The Washington Capitals joined the NHL in 1974 as an expansion team, as did the Kansas City Scouts (now New Jersey Devils). The Capitals had a humble start, failing to reach the playoffs for their first eight seasons of competition. But for 14 straight seasons, from 1983 to 1996, the Caps were able to secure a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, although they were unable to capture a Cup championship. In 1997-98 the Caps came closer than they had in years past, reaching the Stanley Cup finals where they met the Detroit Red Wings and were quickly swept in 4 games.
2005 was a monumental year for the Washington Capitals because they drafted a player that has quickly become one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history – Alexander Ovechkin. The 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons were disappointing for the Caps who missed the playoffs for the second and third years in a row but Ovechkin's rapid development provided hope for the organization. With the progress of defenseman Mike Green, the addition of Alexander Semin in 2006 and Nicklas Backstrom in 2007, the Capitals managed to move into 1st place in the Southeast Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference by the end of the 2007-08 regular season. They were eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers but had clearly turned a corner.
Although the Caps have progressed at an incredible rate over the last few seasons, they won't be satisfied until they hoist the Cup. The Capitals are absolutely stacked and are almost certain to have a legitimate shot within the next 5 years if they can hold onto the talent that currently saturates their roster.
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