As the Capitals prepare for a matinee matchup with the Montreal Canadiens, the team recalled its top forward prospect Jakub Vrana from AHL Hershey on Friday. That seems a clear indication that the status of forward Justin Williams for Saturday's game remains uncertain.
Williams was a late scratch from Wednesday's game due to a lower-body injury. Afterward, head coach Barry Trotz said the scratch was a precaution and that Williams would play Saturday in Montreal.
With only 12 forwards on the roster after reassigning Chandler Stephenson to Hershey on Thursday, it's no surprise to see the team make a recall for an extra forward before leaving for Canada.
But Vrana seems an unlikely choice if the team just needed an extra body to be a healthy scratch. Vrana is Washington's top offensive prospect and played 12 games with the team earning three points after being recalled earlier this season. By coming up to join the NHL squad, Vrana will miss Hershey's game on Friday night. It seems unlikely that the team would choose to recall him if there wasn't at least a possibility that he would play on Saturday.
Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann spoke with CSN on Friday and said Washington has emphasized recalling players as a reward for good play. Vrana scored in each of Hershey's two games last week and has 24 points for the season. But for a Bears team that won just three games in the month of January and is in desperate need of points, this would be an inopportune time for Barry Trotz to "reward" Vrana if he did not think he may need him on Saturday.