With the deadline to cut the roster down quickly approaching, the Capitals elected not to place any players on waivers Tuesday.
NHL teams must trim their rosters down to 23 players by 5 p.m. today. Washington currently sits at 24 players officially, not including Alex Chiasson who is on a professional tryout.
That means the Caps have to move at least one player.
Of the “bubble players” who are competing for a spot in the lineup, Christian Djoos, Aaron Ness, Taylor Chorney, Chandler Stephenson and Devante Smith-Pelly would all have to pass through waivers should the Caps choose to move them off the roster. By letting the waiver deadline pass, those players will remain in the Capitals’ 23.
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The most likely option now would be to re-assign either Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey or both to the AHL. Both players are waiver-exempt so moving them presents no risk to the team.
This may seem like a curious move considering how well both Vrana and Bowey have played in the preseason, but it is important to remember that the team can still tweak the roster after Tuesday’s deadline.
Teams are not setting their opening lineup on Tuesday. If Vrana or Bowey are sent to the AHL, they could be recalled soon, perhaps even before Thursday’s opener
Between Vrana and Bowey, it appears more likely that Bowey would get sent to Hershey. Vrana practiced on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov on Tuesday suggesting he will almost certainly be in the lineup on Thursday. Bowey, meanwhile practiced on an extra defensive pairing with Djoos.
However the Caps do cut down to 23 players, it is most likely a temporary move.
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Chiasson practiced on the team’s third line Tuesday suggesting he remains in the team’s plans. Signing him to a contract, however, would add another body to the roster and mean having to move another player. Bowey played well in the preseason and looked like he could start on the team’s third pair.
If he is sent to Hershey, he likely will not be there very long.
Tuesday’s deadline will force a 23-man roster from the Caps, but may not answer the question of who will be in the team’s opening lineup on Thursday.