The Washington Capitals were among the best in the NHL in the 56-game shortened 2021 season. They finished with 77 points and a +28 goal differential, landing them second in the East Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. They ended up losing a tough first-round series that involved 3 overtime battles to the Boston Bruins.
The Capitals have managed to remain competitive in the three seasons following their Stanley Cup win in 2018 having made the playoffs all three years. However, each year they have made an early exit from the post-season at the hands of a first-round defeat. They’ll look to regain the magic of 2018 this upcoming year, starting by rebuilding the roster in the 2021 Draft.
Let’s take a look at each of the Washington Capitals key draft picks, their season-opening matchup in mid-October, and their futures odds for this upcoming season.
Draft Moves and Additions
The Capitals had to wait until the second round to make their first selection this year, at 55th overall. With that pick, they chose a defenseman by the name of Vincent Iorio. Iorio was slotted as the 27th best defenseman in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting. He is a towering presence at 6’3” and just under 200 pounds.
The Capitals also went defense on their next two picks, 80th and 119th overall, taking Brent Johnson and Joaquim Lemay respectively. Johnson is much smaller, at 5’11” and only 160 pounds. He is a much quicker, nimbler skater than some of the larger defensemen in the draft, and will look to add some speed and quickness to Washington’s defensive core. At just 18 years old, he is committed to North Dakota to begin his college hockey career there next year.
Joaquim Lemay is a nice blend of the best attributes of the two aforementioned defensemen. At 6’1” 178, he is a leaner defenseman who will look to use his length and skating ability to disrupt opposing attacks.
All told, the Capitals prioritized defense in the early rounds of the draft, but it will still likely be a few years before any of these players has a significant impact at the NHL level.
Opening Game Odds and Analysis
The Caps open their 2021 Campaign at home against the New York Rangers on October 13th, time TBD. As one of the first 6 games of the season, most major sportsbooks have already posted the lines for this game so you can get your bets in early. Here’s a look at the available spreads, totals, and more, along with our analysis.
- Capitals -1.5 (+195) or NYR +1.5 (-240)
- Capitals ML (-125) or NYR (+105)
- Total: O6.5 (+105) or U6.5 (-125)
The Capitals are home favorites to start the year and the total is a little above average at 6.5. Taking last year’s performance into consideration, it makes sense that the Capitals are favored. As we mentioned before, they had one of the highest point totals in the league, while New York finished in the bottom half of the division, 17 points behind the Caps. With that in mind, it would be easy to expect the Capitals to roll here.
One of our other favorite stats to take into consideration is each team’s goal differential. Despite their large gap in points, the goal differential of these two teams was relatively similar. Washington finished +28, while New York finished at +20. This tells us that New York was generally good at keeping their losses close and avoiding blowouts. With this in mind, we suggest considering betting the under, and New York ML or puck line, depending on whether or not you are ok with getting less than stellar return at (-240) for the puck line.
Team Futures for 2021 (Via DraftKings)
If long-term bets are more your style, major sportsbooks have also published futures lines for the 2021 season. Here’s a quick look at where the Washington Capitals sit on DraftKings right now.
The caps are 3rd favorites to win the Metropolitan Division, at +525. In terms of odds, this ties them with the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes.
Overall in the Eastern Conference, the Caps are once again given the same odds as the Rangers and Hurricanes at +1200 to bring home the conference title.
Finally, in the overall Stanley Cup odds, the story is much the same. The Caps rank near the middle-top of the pack, tied with the Rangers and Hurricanes for the 11th shortest odds to win it all. They are currently being offered at +2500.