With 21 games in the books, Barry Trotz is ready to see what other players in the Capitals’ system can offer the big club.

Which is why top prospect Jakub Vrana will be in the lineup Thursday against the Islanders. It’s also why minor league vet Paul Carey was called up.

Carey, however, fell ill on the trip from Hershey to Washington and isn’t available to suit up. Had the winger been healthy, it’s possible, if not likely, he would have joined Vrana in the lineup.

Which means a forward, who’s been a regular all year, would have been scratched.


Trotz didn’t name names, but it’s clear he’s ready to get a look at some new blood.

And preferably some new blood that can boost team speed and spark an offense that’s produced a meager 12 goals over the past five games. The Caps are 3-2-0 in that span.

In 18 games with the Bears, Vrana has put up nine goals and 16 points. Carey has five goals and 14 points in 16 games.

“If I was going to put Carey in today, then one of the guys that were here on a regular basis…would be out,” Trotz said. “That’s how I’m using the 23rd spot. It’s going to be guys [in Hershey] that are playing well. We talked about getting a little quicker; we’re going into Tampa [on Saturday] and couple of places [that have good team speed], let’s just see where we are with some of these guys.”


Trotz added: “We’re 20 games in. Guys [in Washington] have had a look for 20 games. They’ve showed me what they’ve got, so let’s see what else we have in the system.”

It’s unclear how long Carey will be out, but he’s expected to travel with the team to Tampa.

“He got sick on the way here, but I was thinking about putting him in the lineup tonight, as well,” Trotz said. “He’s been [Hershey’s] most consistent player. [Carey and Vrana] both have speed; I want to get quicker with our team.”

Trotz didn’t sound overly concerned about his team’s collective quickness. But make no mistake, he wants more of it—and it's possible that a few players who could provide it are just a phone call (and 130 miles) away.

“That’s where the league’s going, so let’s pay attention to that,” Trotz added. “We have a lot of good young players in Hershey who, I think, are on the cusp of putting some back pressure on the some of the guys that we have here.”