Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette feels they can still win in 2021-22

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Peter Laviolette feels Capitals can still win in 2021-22 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Despite finishing the condensed 2021 regular season as one of the NHL's best teams, the Washington Capitals were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season.

With an aging roster and three consecutive early exits from the postseason, some fans are beginning to wonder whether the Capitals' window with its current core group of stars is beginning to close.

Washington head coach Peter Laviolette doesn't feel that way at all, though.

"I do feel that this team could still win next year," Laviolette said on the Sports Junkies on Thursday.

"I'm sure I'll talk this summer with [general manager] Brian [MacLellan] and we'll figure out what the best lineup is, what the best roster is. I still believe there are good pieces here and the [core players], I still feel like they can produce."

Between Alex Ovechkin (assuming he re-signs, something that is a priority for the Capitals this offseason), Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and T.J. Oshie, four of Washington's most important players are all 31 years old or older.

While all four have remained productive, there is a sense that there is only so much time all of them will continue to play at a high level.

Laviolette is not worried about them falling off, though.

"These guys are here. They're part of our team," Laviolette said. "These guys are the guys that drive our team as well. Backstrom was our leading scorer. John Carlson was probably top-five for defenseman scoring, points per game. These guys drive our team as well."

The Capitals' core getting older is not something the head coach is trying to hide, either. But he doesn't think the ages of the team's best players will impact Washington as it attempts to make another Stanley Cup run in 2021-22 in what should be a much more normal season.

"For me, I think that there's still a really good team here. There's no question we're getting older," Laviolette said. "The guys that have been here, the core guys, I still think that the core guys produced and helped us be a top-five team in the league. We played a pretty good hockey team and we didn't come out the way we wanted to."