Washington Capitals 2019 Fantasy Hockey Outlook

Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images /

The 2019 NHL season opens in less than three weeks. Let’s take a look at the top Washington Capitals and their 2019 fantasy hockey outlook.

The 2019-20 NHL season is upon us, as the Washington Capitals have officially started their training camp. That means fantasy hockey draft season is fast approaching. There are some basic rules to follow for fantasy hockey season but first and foremost, always read the rules of the league. Find out if penalties help or hurt you. That can swing the draft position of a player by a round or two (looking at you Tom Wilson).

Being a Capitals fan and a fantasy hockey participant go well together. Let’s take a look at the top options in DC.

Alex Ovechkin

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The Caps have a plethora of draft worthy players and it all starts with the captain Alex Ovechkin. The Great Eight continues to defy father time coming off the heels of his 8th 50+ goal season. He totaled 89 points in all and is currently ranked as the second overall option on NHL.com’s top 250.

Ovechkin turns 34 soon, but it is safe to pencil him in for a floor of 40+ goals and 75+ points. His ceiling could put him back in the 50+ goal club and he could once again be a point per game player.

He remains a power-play machine as well ranking third in the NHL last year with 18 tallies on the power-play. Ovechkin remains a slam dunk first-round pick. If your league counts shots on goal, he’s even more valuable.

John Carlson

NHL.com’s second-ranked Capitals player, which could come as a surprise to some, is defenseman John Carlson coming in at number 29. The reason for this has a ton to do with him feeding arguably the greatest goal scorer ever in Ovechkin on the power play.

Last year, Carlson finished fourth in the NHL with 31 power-play assists. With Ovechkin not showing too many signs of slowing down, that production should continue. Carlson finished fourth overall in points last season among defenseman tallying 70 overall.

He also notched a +21 rating on the season and if your league still uses that stat, Carlson has added value in that department. Look to target Carlson as early as the third round and reap the benefits. He gives you a bit of everything from blocked shots to hits to points.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov And Braden Holtby

The next two Capitals on the NHL.com list are goaltender Braden Holtby and center Evgeny Kuznetsov who come in at 52 and 53 in the rankings. For the sake of my Capitals fantasy rankings, I am going with Holtby over Kuznetsov.

Holtby will be looking for his sixth consecutive 30+ win season and will be celebrating his 30th birthday next Monday. Holtby’s performance the past few seasons has regressed but he will be playing for a contract this upcoming season.

With the Capitals projected to once again find themselves firmly in the playoff picture, Holtby should be a lock for 30 wins, a few shutouts, and a respectable GAA and save percentage.

Next, we go to Kuznetsov who is a player that should come with a buyer beware disclosure. He’s had an eventful offseason and not in a good way. The 27-year-old center is coming off of a down year in which he totaled 21 goals and 51 assists and only 23 powerplay points. This was Kuzy’s second-worst season in the last four years and he responded nicely after his first down year picking up 83 points in 2017-2018.

If your league values faceoffs for centers, which some do, he becomes an even riskier proposition. his 43.8% career mark is simply not good enough. Kuznetsov should still be on the radar to be drafted but I feel overall that he is overvalued a tad, going in the fifth round of most drafts and often over centers like O’Reilly and Bergeron among others.

Nicklas Backstrom

There was a time when Nicklas Backstrom was the second player on this list. The 31-year-old Swede could be on the downswing but still provides good fantasy value.

Last year, Backstrom had 22 goals and 52 assists overal including 25 power play points. Backstrom also finds himself in a contract year and could be poised for a big season to earn his next payday, hopefully with the Capitals.

He has been the model of consistency over his last six seasons tallying an average of 76 points and pitching in 32 power-play points. The days of 35+ power points could be over but Backstrom still has a ton of fantasy value. Still, he’s the kind of player who has more value in real life than in fantasy.

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Others To Consider

Other Capitals to consider in fantasy would be Tom Wilson and Jakub Vrana. Make sure to find out whether penalty minutes help or hurt you. Wilson is coming off a career year having potted 22 goals and 18 assists but also had 128 penalty minutes. Wilson’s first line role alongside Ovechkin and whichever star pivot makes him the better fantasy value even if PIMS hurt you.

Vrana could be a nice late-round steal. The 22-year-old is coming off of his best NHL season finally seeing consistent second line minutes and putting up 24 goals and 23 assists. Maybe you think Vrana really breaks out and you snag him earlier, but either way, the left winger has value.