With the regular season set to start in a week, the Capitals’ opening night roster is slowly but surely coming into focus.
On Thursday, the team reassigned defensemen Jonas Siegenthaler and Tyler Lewington, forward Travis Boyd and goalie Pheonix Copley to Hershey of the American Hockey League.
he moves reduced to the training camp roster to 26 players—16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.
With two preseason games remaining—Friday at Carolina and Sunday at St. Louis—Washington GM Brian MacLellan has some tough decisions to make.
Up front, Jakub Vrana, Tyler Graovac, Nathan Walker, Alex Chiasson, Anthony Peluso, Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson are battling for jobs. Graovac, Walker, Peluso, Smith-Pelly and Stephenson all must pass through waivers to be sent down, while Chiasson is on a professional tryout agreement.
Interestingly, the guys battling for jobs have been among the most productive. In fact, Vrana, Graovac, Walker, Chiasson and Smith-Pelly have accounted for five of the Caps’ meager seven goals in the first five exhibition games.
On the backend, rookies Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos as well as minor league veteran Aaron Ness are battling for two jobs. Djoos and Ness would need to clear waivers in order to be demoted.
The Caps must get down to a maximum of 23 players by Tuesday at 5 p.m., though it’s possible they’ll keep only 22 players because of their tight salary cap situation and Coach Barry Trotz’s preference for keeping just one extra at each position.
“We’ll try to pick the team and let the management and the people who figure out all the salaries, they will let us know what we want to do,” Coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday. “That may dictate our early decisions. If there’s not much between a certain player and another player, the cap may decide that. That’s just part of the business.”