Description: The Capitals have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a seven-year contract.
Insight: With Kris Letang and Paul Martin dealing with injuries for most of the season, the 27-year-old Niskanen stepped up and served as the Penguins top blueliner. He finished with 10 goals and 36 assists in 81 games, all career highs. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to quite reach those numbers again.
Description: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin suffered a right leg injury Sunday while representing his native Russia at the IIHF World Championships. SOURCE: Stephen Whyno, Canadian Press
Insight: He had to be helped off the ice. Until we know the full extent of Ovechkin's injury it's tough to speculate on how much time he might miss. The reigning Hart Trophy winner has led the league in goals each of the last two seasons.
Description: Washington right wing Alex Ovechkin finished with an NHL-high 51 goals this season.
Insight: Ovechkin reached 50 goals for the first time since 2010 and the fifth time in his career. He also had 28 assists, 386 shots on goal and 48 penalty minutes, so fantasy owners were able to overlook his -35 rating (third-worst in NHL).
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (upper body) is not expected to play Friday.
Insight: Green suffered an upper-body injury last Saturday against the Islanders and may sit out the rest of the season with the Capitals eliminated from playoff contention. He has nine goals, 29 assists, 64 PIM and 172 SOG in 70 games.
Description: Washington right wing Joel Ward has produced five points (two goals, three assists) over his last three games.
Insight: The 33-year-old had a goal and two assists Thursday and now has 24 goals and 24 assists (48 points) in 80 games. He never had more than 17 goals, 21 assists or 35 points in a season prior to this one.
Description: Washington right wing Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career Tuesday in a win over St. Louis.
Insight: It's the first time Ovechkin has reached 50 goals since 2010. He's one of five players to reach that threshold in the last five seasons (Corey Perry, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby).
Description: Nicklas Backstrom kept Washington's slim playoff hopes alive by providing two goals in Tuesday night's win over St. Louis.
Insight: Backstrom is now tied for seventh in the league in points (77). Depending on what happens over the last three games of the season, this could potentially be the first time since 2004 that a player other than Alex Ovechkin has led the Capitals in scoring.
Description: Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski (sprained left ankle) said he's ready to return but noted that it is up to the doctors and coaches whether he plays Saturday aganst the Bruins, according to Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan.
Insight: Grabovski (12 G, 21 A) missed 21 of the last 22 games with his injury.
Description: Washington center Nicklas Backstrom never returned to Tuesday's game after suffering an upper-body injury.
Insight: Backstrom (13 G, 57 A) suffered the injury in the second period when Kings defenseman Drew Doughty slammed him into the glass. According to csnwashington.com, coach Adam Oates said that Backstrom was removed for precautionary reasons. The Caps' next game is on Saturday against the Bruins, so Backstrom has three days to rest.
Description: Capitals 21-year-old center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first career goal Tuesday against the Kings.
Insight: His shorthanded tally tied the game at four with less than a minute left in the third period. Kuznetsov has produced six points in eight games since he made his NHL debut fresh from the KHL on March 10. He should be added in most leagues.
Description: Dustin Penner scored his first goal since he joined the Capitals Tuesday against the Kings.
Insight: The Ducks surprisingly dealt Penner to Washington at the trade deadline. He's recorded just three points in 11 games with his new team while skating under 13 minutes per game. There's no reason to own him in most leagues.
Description: Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup with a lower-body injury, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.
Insight: Braden Holtby got the start after Halak took warmups. The injury is not considered serious. "He's OK," coach Adam Oates said. "I think he could come back and play Tuesday." Halak has stabilized the Capitals' goaltending situation by posting a 2.13 GAA and a .935 SV% in seven starts with the team.
Description: Capitals forward Brooks Laich (groin) will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his groin, according to the Washington Post.
Insight: Laich aggravated a nagging groin injury earlier this month and has been in and out of the lineup lately. He had been skating on the top line and produced three goals and six points over his last seven games; the spot will be filled by Marcus Johansson.
Insight: Laich aggravated a nagging groin injury earlier this month and has been in and out of the lineup lately. When healthy he has been playing on the top line and produced three goals and six points his last seven games.
Description: Capitals youngster Evgeny Kuznetsov is expected to skate with the No. 2 line on Saturday night.
Insight: The 21-year-old put up three assists in Friday's 4-3 win over Vancouver and is expected to play alongside Troy Brouwer and Casey Wellman. Time to add him to your roster, if he's still out there.
Description: Capitals forward Brooks Laich will play Friday, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.
Insight: Laich aggravated a nagging groin injury earlier this month and had to sit out Tuesday, but he has put up a point in each of his last three games and six points in his last six while skating primarily on the top line.
Description: Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer has scored eight goals in his last 10 games.
Insight: Brouwer entered February with just 10 goals and 24 points all season, but he's picked up his production since then. He has 32 points and 121 SOG in 65 games, which represents a huge dropoff from last season's 33 points and 111 SOG in 47 games.
Description: Capitals forward Brooks Laich played through a groin injury and scored a goal Saturday.
Insight: Laich has dealt with a nagging groin injury the last two seasons and aggravated it Wednesday, but he was able to give it a go and skated nearly 19 minutes against Phoenix. Laich has been getting playing time with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom recently and has put up three goals and five points in his last five games.
Description: The Capitals have signed prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov to an entry-level contract. He'll make his debut Monday against Pittsburgh, according to Bob McKenzie of tsn.ca.
Insight: The 21-year-old was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft and just came to an agreement with his KHL team to end his contract seven weeks early after the team failed to make the playoffs. Kuznetsov had eight goals and 13 assists in 34 games in the KHL this season after putting up 38 goals and 46 assists in 100 games the previous two seasons. It's unclear what role or positon he'll play.
Description: Capitals forward Brooks Laich (groin) will play Saturday, according to the Washington Post.
Insight: Laich has dealt with a nagging groin injury the last two seasons and aggravated it Wednesday. He didn't skate Thursday, Friday or Saturday morning, so it's surprising that he's playing. Laich has been getting playing time with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom recently and had four points in his last four games.
Description: Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski (sprained left ankle) will not play Saturday, according to the Washington Post.
Insight: Grabovski (12 G, 21 A) missed 13 games in a row and aggravated his injury in his return to the lineup Thursday. He's hoping to skate next week. If we had to guess, Grabovski probably will sit out the home and home against the Penguins on Monday and Tuesday. The Caps then have two days off before playing the Canucks on Friday.
Description: Capitals forward Brooks Laich will be a game-time decision Saturday due to a groin injury, according to the Washington Post.
Insight: Laich has dealt with a nagging groin injury the last two seasons and aggravated it Wednesday. He didn't skate Thursday, Friday or Saturday morning and probably won't play Saturday night. Laich has been getting playing time with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom recently and had four points in his last four games.
Description: Washington's newly-acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak will make his Capitals debut on Saturday.
Insight: Halak never played a game for the Sabres after being traded from the Blues. He'll have his hands full with a less-than stellar defense in front of him. Halak was 24-9-4 with a 2.23 GAA and .917 SV% in St. Louis.
Description: Goalie Jaroslav Halak wasn't in Buffalo for long. He's on the move again, this time to the Washington Capitals. SOURCE: Bob McKenzie, TSN
Insight: Halak never played a game for the Sabres after being traded from the Blues. He'll presumably will replace Braden Holtby as Washington's starter. The Caps are a below-average defensive team but nowhere near as terrible as Buffalo.
Description: The Ducks traded Dustin Penner to the Washington Capitals Tuesday. Anaheim got back a fourth-round draft pick.
Insight: Penner had 21 points (nine goals), a +17 rating and 51 SOG his first 22 games this season, but he only put up 11 points, a +5 and 49 SOG in his last 27. He's unlikely to gain more fantasy value with Washington, as he was skating with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim, unless the Caps give him power-play time.
Description: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin dominated the Bruins Saturday at TD Garden.
Insight: Both of Ovechkin's goals came on the power play. Saturday marked his seventh multi-goal effort of the season. Ovechkin's 43 goals this year are 11 more than anyone else in the NHL (Phil Kessel and Joe Pavelski are tied with 32 each).
Description: Caps center Nicklas Backstrom had two assists Thursday against the Panthers.
Insight: Backstrom was not allowed to participate in the gold medal game for Sweden in the Sochi Olympics for using an allergy medication that contained a banned substance, but the substance is not banned by the NHL and he wasn't disciplined. His 47 assists rank third in the NHL.
Description: Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski sustained a lower-body injury during Thursday's game and is questionable to return, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.
Insight: Grabovski may have aggravated the ankle injury that caused him to sit out Washington's last eight games before the Olympic break. Prior to the injury, he hadn't picked up a point in his last five games.
Description: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he doesn't anticipate there being any consequences for Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom using a banned substance at the Olympics. SOURCE: nhl.com
Insight: Backstrom was not allowed to participate in the gold medal game for Sweden against Canada Sunday for using an allergy medication that contained a banned substance. The substance isn't prohibited by the NHL, however.
Description: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom didn't play for Sweden in the gold medal game against Canada Sunday because he tested positive for a banned substance, according to yahoosports.com.
Insight: An NHLPA source told Yahoo! Sports that Backstrom violated anti-doping rules after using an allergy medication. It was first reported that Backstrom would miss the game due to a migraine. Canada blanked Sweden, 3-0, to win its second straight men's ice hockey gold medal and third in four Olympics.
Description: The Olympic break is ending but Washington right wing Alex Ovechkin is still in Russia tending to his ailing father. SOURCE: ESPN
Insight: Ovechkin's father recently underwent heart surgery. It's unknown if Ovechkin will be back in time for next Thursday's game against Florida. The three-time Hart Trophy winner leads the NHL with 40 goals in 2013-14.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (concussion) expects to return to action next Thursday at Florida, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.
Insight: Green (7 G, 23 A) suffered a concussion Jan. 30 against Columbus when he was checked into the boards and missed the last five games before the Olympic break. He has passed concussion tests and is ready to play.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (head) is expected to miss Tuesday's game against the NY Islanders.
Insight: Green was knocked out of last Thursday's game at Columbus with a head injury after being checked into the boards and missed the last two games. He skated for a short time Monday, but isn't ready to return.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (upper body) is out Friday. He left Thursday's game in the first period after being hit into the boards by Columbus' Boone Jenner.
Insight: Green used to be a top-three fantasy defensman, but those days are in the past. He's still a viable blueliner with seven goals and 23 assists on 129 shots, but he's no longer a point-a-night guy and his -9 rating is indicative of a Capitals defense that is struggling.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green left Thursday's game in the first period after being hit into the boards by Columbus' Boone Jenner and is questionable for Friday's game against Detroit.
Insight: Green used to be a top-three fantasy defensman, but those days are in the past. He's still a viable blueliner with seven goals and 23 assists on 129 shots, but he's no longer a point-a-night guy and his -9 rating is indicative of a Capitals defense which is struggling.
Description: Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski (sprained left ankle) is questionable for Friday's game against Detroit.
Insight: Grabovski hasn't skated with the team since Jan. 24, according to a Washington Post report, which means we're leaning toward another missed game. He's scored 12 goals and 21 assists in 49 games this season and is a useful center when healthy.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green left Thursday's game in the first period after being hit into the boards by Columbus' Boone Jenner. SOURCE: Washington Post
Insight: Green went headfirst in the glass after being checked by Jenner near the end boards. He was motionless on the ice for several minutes before making it off under his own power. He emerged from the dressing room roughly 10 minutes after the hit and skated briefly during a television timeout, but he retreated back down the tunnel soon after and is likely done for the night.
Description: Caps right wing Alex Ovechkin wasn't at practice on Thursday and remains questionable for Friday's game against New Jersey. SOURCE: Washington Post
Insight: He did travel with the team, which is always a good sign. The NHL's leading goal scorer missed Tuesday's game against Ottawa because of a lower body injury. It was only his third absence of the season.
Description: No Alex Ovechkin meant no goals for Washington Tuesday against Ottawa.
Insight: Any absence for Ovechkin is a disaster for fantasy owners as he's one of the top scorers in the NHL. And it didn't help the Caps either as they got shut out 2-0. He has three goals in his last four games and 35 in 47 games this season to lead the league. The 260 SOG and 34 PIM offset his rather ugly -16 rating.
Description: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin will be a game-time decision due to a lower-body injury, according to Capitals beat writer Katie Carrera.
Insight: Any absence for Ovechkin is a disaster for fantasy owners as he's one of the top scorers in the NHL. He has three goals in his last four games and 35 in 47 games this season to lead the league. The 260 SOG and 34 PIM offset his rather ugly -16 rating.
Description: Washington netminder Braden Holtby replaced Philip Grubauer for the second straight game Sunday at New York and made 17 saves on 18 shots in 42 minutes.
Insight: The Caps gave Holtby an extended break after he allowed 18 goals in just 190 minutes (5.68 GAA) over a four-game span from Dec. 10 to Jan. 4, but he's had to come in for Grubauer the last two games and could be close to reclaiming the starting job.
Description: Capitals right wing Eric Fehr delivered two goals including the game-winner with 52 seconds left Thursday against Tampa Bay.
Insight: It was Fehr's first two-goal game in almost three years (March 9, 2011 against Edmonton). Fehr (eight goals, 11 assists in 34 contests) isn't a must-start by any means but he's somebody to keep an eye out for if you happen to see him on the waiver wire.
Description: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin ended a four-game point drought with a goal Thursday against Carolina.
Insight: Coach Adam Oates moved Ovechkin to the second line Thursday as a motivational tactic after Ovechkin failed to post a single point while taking 31 SOG his previous four games. He took nine more shots Thursday and finally found the net on one of them. Ovechkin has attempted 5.59 SOG per game this season.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green scored just his second goal of the season Sunday.
Insight: Green had 12 goals last season and 96 in his career, but he just hasn't been able to hit the back of the net this season despite taking 2.7 SOG per game. He's still on pace for 44 points due to his 14 assists in 30 games.
Description: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin netted four goals in Tuesday's overtime win against the Lightning.
Insight: Ironically, he missed his only chance in the shootout period. Tuesday marked Ovechkin's third four-goal game and the 13th hat trick of his career. He needs six more hat tricks to tie Peter Bondra's team record. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 26 goals this season.
Description: Washington defenseman John Carlson assisted on both of his team's goals Friday against Montreal.
Insight: With Mike Green out, Carlson has been Washington's top D-man on the power play recently. Green returned to the ice Friday night, but Carlson still saw plenty of time on the power play and had one of his assists with the man advantage. The 23-year-old has five goals, 11 points and 57 SOG in 23 games.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (lower body) should be back Friday, according to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post.
Insight: Green has missed three straight games with a lower-body injury. He skated Tuesday without pain but coach Adam Oates did not want to throw him into the fire in a tough matchup versus Pittsburgh Wednesday.
Description: Capitals defenseman Mike Green (lower body) practiced without pain Tuesday but is questionable for Wednesday's game.
Insight: According to csnwashington.com, coach Adam Oates doesn't want to put Green in a tough situation after missing a week. "He’s missed a lot of time and it’s a big game," Oates said. "I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s behind the 8-ball. He hasn’t been able to do a lot of cardio, so I’m a little worried about his conditioning."
Description: Capitals forward Marcus Johansson scored his first goal of the season and had one assist Tuesday against the Islanders.
Insight: Johansson had 10 assists in his first 10 games but had not scored a point in the last four contests. The Capitals moved Johansson off the top 5-on-5 line but he is still skating with the top power-play unit and should be able to maintain solid fantasy value.
Description: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had three assists Tuesday against the Islanders.
Insight: Having Alex Ovechkin back certainly helped Backstrom -- two of his three assists went to No. 8. The 25-year-old Backstrom has five goals and 14 assists in 15 games this season, production that should be sustainable.
Description: Caps center Nicklas Backstrom netted two goals and an assist Friday in a blowout victory over Philadelphia.
Insight: It didn't take long for this one to get out of hand. Washington jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two periods and added another for good measure in the third. The 25-year-old Backstrom now has four goals for the season.
Description: Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth will start Monday at Vancouver.
Insight: Starter Braden Holtby was pulled from Saturday's game after allowing three goals in the first 13 minutes, but he's mostly settled down after a terrible start. Neuvirth is 1-1-0 with a 3.08 GAA and an .893 SV% in three games, so the team is in no hurry to make a change in net.
Description: Capitals winger Martin Erat moved up to the second line and had three assists Saturday night.
Insight: Erat produced between 49-58 points in every season from 2003-04 to 2011-12, but he skated just 8:46 per game as a member of the fourth line this season and didn't have a point until Saturday. He should remain on the second line with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer.
Description: After playing just 8:46 per game as a fourth-line winger over the first seven games this season, Martin Erat will move up to the Capitals second line.
Insight: Erat produced between 49-58 points in every season from 2003-04 to 2011-12 and he had 21 points in 36 games with Nashville before being traded last season, but in 16 games with Washington he has one goal and three points. Skating with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer on the second line should help him see more ice time -- Brouwer is skating 18:49 per game this season.
Description: The Capitals have moved Mikhail Grabovski off the second line, according to CSNWashington.com.
Insight: Grabovski had a hat trick and one assist in the season opener but has two points in his last six games. Caps coach Adam Oates will go with Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer and Martin Erat on the second line.
Description: Washington winger Alex Ovechkin left Tuesday's practice due to fatigue, according to the Washington Post.
Insight: Capitals coach Adam Oates said that Ovechkin was a "little tired from last night" and asked to leave practice. "He kind of wasn't feeling 100 percent, so he said, 'Let me get out of here.' So I said, 'Sure.'" Ovechkin, who has six goals and nine points in six games this season, should be ready for Wednesday's game against the Rangers.
Description: Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth will start Saturday against the 4-0 Avalanche.
Insight: Even though Braden Holtby has allowed 13 goals in his first four games and has a 4.04 GAA and an .873 SV%, the Caps have refrained from using Neuvirth since he relieved Holtby on Oct. 3. This will be his first start of the season.
Description: Capitals goalie Braden Holtby showed improvement Saturday at Dallas, but he'll need to do a bit more to hold onto his starting job.
Insight: Holtby gave up two goals to Dallas, a step forward after allowing eight in his first two starts, but he saw only 21 SOG. The 24-year-old has allowed 10 goals on just 56 shots in three games (.848 SV%).
Description: Capitals goalie Braden Holtby will start Saturday's game despite allowing eight goals in his first 75:37 this season.
Insight: The 24-year-old gave up five goals in the season opener at Chicago and was pulled after letting in three in the first 16:22 Thursday versus Calgary. He also got off to a terrible start last season before turning things around.
Description: The Capitals put goalie Braden Holtby on the bench after he allowed three goals in the first 16:22 Thursday against the Flames.
Insight: The 24-year-old gave up five goals in the season opener at Chicago, so he's off to a terrible start for the second straight season. Last year, he had a 4.74 GAA after his first five appearances but ended up at 2.58.
Description: Washington winger Alex Ovechkin had two goals, one assist and 11 SOG in Thursday's game against the Flames.
Insight: The Capitals fell behind 4-1 in the second period but ended up sending the game to overtime and winning in a shootout. Ovechkin is primed for another huge year and should be selected in the top three picks in all fantasy leagues.
Description: Washington winger Alex Ovechkin has returned from his weekend in Greece where he was part of the Olympic torch ceremony and should be ready to go when the Capitals open up their season on Tuesday against Chicago.
Insight: Ovechkin totaled a league-leading 32 goals on 220 shots last season with 24 assists for 56 points. He's the best at his position and a must start whenever he's in uniform.