Bryce Salvador questioned himself. His entire career, coaches told the defenseman to stand in front of the net. Then Peter DeBoer came to the New Jersey Devils last season, armed with a new system that transformed the team’s philosophy.

“It’s one of those things where there’s a learning period with it,” Salvador said. “To leave the front of the net and put pressure and these things, it’s, for some of us older guys, a little bit difficult.”

Picking up DeBoer’s system, which is predicated on a relentless forecheck, quick movement in the defensive zone and the ability to create offense from turnovers, was difficult for the Devils. And it took time. But once everything clicked, they made it to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Washington Capitals are in the beginning stages of that transformation under coach Adam Oates, who served as an assistant to DeBoer last season. And while the Devils‘ system is the model, the Caps have some notable handicaps to overcome as they adapt and try to turn things around after a 5-10-1 start.