With the Capitals’ roster down to a more manageable 36 players following Sunday's cuts, the regular season lineup appears to be coming into focus.
Here’s how Coach Trotz had the players lined up for Monday’s training camp practice in Arlington…and what it could mean going forward:
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- I suspect we’re seeing three forward lines and potentially three D pairs that have a chance of being together Oct. 5 in Ottawa. Which ones? Up front, the Burakovsky-Backstrom-Oshie, Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Connolly and Vrana-Eller-Wilson combos have a regular season feel to them, especially since we already know Backstrom and Oshie will start the year together and Ovechkin and Kuznetsov are set to do the same.
- On the backend, Orlov-Niskanen, Ness-Carlson and Orpik-Bowey all seem to make sense. Trotz has already said Orlov and Niskanen will start the regular season as a tandem.
- As you probably noticed, in that configuration, the D-pairs are all lefty-righty.
- It also looks like the fourth line is still very much in flux. Beagle will be the center but it appears there are a handful of wingers in the mix. Among them, in my estimation anyway, are: Walker, Chiasson, Peluso, Smith-Pelly and perhaps Graovac, who had a big game against the Blues.
- Is it something that Djoos is not paired with one of the five defensemen that we already know will be on the team? I can’t say for sure, but it’s hard to overlook.
Again, nothing is set in stone and there are a handful of practices and three preseason games left for players to make their closing arguments. But Monday marked the first day of the smaller roster—and Trotz doesn’t group players for no reason.
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