5. Washington Capitals
The two-time reigning President’s Trophy winning Washington Capitals will again boast one of the better defenses in the Metropolitan division. However, this year’s group should experience a regression that will make their opponents rather happy.
Of course, the Capitals group is led by the big American, John Carlson, who led their team with 22:43ATOI. Carlson’s style of play has put him in harm’s way the last two seasons, shortening his time available to the Capitals.
The 27-year old will be paired alongside Brooks Orpik. Orpik is among those who should see his game come crashing back to Earth next season.
To round out Washington’s top-four is Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov. Niskanen is a solid defender, who has recorded no less than 31 points in the last four seasons. Meanwhile, Orlov’s continued upward trend paved the way for his recent six-year extension.
Outside of that top-four, the Capitals roster is surrounded with defensive question marks. With Alexander Ovechkin continuing to occupy a large portion of Washington’s cap space, changes may be hard to come by for the team.