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Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals End of Season Evaluations - Forwards (K-W)

Washington CapitalsBoyd Kane – 3 Games, 0 Goals-0 Assists-0 Points, -1 Rating

One who will see very little, if any, time in Washington in future years; confined to providing experience and leadership to the Hershey Bears. Grade: D

Mike Knuble – 69 Games, 29 Goals-24 Assists-53 Points, +23 Rating

A fantastic signing in the offseason and fully deserves the one-year extension he signed earlier this year. Knuble started on the second line and played pretty well there, but he struggled to make a proper impact, as Brooks Laich was already fulfilling the role he aimed to take up. But after a stroke of genius from Bruce Boudreau, Mike Knuble ignited the top line and showed immediate chemistry with Ovechkin and Backstrom. He gave Backstrom time to pass and Ovechkin space to shoot, and he often found himself with the opportunity to put the puck in the net, which he regularly took. The biggest question concerning Knuble is whether or not he will be able to keep up with the pace of the Caps top line, but he has earned a chance to further prove himself with an excellent season. Grade: A+

Quintin Laing – 36 Games, 2 Goals-2 Assists-4 Points, +2 Rating

A good role player for the Caps, Laing was thrown into the line-up unexpectedly due to injuries, but managed to hold his place there bringing more speed and grit to the fourth line, but more notably repeatedly sacrificing his body to block shots. It was this, however that resulted in Laing losing his place in the team, as he broke his jaw blocking a shot, leaving him out for several weeks, by which time the Caps managed to replace him. Still, he showed his value to the team and will be a good reserve on the fourth line again next season. Grade: C+

Brooks Laich – 78 Games, 25 Goals-34 Assists-59 Points, +16 Rating

It was another solid season for Brooks Laich, doing what he does best, playing hard for the team, hustling in front of the net to create chances for his teammates and himself. Laich was really the only Cap to hold down his place on the second line, and did extremely well to maintain his point-production with a variety of linemates. Brooksy is an integral part of this club and will remain a good second-line winger for a good few years. Grade: A-

Brendan Morrison – 74 Games, 12 Goals-30 Assists-42 Points, +23 Rating

It was a season of two halves for Brendan Morrison. In the first, he was scoring plenty of points, fully earning his role as second-line center, the position the Caps needed him to fill when they brought him in to the team. However in December, B-Mo suffered a sudden slump. He went months without a goal and received much less ice-time as a result, eventually losing his place down the stretch. Morrison won’t be returning to Washington next year, as the organisation looks for a more consistent second line centerman. Grade: B-

Alex Ovechkin – 72 Games, 50 Goals-59 Assists-109 Points, +45 Rating

Another stunning season of speed, skill and plenty of goals for Alex Ovechkin led to yet another Hart Trophy nomination. Many Caps fans argued that it was Ovechkin’s best season to date, as he managed more than 1.5 points per game; missing ten games of the season due to injury and suspension. However, Ovechkin seemed to cross over the edge with his hits too much, being ejected from the game on three occasions. His game is so successful because of his physical firepower, but this year he took it too far a couple of times, and whilst he continued to produce offensively, he needed to contain his aggression, or passion, for the good of the team. He deserved to be made captain of this team, as he often leads the team by example, and is clearly the most passionate member of the club. Obviously already a Capitals legend, a Capitals captain for years to come, but Ovie may need to just put a lid on his aggression at times to lead his team. Grade: A+

Mathieu Perreault – 21 Games, 4 Goals-5 Assists-9 Points, +4 Rating

Although he didn’t produce to the extent many fans would have hoped, Perreault looked an exciting prospect during his time in Washington, playing with a lot of flair and surprising grit and determination for a smaller player. Perrault looks set to battle for the second line center position next year, most likely with fellow prospects Anton Gustafsson and Marcus Johansson, as the Caps look to promote from within the organisation. If, as many fans expect, he gets the job, he may take some time to get into his stride, but has shown he can produce skilful hockey at NHL level. Grade: B-

Alex Semin – 73 Games, 40 Goals-44 Assists-84 Points, +36 Rating

Going into the offseason, Alex Semin is the most likely Capitals player to move. Although he has been excellent in Washington, he was not as impressive as he has been last year, and has gone missing during the playoffs during his career. With plenty of depth and ability on the wings, the Caps may well consider trading Semin to bring in a top line defenseman, or possibly a goaltender. Semin did have a great season for Washington on both the first and the second line, but he hasn’t always fitted on the top line, and is too good to be playing on the second line, so could be more valuable to the club in a trade. Grade: A-

Dave Steckel – 79 Games, 5 Goals-11 Assists-16 Points, +4 Rating

Although his stats aren’t too impressive, Dave Steckel had a great season this year, spending a lot of time killing penalties, excelling especially in the faceoff circle. He showed his value to the team at fourth line center, earning him a 3 year, $3.3million, contract extension. Steckel will continue to provide size and skill next year. Grade: B

Scott Walker – 9 Games, 2 Goals-1 Assist- 3 Points, +1 Rating

Brought in at the trade deadline to bring experience down the stretch, Walker failed to break into the team, despite an impressive 2-goal debut. Walker didn’t have much time in Washington and won’t be back next season. Grade: C-

Kyle Wilson – 2 Games, 0 Goals-2 Assists-2 Points, +1 Rating

Wilson is unfortunate to play in a position where the Caps have a lot of depth; however the centerman could be useful to the team as a depth forward in the future. Grade: C-

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