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Can the Caps Win 50-Plus Games Again?

Although they may never win a Stanley Cup, the Capitals seem to dominate in the regular season more often than they don’t. Sportsbooks are guessing they do the same thing in 2017-18 and they’ve pegged Washington with the highest regular-season win total on the board.

The Caps’ 55 wins last year were by far the most in the NHL with the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Blackhawks all tied for second with 50 two-point efforts apiece.

Can Washington be that good again after failing to improve much in the offseason? BetOnline set their OVER/UNDER at 50.5, a number they’ve breached in two straight years but one that could be a bit ambitious.

Winning more than 50 games in a sport where there’s so much variance is tough enough to do once. Doing it three times in a row in the salary cap era? Just about impossible.

Committing most of their resources to signing players to long-term deals, the Capitals could finally see their regular-season results slip a little. The Metropolitan was the most top-heavy division in 2016-17 but with competition expected to crank back up, it’s unlikely that three teams from the Metro win 50 games again and of the Pens, Caps and Jackets, Washington is the most due for regression.

Slotting in with the second-highest total at 47.5 it’s Connor McDavid and the upstart Edmonton Oilers. Their 47 victories last season were the most the franchise had seen since the Wayne Gretzky days and they propelled the Oilers through an exciting playoff run that ended at the hands of the Ducks.

47.5 is a very eclipsable number for this team as long as No. 97 is a part of it. The second-year generational talent cleaned up at this year’s award show, taking home the Hart Memorial, Art Ross and Ted Lindsay trophies after a season in which he was the crank that turned the engine for Edmonton.

At 21, Connor is only getting better and like Sidney Crosby in his early days, McDavid gives his team a chance to win whenever he suits up. 47.5 is a conservative total for the Oilers.

Bringing up the rear it’s the newly minted Las Vegas Golden Knights with an OVER/UNDER win total of 26.5. While a 20-win season would be excruciating for the fresh-faced fans in Sin City, it’s probably going to be the Knights’ reality. General manager George McPhee dished out almost all the NHL talent he selected in the expansion draft and this team has just about no chance to compete.

Tanking has become commonplace in the NHL in recent years but Las Vegas could be the worst team we’ve seen for a long time.

2017-18 NHL Regular-Season Win Totals
  • Washington Capitals 50.5
  • Edmonton Oilers 47.5
  • Pittsburgh Penguins 46.5
  • Columbus Blue Jackets 46.5
  • Minnesota Wild 46.5
  • Anaheim Ducks 46
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 44.5
  • St. Louis Blues 44.5
  • Chicago Blackhawks 44.5
  • Boston Bruins 44.5
  • Chicago Blackhawks 44.5
  • New York Rangers 44.5
  • Tampa Bay Lightning 44
  • Nashville Predators 44
  • Montreal Canadiens 44
  • Dallas Stars 43.5
  • San Jose Sharks 43.5
  • Calgary Flames 42.5
  • New York Islanders 42.5
  • Winnipeg Jets 41.5
  • Carolina Hurricanes 41.5
  • Los Angeles Kings 40.5
  • Ottawa Senators 40
  • Florida Panthers 38.5
  • Philadelphia Flyers 38
  • Buffalo Sabres 36
  • Arizona Coyotes 33
  • New Jersey Devils 31.5
  • Vancouver Canucks 30.5
  • Colorado Avalanche 29.5
  • Las Vegas Golden Knights 26.5
Odds as of August 2 at BetOnline