Winger Brett Connolly and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer could make their season debuts Tuesday when the Capitals host the Avalanche.
“I’m thinking probably Brett, possibly, in tomorrow,” Trotz said after Monday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “And same with Gruby, possibly. We’ll make that decision and go from there.”
Connolly is the only Capitals’ forward who hasn’t suited up yet. On Monday, he worked on a four-man third line along with rookie Zach Sanford and veterans Lars Eller and Justin Williams.
“We’re blessed that we’ve got seven defensemen who are capable of playing and we’ve got 13 forwards who are very capable of playing [different] roles,” Trotz said. “Decisions are, obviously, not easy decisions. Players make those decisions [with their play], for the most part.”
After going scoreless in five preseason games, Connolly, who signed a one-year contract in July after Boston declined to retain his rights, has been the odd man out.
“With Cono, I look at him as a guy who can play [on lines] one through three, really,” Trotz said. “His skill set indicates that he should be able to be in all of those roles. ...He’s a really good skater, got a real good attitude. He’s got really good speed. He can shoot the puck. In the preseason, I liked a lot of his game; he just didn’t find the back of the net.”
Trotz also noted Connolly’s hustle in practice as one reason he’s under consideration for a sweater against Colorado.
“I thought he was our best worker today, by far,” Trotz said.
As for Grubauer, Trotz said he’s hoping to keep his No. 2 netminder sharp while managing Holtby’s workload. The Capitals’ first set of back-to-back games aren’t until Nov. 11-12 in Chicago and Carolina, respectively.
“It’s important for the whole journey that we get right number of games, keep both goalies sharp and not overwork guys,” Trotz said.
Holtby appeared in 73 games in 2014-15. That total, however, dropped to 66 last season as he went on to win a whopping 48 games and claim the Vezina Trophy.
“I thought last year with Holtby we did a better job of [managing his number of starts] than we did the year before,” Trotz said. “And I’d like to do a better job [this season] than we did last year even.”
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