The Washington Capitals could potentially have a big season, but if they’re going to raise the Stanley Cup for the second time in franchise history, they’ll have to slay Father Time (which I’m told is nearly undefeated).
After making their Opening Night roster official on Monday, the Caps will enter the 2022-23 season as the second oldest team (30) in the NHL per Cap Friendly. The only team older is the Pittsburgh Penguins (30.3), who, like the Capitals, are married to their superstar core until retirement.
Here are the oldest:
3. Tampa Bay
6. St. Louis
7. NY Islanders
8. San Jose
— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) October 11, 2022
Cap Friendly’s research shows that the Capitals and Penguins are the only teams in the NHL with an average age in the thirties. The Tampa Bay Lightning (29.1), Toronto Maple Leafs (29), and Calgary Flames (28.9) round out the top five. The average age of an NHL player this season is 27.4.
Cap Friendly’s full list of NHL roster ages can be seen on their Depth Charts Twitter account here.
According to Peter Hassett’s season preview article, how the Capitals manage its veteran-ness could be the biggest factor in how successful the team is this season.
As I’ve revisited a few times throughout this preview series, the team’s age decay is their biggest risk going into 2022-23.
Ovechkin is 37. Oshie is 36. Backstrom is 35. Hagelin is 34. Carlson and Eller are 33. Dowd, Jensen, Johansson, and Kuemper are 32. Hathaway, Orlov, and TVR are 31. Kuznetsov and Sheary are 30. All of those players are at least a few years past the traditional peak-performance age. Ovechkin is more than a decade past it.
After getting first-rounded in the playoffs four consecutive years, the Capitals mostly decided against a youth infusion in 2022-23, opting to sign or acquire more veteran players and losing several young prospects in the process: Ilya Samsonov (non-tendered QO), Vitek Vanecek (trade), Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (waivers), and Brett Leason (waivers). The Capitals replaced its young tandem in net with veterans Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren, which should give the team much more stability in net – a problem in past regular seasons. Dylan Strome, 25, will get a chance to center the second line with Nicklas Backstrom out. The team did give roster spots to prospects Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, and Joe Snively, but its unclear if any will have a significant role on the team.
Injuries have already been a concern during Training Camp as the team saw TJ Oshie miss the first day of Training Camp due to core surgery over the offseason and injure his shoulder during the Capitals’ fifth preseason game.
The Capitals are already without Backstrom (hip), Tom Wilson (knee), and Carl Hagelin (hip/eye) long-term.
The Caps were the oldest team in the league during the 2020-21 season (30). No team over the last 14 seasons has won the Cup with an average age over 28.3. Will the Capitals be the first?
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.