As the Capitals' final preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks came and went Sept. 28, the roster was not finished changing. The Caps announced Sept. 29 that they had acquired a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 and left wing John Mitchell from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for center Mathieu Perreault.
During four seasons with the Caps, the 25 year-old Perreault had 70 points during 159 games. During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Perreault played consistently, scoring 22 goals and recording 25 assists (47 points) during 103 games. Perreault played in 39 of 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring six goals and adding 11 assists (17 points).
A typical grinder, the 27-year-old Mitchell scored 14 points and 48 penalty minutes during 61 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
Although many people might have wanted to keep Perreault, this trade helped make room on the roster for winger Tom Wilson. Wilson has had a strong preseason and looks ready for the NHL. With Perreault gone, Wilson will probably be slotted on the third or fourth line.
The regular season begins Oct. 1, and the Capitals are poised to make another playoff run. This will be the Capitals' first full season using head coach Adam Oates' offensive system, and they should fully understand their roles. Last season's excuse of learning on the go does not apply this season.
A major offseason roster change happened on the second line. The Capitals picked up Mikhail Grabovski to take the second-line center position after Mike Ribeiro's departure for the Phoenix Coyotes. Grabovski has looked on point during his shortened preseason with Washington.
The Capitals' season opener is against the Blackhawks at the United Center in Chicago. The Blackhawks beat the Capitals during the preseason finale, 4-3, in overtime.