Season Preview: Jeff Halpern

As the regular season inches closer, day by day, the time has come to predict and begin to take a look at what the Caps and their fans can expect from each player on the roster.  Today’s player is new centerman Jeff Halpern, who will begin his seventh season overall, but first since 2005-06, with the Caps this fall.  George McPhee brought him back to Washington this summer on a one-year, $825,000 contract after DC lost Boyd Gordon to Phoenix.

Recap of Last Season: Halpern spent last year with the Montreal Canadiens, where he played in 72 games and registered 11 goals and 15 assists.  Halpern filled in on every line except the top line for the Habs during the course of the year, but spent almost all of his time on the third and fourth units.  In terms of point production, last year was his best since 07-08 with Dallas.  
Expectations for this Season: Halpern is going to be expected to be a lunchpail player for Bruce Boudreau this year, being able to do a little bit of everything. He’s going to play on the penalty kill, probably be a primary penalty killer, and he will be counted upon as a leader in the locker room, even if he doesn’t wear an A on his chest.  In short, I think, as do many Caps fans, that Halpy will be a great pickup for Washington as they go after the ultimate goal.  For more in depth analysis of what Halpern will bring this year, click here.
Playing Time: Fourth line; third line; primary penalty killer.  Halpern isn’t a big enough offensive catalyst to play any higher than the fourth line regularly, but he might get some spot time on the third line if necessary.  But to be honest, you want him on the fourth line; that’s the ideal spot for a guy like Halpern at this stage in his career.
Projections: 70 GP, 5 G, 9 A, +3 rating, 11:15 ATOI.

The next season preview will feature defenseman Jeff Schultz.

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