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Revisiting the Capitals' roster needs following the trade deadline

Revisiting the Capitals' roster needs following the trade deadline

Before the trade deadline, we looked at possible needs and targets for the Caps. Now that the deadline has come and gone, let's review and see how they addressed those needs.

Goalie

Possible need: Third goalie

How did the Caps address it: Trading for Pheonix Copley as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade

Copley was a former prospect of the Capitals who was traded to St. Louis as part of the T.J. Oshie trade. He is someone the organization knows well and is comfortable with. With a 2.23 GAA and .924 save percentage in the AHL, he represents a clear upgrade over Joe Cannata given Cannata's play this season. Copley also made his NHL debut this season, though it didn’t go well as he allowed five goals on 29 shots.

Did Hershey get stronger in net? Yes. Are the Caps likely to need Copley to play? No, but if you were looking for the Caps to have a Jeff Zatkoff type goalie as their No. 3 like the Penguins had last year, they appear to have fallen well below that mark. They likely could have done better considering there was zero market for goalies. Ryan Miller and Jaroslav Halak stayed put while teams that clearly needed another goalie like Edmonton and Calgary stood pat. Even Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman said the reason he traded Ben Bishop to Los Angeles was because it was his only option. With no buyers, that makes me think the Caps could have gotten a more established No. 3 for cheap.

RELATED: Trotz shows Caps video of Shattenkirk's fight with Williams

Defense

Possible need: Right-shooting defenseman

How did the Caps address it: Trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

If you’re trying to win the Stanley Cup and have a chance to add a top-four defenseman without losing a core player on the roster, that’s hard to turn down. Losing a first-round draft pick hurts, but the fact that the 2017 draft appears to be rather weak helps soften the blow. Shattenkirk was the best player on the market and the Caps not only got him, they also kept him out of Pittsburgh’s hands. Granted, deadline acquisitions tend to fail more often than they work and Shattenkirk still has work to do in terms of adjusting to the Caps’ system, but general manager Brian MacLellan did about as good a job as you can do adding a very talented piece without giving up anything to weaken the current roster.

Offense

Possible need: Scoring depth

How did the Caps address it: N/A

The original plan was for the Caps to carry Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana as extras for the postseason. If you thought that was a gamble, you’re probably not pleased that Washington traded away Sanford and did not make any moves to add forward depth. Is this really a major issue? It shouldn’t be. I’m skeptical as to what Sanford would have added. He looked timid at the start of the regular season and it affected his confidence resulting in a trip to the AHL. He has played much better of late, but it’s not hard to imagine the timidity returning in what would have been his first NHL postseason. Vrana has looked fantastic in his return from Hershey, but the bad news is that now he’s pretty much it in terms of forward depth. If the Caps suffer even two injuries in the playoffs, they will have to turn to players like Chandler Stephenson, Zach Sill, Paul Carey and Riley Barber to fill those holes.

MORE CAPITALS: Prediction recap: Caps outlast Flyers

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF BRETT CONNOLLY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF TOM WILSON IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.