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angryjay93

Washington Capitals

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Washington Capitals



Team Overview: Aside from maligned superstar Peter Bondra, the Caps are a slow, heavy, and inadequately skilled squad that will wreak havoc on making effective line combos. In draft league formats, the Capitals do have some useful players to keep in mind to round out your squad, so don’t completely ignore this roster.

Forwards: Creativity will be needed here to construct an effective line. Bondra is easily the best forward available, but his play style is so vastly different from the rest of the roster, that it will make it very hard to incorporate players such as Ridley, Khristich, or anyone else plugged in.

Mish-Mash:

Khristich-Bondra-Ridley

Dimitri Khristich: 7 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/6 shot, 4/4 sth, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Despite being wonderfully skilled, especially in shooting, Khristich is sort of a boat anchor that drags around the ice. On a regular team, Khristich’s average skating wouldn’t be such a big issue, but with Bondra flying around with reckless abandon, it’s going to be tough to keep Khristich involved. A one-on-one game isn’t ideal for Khristich either as he is a prime target for lightweight forwards to abuse on an aggressive back check. With that said, there aren’t too many better options available to put in over Khristich, when he gets his chances, he should be able to deposit them with consistency as he is a great one-time shooter and is money from inside the face off circles.

Peter Bondra: 6 weight, 4/6 skating, 3/ 4 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

As far as players with 6 speed go, Bondra is at the bottom of the food chain due to his lack of agility and subpar skillset when compared to guys like Selanne, Bure, and Mogilny. Bondra is the best chance at instant offence though, he is very tough to bring down in open ice and his speed should do more than enough damage to most defenses on its own. Bondra is a bit of a mixed bag on defense, fast enough to get involved in almost any defensive play, but not agile or light enough to be used as a true human wrecking ball or tactical defensive player.

Mike Ridley: 9 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

A bona fide heavy weight, Ridley is a little under skilled to be consistent force on the ice, but he should be able to assert himself well enough in most instances. A pass first player, Ridley should be on the lookout for a streaking Bondra or for Khristich parking himself in a one-timer spot since his own shooting and skating abilities aren’t tailor made for goal scoring. Typically I don’t suggest that heavyweights be an option for puck handling, but Ridley really does have the best combination of skating skill and playmaking acumen to facilitate a more patient style of offense. Even if he does get knocked off the puck, he is the least able of the Capital forwards on defense, his loss won’t be greatly missed.

This line is a clusterfuck, the skills of these players don’t necessarily complement each other well but it does the best job of putting these players in their most natural positions. Bondra can work the one on one game, it just takes a bit more skill and know how to do so then with a typical super speedster. Khristich can snipe and Ridley can distribute. It’s just a matter of getting all these guys on the same page that is the real bugaboo.

Bondra-Khristich-Carpenter

Bob Carpenter: 7 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth, 4 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

While not a special player by any means, Carpenter does have some of the more important skills to be a decent assist man, skating and passing ability. Carpenter can dangle a bit more than Ridley and this should be put to use in order to give Khristich the time to lumber up ice and become available for a one timer. The shooting stats are not inspiring though, defenses will likely sag a bit more to the other options since Carpenter doesn’t need to be respected from range.

While this line may not have as much high end potential as the first one, it should be a bit more consistent. Khristich can really rip the one-timers, if he gets his chances, he will produce. As for Bondra, putting him on his natural wing still allows him to be a dangerous player as he can use his wide array of dekes and float shots to assault opposing goalies. Also, when the need arises, he will now be on his forehand, which should help him pass the puck with more velocity and accuracy when the defenses converge on him.

Other Options: There isn’t a lot of speed or skill on the bench for Washington, most of these guys are fringe GDL draft options.

Kelly Miller: 8 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

Sort of the in between option of Carpenter and Ridley, Miller is more of a plugger than anything else. The plus skills and skating get balanced out by the near heavyweight status, the definition of a fringe player.

Pat Elynuik: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/5 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

A one trick pony, Elynuik can snipe the biscuit, not a bad guy to stash in the 6th forward spot and hope never sees the light of day.

Michal Pivonka: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Another statue with a slightly above average skill set. It’s good to know that if the Caps lose 3 of these guys in a game that there is still another one floating around.

Forwards: 6/10

Defense: To further compound the frustrations of the Capitals roster, the two highest rated defenseman are nearly impossible to ice. Luckily, there is still a serviceable pairing to be found.

Johansson-Cote

Calle Johansson: 9 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/1 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/ 4 aware, Shoots: L

For whatever reason, Johansson seems to get much better reviews then another fellow heavyweight, Igor Kravchuk. Go back and look at Kravchuk’s ratings, I’ll wait. You back now? Pretty damn similar aren’t they? Johansson may not be fleet of foot, but he’s got it where it counts, he can move the puck, he can skate, and he’s a cerebral player that uses the poke

check and holding to survive against on rushing forwards. He fits in nicely on his natural side and by not sticking him behind Ridley, it evens out the fatties on the ice by not isolating them together.

Sylvain Cote: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/ 4 aware, Shoots: R

The lone option on the blue line that isn’t at the mercy of the weight bug, Cote is a serviceable defenseman and a perfectly fine #2 option, but he’s stretched a little thin on the Caps. There isn’t a whole lot to say about Cote because of how unremarkable he is. He isn’t slow, but he’s liable to get ditched by speedsters. He isn’t fat, but he can’t exactly dominate the game physically. He won’t kill the team offensively, but he isn’t about to kick start an onslaught either. Cote is just a man, appreciate what he does, you could be a lot worse off.

A perfectly capable duo, they just aren’t going to carry this underwhelming team to the promise land. They will need to be on their “A” game though as the goaltending situation isn’t something to be relied upon.

Cote-Iafrate

Al Iafrate: 11 weight, 4/4 skating, 6/2 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: L

Who doesn’t love 6 shot power? I know I sure as hell love it, I just wish Iafrate came in a package that made it a bit easier to unleash it on a regular basis. Alas, with his super heavyweight status, Iafrate’s total skill package is very difficult to use as most any forward in the league can dump him on his keyster with a simple body check. As long as he stays on his skates though, Iafrate is easily Washington’s most skilled and dangerous defenseman.

This setup leaves Ridley and Iafrate isolated together on the right, but putting Iafrate on his natural side doesn’t make any sense either since he can’t easily unleash his howler of a slapper.

Other Options:

Kevin Hatcher: 12 weight, 3/3 skating, 5/2 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: R

Despite owning a well above average skill set for a defenseman, Hatcher is nearly impossible to ice due to his weight and sluggish skating. It’s a real shame, two 5+ slap shot power shooters on the blueline could really cause some problems for opposing goalies.

Defense: 5/10

Goalie Zone: In dire need of a rock in net, the Caps have themselves the 2nd worst starting goalie among non-expansion teams.

Don Beaupre: 4 weight, 3/ 4 skating, 3 puck control, 3/3/3/3 save, Catches: L

A perfectly cromulent goalie, Beaupre is usually passable for a manual control goalie extraordinaire as he is lightweight and fairly mobile. In auto goalie mode though, Beaupre is a prime target for all types of offense and he won’t put up much objection.

Goalies: 3.5/10

Bottom Line: Washington is amongst the most frustrating teams to use among the established franchises. A lack of chemistry, plus talent, and goaltending leaves Washington on the sidelines of almost every classic league. Want a challenge, win it all with Washington.

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I'm no Smoz, but I'm gonna do my best.

The Caps are pretty much transformed in Blitz and the SNES. Both Iafrate and Hatcher become wrecking balls with Howitzer-type shots that'll cause a lot of problems. Ridley is now a factor because his weight will help shrug off body checks from less heavy players and it won't hurt his playmaking abilities. With the right playmaker, both Khristich and Bondra can score a lot of goals and Pete will be able to use his speed to avoid getting knocked on his butt provided you're able to use him well.

A fringe option from the rest of the forwards is Dale Hunter. Decent checker, not too bad of a shot, but both his stickhandling and skating abilities are subpar, so he's only a sub option. Carpenter and Miller become decent options in case someone gets hurt, but some skill is required for both.

As for goaltending, I suppose you could do much worse if we include the expansion teams. Beaupre is sort of a lovable loser who's got mediocre skills, he can move well enough that you'll stop some shots manually.

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CB Notes

Forwards

Dmitri Khristich: Not a whole lot of help has been provided for Khristich as his plodding ways will always make it tricky to get consistently high end performances from him. Washington is full of under skilled middleweights which allows Khristich to retain a hold on his starting spot somewhere in the mix of things.

Peter Bondra: Remaining bottom man on the 6 speed totem poll, Bondra is still a straight line burner who may have issues dealing with the new influx of mobile CB checkers. Still a man without an ideal position, Bondra should be placed wherever the user feels most comfortable with him, his skill set should come in use somewhere.

Mike Ridley: With some CB utility, Ridley remains the best of the rest of a mediocre forward unit in DC. He might be a better fit on his natural wing but feeding Khristich will be a whole lot easier from RW as Ridley's most useful trait is still his ability to pass the puck proficiently. Moving Ridley to LW and Bondra to C could warrant consideration as they are now the two most able forwards defensively if the Caps go down a man.

Bob Carpenter: If Khristich seems a bit too slow for your liking give Carpenter a whirl as his speed will help him keep up better in quicker paced games. He is an able enough passer and his skating could give a slower 6 weight defender an issue from time to time and help open up some offensive chances that the Caps can take advantage of.

New Line:

Bondra-Ridley-Carpenter

A more mobile line can not be constructed and there is enough talent here to make it work. Bondra and his lack of agility will always be more effective on his natural wing and Ridley is the second best one-timing option on the roster. Carpenter is on his off wing but he is there to mostly be a grinding nuisance a la Steve Thomas. He can use float shots to drive to the net for rebound chances if left unchecked. Washington has a tough time finding chemistry and this line may be the closest thing they come to in terms of a successful science project.

Kelly Miller: A bit more talented than Carpenter and another reasonable RW option, Miller may just be a tad bit too heavy for the Washington lineup as the forward ranks become rather hefty without premium type puck skills to back it up with.

Pat Elynuik: Still a one trick pony who is best used as insurance if Khristich bites the dust.

Michel Pivonka: A lesser version of Miller, Pivonka will always be a bit player due to his lack of speed and elusiveness up front. He can be useful if given space but there aren't enough defenders in the league for him to take advantage of and he isn't a good enough shooter to be of consistent use.

Defense

Calle Johansson: In an odd development Johansson has received an upgrade as he is a useful CB checker and puck mover but he may have still lost his job due to others receiving bigger boosts. With that said, Johansson is easily the most balanced defender as his skills and defensive ability make him a solid 2 way presence

Sylvain Cote: Despite a passable skill set, Cote is a bit of a bland option with the puck when considering the likes of Iafrate, Johansson, and Hatcher are also available. He still likely retains a spot in the starting duo due to the fact that Cote brings optimal balance to the table. The other options previously mentioned are all 9+ weight, this can make it too easy for opponents to hound the Caps with a ferocious fore check. Hence Cote's services must likely be retained.

Al Iafrate: Sadly Iafrate won't have an easier time unleashing his cannon slap shot but there is some light at the end of the tunnel as Iafrate has become one of the most feared CB checkers in the game. 11 weight paired with 4/4 speed have increased his value ten fold defensively as very few players will be able to escape his wrath. The steady play of Johansson will likely fall victim to the higher ceiling play of Iafrate, not such a bad thing for the Caps as they have very few game breakers on offense or defense.

Kevin Hatcher: CB tech just loves the Caps blue line as Hatcher is another big beneficiary but probably not enough so to warrant a starting spot. The downgrade in skating from Iafrate will be noticeable as the extra uptick in weight may prove a bit cumbersome, especially in open ice. Hatcher does remain a fantastic sub and could be a sleeper option in future GDL drafts if paired with the right teammates.

Any starting combo among these four provide an interesting set of strengths and weaknesses. Don't be afraid to play to your style of play and the opposing lineup to find the optimal pair. Playing one pair 100% of the time downplays the effectiveness and versatility of this unit.

Paul Cavallini: 10 weight, 3/3 skating 3/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

As the #5 option Cavallini wont see much if any ice time but he should be kept in mind for future GDL drafts. He brings a competent skill set and sufficient enough CB check presence to be a respectable option off the bench. Just don't go nuts with him and try to lead a Bobby Orr type of attack.

Bottom Line

While remaining a weird team with chemistry issues, the Caps do pick up a lot of ground with a vastly improved defense. With four starting options on defense and the appropriate game plan, they can limit the chances that Don Beaupre will have to face and that should aid them greatly in their designs of competing with superior teams.

Not much help was gained offensively but the increased effectiveness in Ridley's defensive game could allow him to help create more chances which hopefully lead to easy goals that Khristich and Bondra should be able to cash in on. Still an underdog of a team, they should be a plucky group that keeps things close and wins their share of close games.

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