The headline reads:
A SERIES LOST, BUT A NEEDED IDENTITY FOUND
While the ending results are the same, as in prior years, who the Caps faced in the playoffs are quite different. In prior years, the Caps faced lesser opponents in the opening rounds, and still lost. Sometimes in convincing fashion. This year they faced two of the top seeded opponents in the opening rounds, and came within a backhand swipe of moving on. Never lost one game, in 14 games, by more than one goal. One. And sometimes those losses came in OT.
The Caps are right there. They can play with anyone, and I disagree with you that this team would need a major over haul or re-structuring. They are right there, right now.
IMO, IF Hunter wishes to return, the door will be open for his return. But that said, Hunter is a private guy who doesn't like all the limelight and attention...so he may very well decide this isn't for him.