Commentary

Closing in on Lord Stanley's Cup

The Capitals have all the pieces, but one: a shut-down guy on defense

Originally Published: June 16, 2010
By Richard Pollock and E.J. Hradek | Puck Prospectus and ESPN The Magazine
MitchellKim Stallknecht/Getty ImagesMitchell was sorely missed by Vancouver in the playoffs. The Caps would love to add him for next year's second season.

Plugging Holes -- Washington Capitals

The Hole: More help on defense

The Capitals are coming off the wrong side of one of the biggest upsets in NHL postseason history. While there are a number of reasons for the loss to the Montreal Canadiens -- luck is legitimately one of them, too -- the Capitals still lack a shut-down defenseman. Defensemen like Mike Green, Tom Poti and John Carlson can move the puck as well as anyone, but shutdown defensemen they are not. Jeff Schultz (plus-52 goal differential at even strength) clearly made great progress last season, but he is probably more apt to fill in the No. 4 defenseman slot on the team instead of the No. 2 position.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.