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Trotz: Caps will most likely add extra forward for road trip

Trotz: Caps will most likely add extra forward for road trip

Although Barry Trotz says a final decision has not been made, the Capitals’ head coach indicated that it’s possible the team will recall a forward from Hershey in the coming 24 hours.

The Caps enter Thursday’s showdown against the streaking Blue Jackets with 12 forwards, or exactly enough to fill out four lines. The team, however, is set to hit the road Friday for a road trip that makes stops in Ottawa and Montreal. And since that requires traveling out of the region—and across the border—it’s expected that they’ll take an extra forward, just in case.

“Possibly, yes, we might do something tomorrow,” Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “We’ll see how the [Columbus] game goes. See if we can continue to have some health. If we do, then we might not need to. But I think we’re probably going to do something.”

Assuming they do, then the question becomes who comes up? Zach Sanford, Jakub Vrana and Paul Carey have already suited up for Washington this season. But it’s also possible the team will reward a prospect like Travis Boyd, Liam O’Brien or Chandler Stephenson, to name a few candidates. Boyd leads the Bears with 30 points, while O’Brien is having a career year offensively.

Even if a move is made, there’s no guarantee that the call-up will stick around beyond the four-day trip. Or that they’ll get into the lineup against the Senators or Canadiens.  

“We’re healthy,” Trotz said. “We haven’t sustained a lot of injuries. We sorta [already] did our experimenting through calling guys up. It made it uncomfortable for some guys. But organizationally we needed to do that. Right now we feel good about where our lines are, and the group that we have.”

Related: Prospect report: Ilya Samsonov steals show at World Juniors

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.