Taylor Chorney

Quick Links

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.


Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

Quick Links

The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

USA TODAY Sports Images

The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

Every player on an NHL team plays a role.

Some play bigger roles than others.

In the coming weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles. 

Today’s player: No. 20 Taylor Chorney.


One of the more interesting storylines during training camp is going to be the battle along the blue line and where everyone, particularly a veteran like Chorney, fits into the plan as the Caps skew a bit younger.

The top pair is easy to figure out; it’ll be Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

After that, it gets a little more interesting.

John Carlson will be on the second pair, perhaps with Aaron Ness.

If that's how things shake out, it would make sense to have Brooks Orpik anchor the third pair, especially if the No. 6 spot goes to a rookie since they'd surely benefit from the steady hand of a soon-to-be 37-year-old.

But will that spot go to a youngster like Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey or someone else? 

Or will it go to Chorney, a 30-year-old who's appeared in 141 NHL games spread over eight seasons for four clubs?

The Caps anticipate that Djoos and Bowey are closer to being NHL-ready than their other defenseman prospects.

Djoos lit up the AHL last season to the tune of 58 points in 66 games and the team needs to replace some offense. Bowey, meanwhile, has the look of a promising two-way defenseman.

But here’s the drawback—and where Chorney, in my opinion, fits into the equation.

Neither Djoos nor Bowey have done it yet. And until they do, no one can be 100-percent sure they’re completely ready to handle the everyday duties that the NHL demands. 

Chorney, to that end, has a significant advantage in experience, at a position where it matters a lot. He appeared in 18 games last season and a career-high 55 games the year before, also with the Caps. 

The bottom line: I suspect Chorney, who is entering the final year of his contract, will open camp penciled in as the team’s No. 6/7.

I also expect that he'll play a decent amount this season, maybe more than last year but perhaps less than 2015-16. I could even see him in the opening night lineup. Eventually, though, the Caps will want to see Djoos, Bowey or another youngster squeeze their way past Chorney and into the lineup full-time.        

Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.

— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley
No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly

Quick Links

After a strong performance Sunday, Chorney stays in the Caps' lineup

After a strong performance Sunday, Chorney stays in the Caps' lineup

Taylor Chorney will get a sweater for a second straight game when the Capitals host Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, Coach Barry Trotz said.

It’ll mark the first time since March that Chorney—the Caps’ seventh defenseman—will skate in back-to-back games. He’ll again take the spot of Nate Schmidt, who’ll be a healthy scratch.

“There was no decision,” Trotz said of sticking with Chorney. “He played well, so he deserves to stay in.”

RELATED: NHLPA boss 'optimistic' players will participate in Olympics

Chorney scored his first goal of the season Sunday in the Caps’ 2-1 win over the Senators.

“It’s nice,” Chorney said. “You ask anybody, you want to play, you want to be in there as much as possible. Getting in back-to-back is fun. It’s what you work for.”

The Capitals have been one of the healthiest teams in the NHL this season and, entering Tuesday, they led the league in goals allowed per game (2.06). So Chorney’s services have not been in high demand.

In fact, the 29-year-old had only suited up for seven of the Capitals’ 36 games. Because of his infrequent usage, he stays sharp by staying longer and working harder in practices—an that effort does not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“Chorns comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face and works his butt off,” fellow defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “That’s not easy to do when you’re not in the lineup. Sometimes there’s not even a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s pretty amazing the positive attitude that he’s kept. You root for guys like that. To be rewarded with a goal was a pretty cool moment. I think everybody on the team was pretty fired up for him.”

Chorney has one goal, one assist and four penalty minutes in the seven games he's played. The team has a 6-0-1 record in those contests.

“I’ve tried not to let it get to me too much,” Chorney said of coming in and out of the lineup. “But when you go in there and you play well, you want to keep rolling. I understand it’s a tough situation. We have a really good team and it’s a numbers thing and that’s the way it works out. So I’m not going to stand here and complain. But at the same time, as a competitor you want to be out there with your teammates."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps' penalty kill has vaulted to 2nd in NHL