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February 20, 2017 | 7:30pm ET
Caps put youth to the test

The Washington Capitals remain comfortable as the trade deadline approaches. Without Andre Burakovsky, many would hit the panic button and look outward for more depth in the lineup, but not Head Coach Barry Trotz.

Youth is going to be their crutch without the 22-year-old left wing. Young guns Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana will most likely be seeing some quality ice time moving forward.

"They're both going to be big parts of our future," Trotz told the Washington Post. "I would just say it's an opportunity. [Burakovsky] is out for a little bit. Take the opportunity and make the most of it. That's really what I want to see."

Sanford, in particular, has been a great asset for the Caps; he looks comfortable and is producing as expected.

"It's really good for me," he told the Post. "Obviously, everyone loves to score. When you can get a couple like that, it makes the game a lot easier. You have a lot more confidence with the puck and stuff, so I think that was really big for me."

The Caps took notes from the defending Stanley Cup Champions and looked to their organization at the deadline rather than what's for sale. They're comfortable where they are now, but Trotz is using the remainder of the regular season to test his young players and see if they are playoff caliber.

"Everybody that's come up has done a good job," Trotz said. "Now, the playoffs are another level. This last 25 games, it's going to crank up another level. Some guys will thrive in that environment and some guys will fall off. We've got to really try to find that out before the trade deadline. We feel fairly comfortable, but we'd still like to have more info."

Don't expect the Caps to be a big name come the deadline. As all teams do, they will explore the options, but as it stands now, their youth will be the key to filling the gap.


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