As the Washington Capitals enter the quiet period before the start of training camp in September, it seems new head coach Barry Trotz won't spend the rest of his summer worrying about creating game plans or making large-scale roster decisions -- because things will change.
"I always call it 'fantasy hockey' when you ask me those questions in July," Trotz said. "I can put my lines up and say, 'This line will work' and 'This line will work,' but then I'll get to training camp and I'm going, 'This line does not work,' and we have to switch it.
"You go in with a thought process and a plan. I'll have all my exhibition lineups already done, and I'll be changing them, because a guy who I expected to be part of our group maybe doesn't get it done."
Injuries also play a factor, as Trotz cited the example of forward Tom Wilson, whose broken leg may delay him from participating in the full training camp.
"That opens the door for maybe one of the young guys, like [Andre] Burakovsky, for instance, to get an opportunity, to get a look and who knows?" Trotz said. "This game is all about opportunity."
Burakovsky was one of several players who impressed during the Capitals' development camp, and those players may have an opportunity to make an impact when the entire roster convenes.
"We're going to sit down with the coaching staff and go through training camp and the regular season," he said. "… It's pretty well done, but we want to go through it and talk it through because numbers create how you're going to have training camp. If we decide to go into, say three-group training camp, then we'll need some numbers."
As a new coach, Trotz is aiming to create a culture where all the people involved with the Capitals -- from the players to the media -- can do their jobs more efficiently, and said he had been speaking with a wide range of constituents to determine how to make that goal possible.
"It's important for me to know the whole organization," he said. "We want to develop a player profile on each guy so that we can give players direction. You just don't want to say, 'A player's got to get faster.' What does that mean? That's pretty general. I want to give you a plan of how to get faster and be very specific. That's what I want to do with our organization."
Trotz said his plan was a combination of his longtime experience with Nashville and developing what the Capitals already had in place.
"When you have longevity, you can build a culture," he said. "You know what works and what doesn't, and you see players grow. There are a lot of great things the Caps have done -- they are a very good organization. But there are some things, being in a different organization, that I thought they could do better or differently. It's me trying to marry the two. If I can marry them, it will be a hybrid of both."