With the All-Star game now in the rearview mirror, the Capitals wasted little time getting back to business on Monday with the recall of Christian Djoos and Chandler Stephenson from the AHL.
Bringing back Stephenson is no real surprise. With only 12 forwards on the roster, Washington typically brings in an extra forward whenever they play on the road. Stephenson was recalled for the team's last road trip and played the final two games heading into the All-Star break. The team's first game back is on Tuesday in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders.
The real news is Djoos and what his recall may mean for John Carlson.
Prior to the recall, the Caps had seven defensemen on the roster including Carlson who missed the last six games with a lower-body injury. It was believed that holding Carlson out of the team's two-game road trip heading into the All-Star break was just a precaution and that he would be ready to play against the Islanders.
If Carlson is ready to play, there would seem to be little reason to bring in an eighth defenseman, especially a prospect like Djoos.
A native of Goteborg, Sweden, Djoos is considered one of the team's top prospects on the blue line. In 35 games with Hershey this season, Djoos has earned 26 points. Though he may be undersized (6'0", 164 pounds) he is an incredibly skilled player. At only 22 years old, he has not yet made his NHL debut and is not the type of player the team would recall just to sit out as a healthy scratch.
While recalling Djoos does not necessarily mean Carlson may not yet be ready to return, the Caps now have eight defensemen on the roster meaning two now will have to sit out Tuesday's game. If Carlson is not one of them, who will it be?
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