With defensemen John Carlson and Brooks Orpik sidelined by lower body injuries the Capitals have recalled defenseman Aaron Ness from the AHL Hershey Bears. To make room for Ness the Caps placed center Jay Beagle (upper body injury) on injured reserve.
Beagle was injured in the second period of the Caps' 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres and will require surgery. When that surgery takes place the Capitals are expected to release a statement that could determine the projected length of Beagle's recovery.
In 36 games, Beagle had six goals and six assists and was on pace for career highs in goals (14) and points (28). Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he would try to replace Beagle by moving other players to the center position. Nicklas Backstrom also left Wednesday night's game after the second period and is questionable for tonight's game in Carolina (6 p.m., CSN).
If Backstrom is cleared to play, Trotz could move Marcus Johansson into the third-line center spot and bump Andre Burakovsky to second-line left wing. He could also move Brooks Laich up to third-line center and use a fourth line of Michael Latta, Andre Burakovsky and either Zach Sill or Stan Galiev.
Ness, 25, has two goals, 11 assists and 16 penalty minutes in 27 games with the Bears this season. He is expected to be an extra skater tonight against the Hurricanes.
In 29 career NHL games with the Islanders Ness had one goal, two assists and 12 penalty minutes. The Roseau, Minn., native played in a career-high 20 games with the Islanders during the 2013-14 season and scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 14, 2013 vs. Los Angeles. Ness was drafted by the Islanders in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft.
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He signed with the Caps as a free agent on July 1, 2015 and was recalled by the Capitals earlier this month when Karl Alzner was questionable with an undisclosed injury, but did not play.
Last season, Ness appeared in 74 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, leading the club’s defensemen in points and assists and setting career highs in goals (8), assists (37) and points (45). He ranked sixth among all AHL defensemen in scoring and was selected to the AHL All-Star Classic. The 5’10”, 183-pound defenseman has earned 136 points (25 goals, 111 assists) and 195 penalty minutes in 307 career AHL games with Hershey and Bridgeport.