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Season Preview: Washington Capitals

Reporters recently had a sit down interview with Washington Capitals GM Jahnoel Sanders to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.

We had a sit down with Washington Capitals GM Jahnoel Sanders to get his thoughts on the upcoming season. He talked about some of the transactions he made this offseason, his thoughts on some line combinations, as well as his expectations heading into the season.

Reporter: Once the dispersal draft started, you made it clear you were in win now mode. You may have passed up on some younger talent with maybe some more “potential” in order to get a player that’s in the prime now. Can you comment on that, maybe what your gameplan was and how you think you executed on it?

Jahnoel Sanders: I mean ultimately the goal is to win a Stanley Cup. Every team goes in with that same goal in mind. With that said, the blue print may look a little bit different from one team to another. I felt that the city of Washington deserves a winning team and we thought we could give them that with some of the selections we made. Guys like Brad Marchand, Matt Duchene, Morgan Reilly, Willy Nylander, Cody Ceci, all these selections were guys that are playing at the top of their game. And we can go on further down the list and our theme was similar. Players who are in the prime of their careers, who can help us win now and in the next few years. I think we did a good job of accomplishing that at the draft and more recently with a few trades.

Reporter: Speaking of trades. You made a few trades after the draft to add even more experience and skill into the lineup. Brought in guys like Kopitar, TJ Brodie, and quite recently Patrick Kane. How are these acquisitions going to fit into your team and what do you feel they can bring to your lineup on a nightly basis?

Jahnoel Sanders: Well first and foremost my goal was to construct a roster that I feel has a chance to win every night. We got some great players in return, but we had to give up really good players. Guys like Pavel Zacha, Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Binnington, Matt Grzelcyk. These gentleman are great players, great people and we wish them nothing but the best.

With that said when guys like Kopitar and Patrick Kane become available you do what you can to bring them over. These gentleman bring in that valuable Stanley Cup experience that we think is important for our team. These players are not depth options we are bringing over, they are top tier players that gives our top 6 and special teams a huge boost. We are beyond excited to have them and believe our roster is in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup this year and for years to come.

Reporter: When you look on paper, you see guys like Patrick Kane, Matt Duchene, Brad Marchand, Anze Kopitar, Tom Wilson, William Nylander. These would be guys I assume make up the top 6 of your lineup and a hell of a top 6 at that. What are your thoughts on the bottom 6 of your lineup, do they have what it takes to compete for a Cup?

Jahnoel Sanders: Absolutely. When you got a guy like Jordan Staal and Luke Glendenning down the middle in your bottom 6 you are in great shape. Both these guys play the game the right way. They play on both sides of the puck and will compliment our bottom 6 wingers. Evan Rodrigues, Mike Hoffman, Zach Sanford, Trevor Lewis, Gregg Mckegg, will provide us with depth on the wings. Hoffman and Rodrigues provide a scoring touch and can move up the lineup if necessary. The other guys are tough to play against, hard on pucks, grind and wear the opposition down and create some positive momentum.

Reporter: With all the big names up front, your D core does not seem to possess the same high end talent or accolades. What is your confidence level with them? Is it a finished product? Or still a work in progress?

Jahnoel Sanders: I am confident with what we got right now. Maybe they don’t get the recognition that some of our offensive players get but we have a solid group back there. Morgan Reilly is a tremendous hockey player. He logs a lot of minutes and plays consistently against the best players on a nightly basis. Cody Ceci a solid veteran dman who will also log a lot of minutes for us, and we are confident he can do that at a high level. Brodie is a guy who has played both up and down a lineup in his career. We like the mix that we have. I am always looking to make our team better and if the opportunity arises we will look at it, but to start the season we are confident in that group.

Reporter: One last question. What would be your message to the Capital fans who say Stanley Cup or bust?

Jahnoel Sanders: I would tend to agree with them. I think we have what it takes to get to the dance. Once your there, anything can happen. So that is our focus. We got a great team, lots of Playoff experience and a coach in Paul Maurice who is just as hungry. I like our chances and have all the confidence in our group. I am excited to get going.

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