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Capitals claim Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers, make flurry of roster moves before roster deadline

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Capitals claim Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers, make flurry of roster moves before roster deadline

With Tom Wilson facing a lengthy suspension, the Capitals made a move Tuesday to add more forward depth by claiming St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers.

Jaskin, 25, is a right wing with over 250 games of NHL experience. Last season, he scored six goals and 17 points in 76 games for the Blues. He enjoyed a career year in 2014-15 when he scored 13 goals and 18 points.

With the lineup seemingly all but set for Wednesday’s opener, the question then is why would the Caps make this move? The answer is Wilson.

“We thought we needed some forward depth to protect us through whatever might happen with Tom,” general manager Brian MacLellan said Tuesday.

Wilson is facing what is likely to be a significant suspension for his hit to Oskar Sundqvist in Sunday’s preseason finale.

When a player is suspended, both he and his $5.16 million cap hit remains on the roster. That obviously presents a challenge to the team to add a player into the lineup for as long as Wilson will be out.

“We were feeling a little vulnerable in our forward depth depending on what happens with Tom and his hearing,” MacLellan said. “We like the player, we think the player has some upside and with the possible suspension of Tom we’re adding a big body that can make some plays and go to the net and has a similar skillset as Tom.”

Jaskin is more proven on the ice than Nathan Walker or Jayson Megna. While the team could feel comfortable plugging either player in for spot duty, Jaskin appears to be a better option if Wilson is indeed suspended for six or more games.

Jaskin’s cap hit is $1.1 million and his addition also led to a number of roster moves to get within the salary cap and the 23-player limit by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

First, defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler was reassigned to Hershey. He is waiver exempt and could be reassigned at any time. Second, Michal Kempny was placed on injured reserve and Travis Boyd was placed on long-term injured reserve.

By placing Kempny on IR, he will be required to sit out for seven days, meaning he will miss both Wednesday’s opener and Thursday in Pittsburgh, both of which Todd Reirden said Tuesday he would miss anyway.

Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) is used for players who are expected to miss a minimum of 10 NHL games and 24 days in the NHL season.

When used, a team’s upper salary cap limit is changed to what is called the accruable cap space limit which is extremely complicated to calculate. To put it simply, it is a way for a team to exceed the cap ceiling based on the injured player’s cap hit.

While Boyd will now have to miss ten games, the good news is that was about the timeline for him anyway, according to MacLellan.

This is an unfortunate series of events for Siegenthaler who looked poised to make the roster out of camp. While his waiver status made it doubtful he would stay in Washington long-term, sending him back to Hershey not only means he will not be making his NHL debut in Kempny’s absence, but also  means will miss out on an NHL salary during Kempny’s absence.

“[Siegenthaler] had a great camp,” MacLellan said Tuesday to reporters. “Everybody here is excited about the way he played. He probably doesn’t deserve to be sent down based on play alone but because of suspensions, because of roster, because of salary cap it’s just a pure business decision that he has to go down for a while.

“Realistically he might not have played the first few games anyway so it will work itself out.”

Those three moves would put Washington at 23 players and just under cap for now, but it will also leave only six defensemen on the roster for the first two games of the season.

After you watch the banner raise on Wednesday, cross your fingers that the Caps escape Wednesday’s game unscathed on the blue line or it will require a few more moves before they take the ice Thursday in Pittsburgh.

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With the NHL limiting teams to 28 skaters for the playoffs, what will the Caps' roster look like?

With the NHL limiting teams to 28 skaters for the playoffs, what will the Caps' roster look like?

In a typical NHL postseason, all roster limits and salary cap restrictions are lifted. This year, however, is no normal postseason and teams are going to have prepare for having a limited number of players on the road.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the NHL has advised teams to prepare for a 28-man roster plus unlimited goalies for training camp and the playoffs. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan confirmed this in a video conference on Friday.

"We got the roster number the other day of 28 plus unlimited goalies," MacLellan said. "So we're in discussions now on how we want to use those extra players and what's the best way we can organizationally."

It should be noted that "unlimited" goalies is a bit of a misnomer because all teams will only be allowed to bring a maximum of 50 people to their hub cities for the playoffs. So sure, bring as many goalies as you want, but for each goalie you bring that's one less staff member who will be able to go.

In a typical postseason, teams will recall several players from the minors to serve as "black aces," who are depth practice players. Several practices in the postseason are optional so having black aces ensures that regardless of the NHL regulars who wish to take part in a practice, there are still enough players to work with whether it be a goalie to shoot on or maybe shooters for a goalie to face against. Black aces also provide depth which is important for the grueling Stanley Cup Playoffs. For the players themselves, it provides younger prospects a valuable learning experience for what the postseason is like and how the veteran players approach it.

With a limited roster and limited personnel, however, MacLellan likely will not be able to bring all the players he normally would want to. Here's a projection of what a 28-man roster may look like for Washington.

The regulars

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Travis Boyd

Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Michal Kempny
Radko Gudas

When the NHL season was paused, there were 21 skaters on the roster. That number is down to 20 after Brendan Leipsic's contract was terminated. There is no reason to think any of the other 20 will not be with the team for the postseason.

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Possible Black Aces

With 20 players, that leaves just eight slots left for black aces. Here are the most likely candidates:

Shane Gersich
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby
Brett Leason
Beck Malenstyn
Connor McMichael
Liam O'Brien
Garrett Pilon
Brian Pinho
Mike Sgarbossa
Joe Snively
Daniel Sprong
Alex Alexeyev
Martin Fehervary
Lucas Johansen
Tyler Lewington
Bobby Nardella

Of those players, my best guess for the eight the team will take would be Gersich, Malenstyn, McMichael, Sgarbossa, Sprong, Alexeyev, Fehervary and Lewington.

First off, MacLellan named McMichael specifically as a player the team was considering taking. I don't think he does that if he was not fairly certain McMichael was going to be included. Malenstyn said in a video conference after the AHL season was officially canceled that he had been told by the team he was going to be a black ace. As for the rest, considering there is a fairly limited number of roster spots, I think the team would lean very largely on players who are more likely to be plugged into the lineup in case of injury. That means guys like Sgarbossa and Sprong would get nods over some prospects like Jonsson-Fjallby or Snively or, on defense, Lewington would be added over prospects like Johansen and Nardella.

Goalies

Braden Holtby
Ilya Samsonov
Pheonix Copley
Vitek Vanecek

Teams will always have a third goalie when possible in the playoffs and Copley also confirmed he will be a black ace in the video conference with Malenstyn. The only question is if the team would bring Vanecek as well just to be safe. With all the unknowns of the coronavirus, it would not be surprising to see MacLellan err on the side of caution and bring a fourth netminder. It may just depend on what other personnel the team may want to bring and if there is space in the 50-person limit for a fourth goalie.

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How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

Over the past six seasons, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been one of the biggest reasons for the Capitals' success.

Kuzy has been extremely durable for the Capitals, playing in at least 76 games over the past six seasons, excluding the 2019-20 shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winger has been one of Washington's best attacking players during that span, splitting time between both Washington's first and second lines. 

No. 92 has also found a knack for playing his best hockey on the sport's biggest stages. Kuznetsov netted arguably the most important goal in Capitals history, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semi-finals in overtime to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins, "exorcising the demons" for a franchise that previously could not get past the second round. We all know how that story ends, with the Capitals hoisting the Stanley Cup just over a month later.

On Sunday, NBC Sports Washington is airing four of Kuznetsov's best regular-season performances. At 9 a.m., tune in to watch the Caps 6-5 overtime thriller over the Tampa Bay Maple Leafs from January 3, 2017. In that contest, Kuzy totaled four points, netting one goal and notching three assists, including one that set up Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal.

Following that, we travel back to October of 2018, when Kuznetsov turned in another four-point performance in a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup. Kuzy started the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal and would tally three assists later on in the match as the Caps cruised to a dominating win.

At 2 p.m., the Caps 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from February 11, 2019, will re-air. In this matchup, Kuznetsov finished with four points once again, this time finding the back of the net twice to go along with a pair of assists. To close out the day, tune in to see Kuznetsov net two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes at 4:30 p.m.

A trip down memory lane that highlights Kuznetsov's greatest games is the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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When:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where:

Broadcast Schedule:

9:00 a.m.: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Capitals from January 3, 2017

11:30 a.m.: Vegas Golden Knights @ Capitals from October 10, 2018

2:00 p.m.: Los Angeles Kings @ Capitals from February 11, 2019

4:30 p.m.: Arizona Coyotes @ Capitals from November 11, 2019 

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