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The Washington Capitals’ offseason so far has been a roller coaster, the kind that climbed the peak when Alex Ovechkin hoisted the Stanley Cup and crashed when coach Barry Trotz, now directing the New York Islanders, announced his resignation 11 days later.

While it hasnt been announced who will take the helm, the Capitals must nonetheless look forward, and there’s no better time than Friday night to do just that.

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As the Stanley Cup champions, the Caps must wait until the 31st pick of the first round to make a selection. One of their more immediate concerns could be manning the blue line with fresh talent — Washington ranked 16th in goals against per game in 2017-18, for instance — and have a wide defensive pool to fish from, including 18-year-old Bode Wilde, who decommitted from Michigan on Monday, and Jett Woo, who would be the NHL’s first first-round pick of Chinese descent.

Barry Trotz won an NHL-best 205 of his 328 regular-season games (63 percent) since taking over as Washington's coach in 2014 — and, of course, the 2018 Stanley Cup. Now he's gone. a

While their most prized Russian gem, Ovechkin, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, the Capitals have had luck picking low. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had 12 goals and 20 assists in this season’s playoffs, was selected as the 26th overall pick in 2010; defenseman John Carlson (68 points this season) was picked 27th in 2008; and Braden Holtby, responsible for “The Save” that salvaged the Capitals’ win in Game 2 of the finals, wasn’t chosen until the fourth round as No. 93 in 2008.

How to watch the draft

Day: First round, Friday; rounds 2-7: Saturday

Site: American Airlines Center, Dallas

Pre-draft coverage: NBCSN, Friday, 7 p.m.

Draft coverage: NBCSN, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; NHLN, Saturday, 11 a.m.

Stream: NBCSports.com or NBCSports app

First round

1. Buffalo Sabres

2. Carolina Hurricanes

3. Montreal Canadiens

4. Ottawa Senators (optional to Colorado Avalanche)

5. Arizona Coyotes

6. Detroit Red Wings

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7. Vancouver Canucks

8. Chicago Blackhawks

9. New York Rangers

10. Edmonton Oilers

11. New York Islanders

The Washington Capitals on Monday released their 2018-19 preseason schedule, which has seven games against four teams.

12. New York Islanders (from Calgary Flames)

13. Dallas Stars

14. Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis Blues)

15. Florida Panthers

16. Colorado Avalanche

17. New Jersey Devils

18. Columbus Blue Jackets

19. Philadelphia Flyers

20. Los Angeles Kings

21. San Jose Sharks

22. Ottawa Senators (from Pittsburgh Penguins)

23. Anaheim Ducks

24. Minnesota Wild

25. Toronto Maple Leafs

26. New York Rangers (from Boston Bruins)

27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Nashville Predators)

28. New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay Lightning)

29. St. Louis Blues (from Winnipeg Jets)

30. Detroit Red Wings (from Vegas Golden Knights)

31. Washington Capitals

This story has been updated to include news that the Islanders hired Barry Trotz as coach.

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