Different season, same story for the Washington Capitals who suffered their third straight second-round exit against the Pittsburgh Penguins, back in May. While every elimination hurts, this one seemed to be a pretty hard one for the Caps. The players, the management and most certainly the fans, thought the 2016-17 edition could make it to the Stanley Cup final and win it all.
General manager Brian MacLellan understands the disappointment surrounding his team's poor performances, but wants to reassure the fans: he has a plan, and Washington is going to be competitive for the next few years. Here is what he said, according to The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga:
“People are reverse-engineering stuff. They’re saying, ‘Well, why didn’t they expose Johansson in the expansion draft?’ Why would we do that when we don’t know if we could sign Oshie or Kuzy? It doesn’t make any sense. People make it sound like we’re a lottery team. I’m shocked by that. We’ve got good players. I want people to know: We’ve got a good team.”
They signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov, as well as forwards T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov to long-term deals, but lost Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner, among others.
Washington had a tremendous regular season, their success cannot be translated into playoff wins. They won their second President's trophy in a row, with a record of 55-19-8 for 118 points.