As the regular season continues to draw nigh, day by day, the time has come to predict and begin to take a look at what the Caps and their fans can expect from each player on the roster. Today's player is superstar Russian captain and the new poster boy for both Nike and Bauer, Alex Ovechkin. Ovie will begin his seventh year in the organization this fall, and his second full campaign as captain.
Recap of Last Season: Ovechkin had his worst year in the NHL in 2010-11, setting career lows in goals, power play goals, and points. He didn't score a power play goal until March and ended up tied with #87 in goals despite playing in 39 more games. He fell incredibly short of expectations, which was the fault of his own success; 32 goals is not what you expect from a three-time defending Lindsay Award winner and a two-time MVP, so when it happens, it's a total shock. Ovie did heat up at the end of the season and into the playoffs, but it was not enough to salvage another early playoff exit. For my full post-season analysis of Ovechkin's 2010-11, click here.
Expectations for this Season: As the captain and unquestioned leader of a now revamped Capitals team, Ovechkin needs to get back to his elite level of play and his perennial MVP-caliber campaigns in order for DC to accomplish the success they so desperately crave. He was an elite scorer his first five seasons in the league, and that must happen again for Washington to reach their full potential. Especially in the playoffs, assuming Washington makes it there, Ovechkin needs to be the dynamic, game-changing, take-over-the-game force we all know he can be. Otherwise, the result is going to be the same.
Playing Time: First line; power play unit A. Surprise, surprise. As he has every season he's been in the NHL, Alex will anchor the top line and the top power play unit, although he should not be on the point while a man to the good. Business as usual for the Great Eight...I hope.
Projections: 81 GP, 50 G, 55 A, +27 rating, 20:12 ATOI.
That's it for season previews. Now, it's time to focus on the actual season!