The first season in charge for Adam Oates began with the Washington Capitals in unfamiliar situation and ended with an all-too-familiar one. The Capitals needed a second-half rally to win the Southeast Division for the fifth time in six seasons, but that was followed by another disappointing Stanley Cup Playoff defeat.
It was a quiet offseason for the Capitals after they were eliminated in a seven-game, first-round series against the New York Rangers. Free agents Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks and Joey Crabb signed elsewhere, and defenseman Jeff Schultz was bought out. General manager George McPhee signed defensemen John Carlson and Karl Alzner each to a long-term contract, then had his patience rewarded when he was able to sign center Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year, $3 million contract in August.
Adding Grabovski fills an obvious need and gives Oates more depth and flexibility up front. The offense should produce, the defense remains shaky after a solid first three, and the goaltending should be strong. A full training camp after a season with Oates in charge could lead to improvement, and Washington will be in position to compete for a playoff spot in the new-look Metropolitan Division.
Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Capitals: