Tonight’s preseason lineup against the Devils figures to be close—really close, in fact—to the one we’ll see on opening night.
Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lined up at Capital One Arena:
Here’s what that lineup tells us:
- The top two forward lines are probably the combos Trotz is looking at for opening night, given what he's said in recent days.
- The third line is almost there, I’d suspect, with prospect Travis Boyd filling in for Tom Wilson, who is sitting out the first game of a two-game suspension.
- The fourth line is where the real competition is taking place. Jay Beagle is a lock, obviously. The wingers battling for that spot are likely (in no particular order) Nathan Walker, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Graovac, Anthony Peluso and Devante Smith-Pelly. Does that mean the coaches have seen enough from Walker, Chiasson and DSP? And need to see a little more of Graovac and Peluso? Makes sense to me.
- Trotz on the competition: “We’re getting down to sort of the short strokes in terms of the end here. It could be the last audition for some guys. We’ll what they can bring to the table.”
- Trotz also said it’s possible to keep 23 players—the roster max—but that’s only for certain combinations of players. “It would be really tight,” he joked. “We would have to hold our breath all the time.”
- Personally, Trotz said he prefers a 22-man roster, which allows for just one extra forward and one extra D. “When you have two extra forwards, if you’re that second guy, you’re going, ‘Okay, two guys got to get hurt or two guys have to play bad before I get in’,” he said. “With that one guy, it keeps him, ‘I’m right there. I’m waiting for something to happen.’”
- Trotz also said the team's early roster decisions could be dictated by the cap. “If there’s not much between a certain player and another player, the cap may decide that,” he said.
- The D pairs are probably what Trotz is looking at for opening night. Note that it’s three lefties and three righties—something Trotz says he considers to be more important these days because of the game’s increased pace.
- Wilson (suspended), Chorney, Walker, Chiasson, Smith-Pelly, Djoos, Lewington, Stephenson, Siegenthaler and Copley were in the non-game group.
MORE CAPITALS: BROOKS LAICH VS. NATE SCHMIDT