Caps may have issues.
With training camps set to open up next week one has to wonder what exactly Ron Wilson and the Caps have in mind for their squad.
First, it appears that Adam Oates may not report to camp and most likely has played his last game as a Capital. He is unhappy with the way he was utilized, or the lack thereof, in the playoffs last year and recently blasted Wilson on comments he made concerning Oates. This could be a huge issue for the Caps considering Oates is a great set-up man and would be a huge asset on a line with Jagr.
Second, now that the Caps have acquired Jaromir Jagr, what will they do with their lines? Jagr and Bondra are both right wings. Who gets the top line? How will that affect either of them should the other get chosen? I am not sure there is an answer to that question. However, knowing Jagr’s need to be in the spotlight I hope for the Caps sake that Bondra is the team player here and backs down to another line. Bondra is a class act and we all know how fragile the ego of Jaromir Jagr can be.
Third, What will happen between now and the start of the season? Will there be another trade? Will Oates get dealt? Will Zubrus go? Will it be someone else or a combination of players? This is still a very gray area for the Caps and that type of uncertainty could have an impact on the chemistry of the team should it not get done soon. If it does get done soon then the Caps will need to address the lines once again to determine how they line up.
Next, What will happen with Jaromir Jagr? I believe that going into the summer that he seriously thought that he would end up lining up next to his good freind Pert Nedved in New York. He did not think that any other teams will be in the market for his services. I think his plan backfired which only spells more trouble for the Caps. Jagr was instrumental in having Kevin Constantine fired because of his disliking of Constantines defensive approach. If I were to name any other coach in the NHL that has a similar mindset on the game it would be Ron Wilson. Time will only tell if Jagr will put himself aside and the team first. Again, lets hope for the Caps sake that this will be the case.
Lastly, Will Jagr be willing to re-up with the Caps on a long term deal? I don’t think so. He wants to be in New York and therefore will play out the remaining two years on his deal and hit the FA market. This also places another burden on the Caps future.
Bottom line here is that the Caps managment first needs to see if they can get Jagr interested in an extension and sign him soon. If not it will only be more difficult later on. They also need to address the Oates situation as soon as possible so the coaching staff has time to prepare this team for the opening of the season. The coaching staff will need to put some plans into place to prepare for any scenario that may occur. If not this team could be in disarray come the start of the 2001-02 campaign.