I think Oates has been a solid coach and I think he can turn into a great one. His system is a good middle point between the two extreme systems Boudreau (at least initially) and Hunter had. Being a HOFer, he has credibility that some of today's modern stars have to respect. (Not just OV I'm talking about.)
Neuvy is our #2 goalie - Holtby is the Caps clear number 1. So I think a Varly v Holtby comparison is more apt (and there would not be enough PT for both in DC.) Right now, Varly clearly looks dominant, but he has in the past for stretches. (His form definitely looks cleaner.) I think the key things with Varly are 1) Can he stay healthy? - always an issue for such an athletic tender 2) Can he handle the mental load of carrying a team in the playoffs? And Holtby has been dominant in the playoffs (at least one year.)
Ovechkin has regained his form as one of the best players in the game. Caps problems have to do with a general lack of skill and athleticism. Caps used to be a deep, high scoring, fast skating team. No more. I've been blaming the GM for several years now. I think the GM/owner made the mistake of thinking the Caps were a player or two away from winning the Cup (may have been true the year the Pens won it.) As a result, they made some bad player moves and contract signings recently. Rest of the NHL has gotten better, Caps have stayed the same or gotten worse. And they don't have a lot of cap room or elite-level prospects (with the exception of Kusetnekov sp? I can never remember that Russky kid's name.)
Caps only have three top-level skilled offensive players (Ovie, Backstrom and Green.) They used to go 7-10 deep. I don't know if it's age or personnel, but they no longer have the same team speed. They were never a physically tough team, but their lack of skill/speed magnifies the lack of physical toughness. Their GM was supposedly trying to complement the skill by adding players with grit, but I don't think the new comers are all that physical.
Caps have made two recent trades of going for present (at the expense of future.)
- One year of Ribiero for Eakin and a 2nd rounder.
- Erat (who has been lost) and Latta for Forsberg (one of the picks in the Varly trade.)
Those trades have been frustrating for me since the Caps were not one or two players away last year and I thought a rebuild was needed.