for another.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 194
The cheap winger has put up a bunch of goals this season as one-third of one of the best third lines.
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 207
Brian MacLellan calls his shots and sinks them every time. Last summer he said he wanted to improve the Caps forward depth. Lars Eller has done precisely that — giving Washington a balanced attack that they’ve been lacking for like six years.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 205
He is the x-factor. Burakovsky’s line has been among the best in the whole league this season. He’s young, fun, and fast in all the ways that Toronto is too. He’s the player I think the Leafs are prepared for, but considering Babcock’s the coach that just means pages of scouting reports instead of reams.
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 206
Ex-Leaf Winnik has quietly stabilized the Caps’ bottom line. He’s flourished in his role here, racking a career-high in scoring and becoming the best player on his line.
Ht/Wt: 6’3, 215
Beagle got a raise last year and so far he’s earned it. He scored 13 goals during the regular season and won 56 percent of his faceoffs. I wonder how Barry Trotz will deploy him against the Leafs‘ strength.
Ht/Wt: 6-4, 217
Wilson’s mellowed. A little. He’ll be agitating during his fourth line minutes, but don’t overlook his PK play either.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 200
Niskanen is one-half of Washington’s best defensive pair. He does everything.
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 212
Orlov is the other half of Washington’s best defensive pair. He does everything too, except he has a reputation for giving up scoring chances too.
Ht/Wt: 6-3 219
You’d think the 36-year-old, stay-at-home defenseman would be a problem, but this has been his best possession year to date. Part of the credit goes to his partners, Schmidt and Shattenkirk, but Orpik has also grown his game and kept in excellent shape.
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 209
A diamond of a deadline pick-up. Shattenkirk has given the power play an edge that it had been lacking this season, adding dynamism and unpredictability that will take a while to adjust to.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 215
Carlson is nursing a lower-body injury and is questionable for game one. Besides that, he’s been displaced from his power-play spot by Kevin Shattenkirk, which has freed Carlson up to take more 5v5 minutes and PK time.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 219
Alzner will get big minutes, and it’ll hurt. He’s not quite his old self this season, so now he’s the solitary flaw in the Caps blue line. He won’t be able to keep up with Toronto’s faster forwards.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 194
Nate is considered the 7D in Washington, but he’s had a dominant season in shot attempts, scoring chances, expected goals, and actual goals. If the Caps lose a D-man, they won’t lose a step.
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 191
The 8th D in the depth chart. If we see him take a shift, something has gone wrong.
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 217
No playoff goalie in recent memory has a higher save percentage. He won the Vezina last year and will be a finalist this year. I’d say he’s a secret weapon, but the secret is out.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 182
Maybe the best backup goalie in the league? He’s expansion bait for sure, but he’s also a cold comfort to an opponent lucky enough to chase Braden Holtby from the net.