The Capitals' roster underwent some significant changes in the offseason. After winning the Presidents' Trophy in each of the last two seasons, Washington will not bring the same dominant roster into 2016-17. With the departure of players like Marcus Johansson, Justin Williams, Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Daniel Winnik and Kevin Shattenkirk, has the Stanley Cup window for the Capitals officially closed?
The oddsmakers don't think so.
With training camp set to open Friday for the Caps, the betting site Bovada released its Stanley Cup odds for the upcoming season. Not surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the favorites to win it all again at 7/1. Washington is not all that far behind at 14/1, tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs for the second-best odds in the East.
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Here is the complete list:
Pittsburgh Penguins — 7/1
Edmonton Oilers — 9/1
Chicago Blackhawks — 12/1
Dallas Stars — 12/1
Anaheim Ducks — 14/1
Nashville Predators — 14/1
Tampa Bay Lightning — 14/1
Toronto Maple Leafs — 14/1
Washington Capitals — 14/1
Minnesota Wild — 18/1
New York Rangers — 18/1
Columbus Blue Jackets — 20/1
Montreal Canadiens — 20/1
Los Angeles Kings — 22/1
Boston Bruins — 25/1
Calgary Flames — 25/1
San Jose Sharks — 25/1
St. Louis Blues — 28/1
Florida Panthers — 40/1
Ottawa Senators — 40/1
New York Islanders — 50/1
Philadelphia Flyers — 50/1
Winnipeg Jets — 50/1
Buffalo Sabres — 66/1
Carolina Hurricanes — 66/1
Detroit Red Wings — 100/1
Arizona Coyotes — 100/1
Colorado Avalanche — 100/1
Las Vegas Golden Knights — 100/1
New Jersey Devils — 100/1
Vancouver Canucks — 100/1
The Caps will almost certainly take a step back this season—it is hard to fathom them managing to win a third-straight Presidents' Trophy—but Bovada does not seem to think it will be as significant a step back as many think.
Are you ready to put your money on the Caps?
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Tom Wilson has been suspended two preseason games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his big hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday night.
In handing out the punishment, the NHL noted the lateness of the hit—it occurred more than a full second after Thomas had lost control of the puck—and the predatory nature of Wilson tracking down the Blues’ rookie before delivering the blow in front of the visitors’ bench.
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Wilson, a rugged 23-year-old winger who has a reputation for playing on the edge, has been on the NHL's radar for a while now. He’s been fined twice previously, but this marks the first time he’s been suspended.
Wilson must sit out Saturday’s exhibition game against the Hurricanes and Monday’s contest against the Devils. He’s eligible to return Friday at Carolina.
Earlier Saturday, Barry Trotz said he was “a little surprised” that the NHL had requested a hearing with Wilson, adding, “Whatever decision that they have we’ll deal with it. They do a good job.”
For Wilson, losing two preseason games amounts to a cheap lesson. But it also serves to underscore that he’s now squarely in the league’s crosshairs and will be considered a repeat offender should the Department of Player Safety examine a future play involving him.
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Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen highlight the Caps’ lineup tonight against the Hurricanes at Capital One Arena.
Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lineup (based on the morning skate):
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Chiasson
Smith–Pelly – Beagle – W. Simpson
Vrana – Boyd – Connolly
Walker – Albert – Barber
Orpik – Hobbs
Djoos – Niskanen
Siegenthaler – Orlov
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Some notes and observations from the morning skate:
- Fourth line center Jay Beagle will make his preseason debut tonight. He’s been battling some “tightness” according to Trotz. “Everyone’s tight right now,” Beagle told CSN after the morning skate. “I feel great. I’m ready to play tonight. It’s something the medical staff was really diligent about.”
- Vrana will skate in his third preseason contest…but in a much different role. In his first two appearances, the 2014 first rounder skated in the top-six (on Kuznetsov’s line and Backstrom’s line). Now’s getting a look on the third combo.
- Tom Wilson was originally slated to suit up but he was pulled from the lineup because he’s facing a disciplinary hearing with the NHL for his hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday. Instead, Wilson participated in the intrasquad scrimmage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
- Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov will also get their first action of the exhibition season. Although Trotz has said they’ll start the regular season as a pair, each will play with a prospect vs. the Canes.
- Chiasson, who is on a PTO, has enjoyed a strong camp to this point. If he can add production tonight (while skating on a line with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov) that could go a long way toward him clinching a spot…if he hasn’t done so already. Chiasson was also on the first power play unit this morning.
- Former Capitals winger Justin Williams will skate on the Hurricanes' first line tonight.
- Another round of cuts is expected to come on Sunday.
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