Entering the league in 1974, it took it took almost a decade for the Washington Capitals to establish themselves in the NHL. They followed up their early struggled with two decades of first and second round playoff exits. It wasn’t until 2018 when they finally won their first Stanley Cup. On a team with so much playoff frustration, they often cycled through players to find the magic group to finally push them to the promised land.
Number 5- Curtis Leschyshyn
Drafted by the Nordiques in 1988 and won a Stanley Cup in 1996 as part of the Colorado Avalanche, just five months after the Cup win, Leschyshyn was traded to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Keith Jones and a 1998 first round pick. He played two games with the Caps before once again being traded, this time to the Whalers for forward Andrei Nikolishin. He didn’t record a point in either of his games with the Capitals.
Number 4- Sergei Fedorov
The famed Russian forward made his name with the Detroit Red Wings throughout the 1990’s, though his journey around the NHL started in 2003 when he signed with the Anaheim Ducks. After stints with the Ducks and Blue Jackets, Fedorov was traded to the Washington Capitals at the 2008 trade deadline after scoring just 28 points in 50 games for Columbus. The change of scenery did Fedorov well, as he scored 13 points in 18 games during the remainder of the 2007-08 season. He returned to the Capitals for the 2008-09 season and was a valuable part of the Caps as a locker room leader, praised by then-head coach Bruce Boudreau and young star Alex Ovechkin. By season’s end, Fedorov passed Alex Mogilny for the most goals scored by a Russian-born player with 474. Fedorov retired from the NHL at the end of the 2009 playoffs. He played three more seasons in Russia, fulfilling his father’s dream of having both his sons playing on the same team.
Number 3- Scott Hannan
In the summer of 2007, defenseman Scott Hannan signed a four-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche, his first taste on NHL hockey away from San Jose. A little over three years later, on November 30, 2010, Hannan was dealt to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann in an attempt to bring a veteran settling presence to young blue line. Hannan dressed for 55 games and scored five points in the regular season, and registered a single assist in nine of the Caps’ playoff games. In the offseason, he signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames.
Number 2- Tomas Vokoun
The longtime Nashville Predators goaltender signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals on July 2, 2011. The Caps started the season with a tandem of Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth, what ensued was a mix of sub-par play and injuries, eventually leading to the Capitals recalling rookie goaltender Braden Holtby. An Injury to Vokoun in early March led to Holtby’s recall, and a later injury to Neuvirth led to him staying up. The Caps made the playoffs, but Holtby started all 14 games. at the end of the season, Vokoun was traded to the Penguins in the summer of 2012 after 48 games in Washington.
Number 1- Rick Tocchet
The former head coach of the Arizona Coyotes is best remembered for his two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers, but from 1994 to 2000, Tocchet explored the NHL. He was dealt to the Penguins in 1992, traded to the Kings in 1994, traded to Boston in 1996, then on March 1, 1997, Tocchet was dealt from the Boston Bruins to the Washington Capitals as part of a six-player deal. He was brought in to help the Capitals make the playoffs, and he did his part, scoring 10 points in 13 games, but the Capitals missed the playoffs by three points. In the 1997 offseason, Tocchet signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes, ending his Caps tenure after just 13 games.
The second-winningest coach in NHL history also had a playing career that spanned 803 NHL games. Best known for his seven year tenure with the Hartford Whalers, His very last NHL team was the Washington Capitals. On the eve of the 1990-91 season Quenneville was dealt from Hartford to the Capitals for cash considerations. He only played nine games in the NHL, spending the rest of the season with their minor league affiliate the Baltimore Skipjacks. The following season, Quenneville signed a deal with the Maple Leafs, though spent the whole season in the AHL again, and he opted to retire at the end of the 1991-92 season.
Remembered for his time in Nashville and Carolina, Walker’s last NHL team was the Washington Capitals. He started the season with the Hurricanes, though a shoulder injury limited him to just 33 games played. At the trade deadline, Walker was dealt to the Caps for a seventh round draft pick. He suited up for only nine regular season games and one playoff game due to a knee injury. After the conclusion of the season, Walker announced his retirement after 829 NHL games.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
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