Previewing the Washington Capitals 2021-22 season in the prevailing vocabulary of our time: vibes.
In this edition: The Caps are super old.
So here’s a scary graph:
Last season, the Washington Capitals were the oldest team in the NHL. By a lot! Like by more than a year. And I’m pretty sure they all got one year older since then. I called them the Washington Wife Guys over the summer, but it looks like the Caps are finally ready to buck the aging trend. They parted ways with old king Zdeno Chara, and they’ll ice four rookies on opening night: forwards Hendrix Lapierre, Connor McMichael, and Beck Malenstyn; and defender Martin Fehervary.
This is more than just a matter of age. Prying open the Cup window for so long has left Washington’s farm system a bit depleted. The same year the Caps won the Stanley Cup, the Hershey Bears placed eighth in their division with just 69 points. But Hershey has since had a resurgence, and the Caps now have a little bumper crop coming up. After years of hiding him from the world, the Caps should finally give Martin Fehervary some real ice time this season. Hendrix Lapierre has been the breakout star of camp, and Connor McMichael has three syllables in his name in common with Connor McDavid.
“The point is that if you have young guys, if Lapierre turns out, if McMichael turns out — it takes pressure off the [veteran players] to carry the team,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said.
But four youngsters plus ol’ Daniel Sprong (at a creaky 24 year-old) can’t solve this problem outright. Washington’s star player is also their oldest, and he’s nursing a knee injury. Their best center is 33, on LTIR, and it turns out he hasn’t had good hips in half a decade. The youngest member of the top six is 27. That’s not great.
The Caps have gotten chased out of the barn in three consecutive playoffs by younger and faster teams, but Washington is still committed to its veteran core. Their roster on opening night will be the third oldest in the league.
— Sammi Silber (@sammi_silber) October 12, 2021
So here’s the vibe: They ain’t getting any younger.
Next vibe: Tom Wilsoning
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