With both players getting close to being waiver eligible, the Capitals re-assigned forward Zach Sill and defenseman Aaron Ness to the Hershey Bears on Monday, reducing their current roster to 13 healthy forwards and six healthy defensemen.
First recalled by the Caps on Dec. 29, Sill, 27, had one goal in seven games and spent 19 days on the Caps’ 23-man roster. Ness, 25, spent eight games and 17 days on the Caps’ roster and had two assists with a plus-4 rating while averaging 12:23 of ice time.
Both players would have required waivers to be sent to the AHL once they hit 10 games and 30 days with the Capitals and the Caps were fearful both might be claimed by another NHL club.
Barring a quick turnaround by defenseman John Carlson, who has been sidelined since Jan. 17 with a lower body injury and has not yet practiced with the Caps, look for defenseman Ryan Stanton to replace Ness on the Caps’ third defense pairing when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Carlson made the trip to Columbus but is expected to practice with the Capitals before getting cleared for game action.
Stanton, 26, played 108 games for the Vancouver Canucks over the past two seasons but has spent all of this season with Hershey, where he has two goals and five assists in 30 games and is a plus-1.
Sill’s reassignment leaves Michael Latta, Stan Galiev and Brooks Laich battling for the right to play with center Mike Richards on the Caps’ fourth line. Caps coach Barry Trotz said he used Galiev against the Rangers because of his speed. Latta was a healthy scratch for that game.