Earlier today, the Caps announced that Christian Djoos is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his left thigh. This is obviously bad news for the Caps, as the Caps’ third defensive pair is significantly better with Djoos than without him.
But the Caps can use this time without their fourth best defenseman to find out exactly how workable the rest of their third pair options are. Madison Bowey, Jonas Siegenthaler and, once he’s healthy, Brooks Orpik, will all see more ice time in Djoos’ absence.
The reason this can be helpful is each of these three players is, well, a bit of a disaster when not playing with Djoos. Seeing the three of them for extended periods without Djoos pulling more than his fair share will let the Caps know with more certainty if they should shop for a depth defender as the trade deadline approaches in a couple months.
Here’s how each player has done with and without Djoos since last season. Sample sizes vary, and Siegenthaler’s is particularly small.
|Player||TOI w/Djoos||SA% w/Djoos||TOI w/out Djoos||SA% w/out Djoos|
The results with Djoos vary from playable to great. The results without are all pretty dismal. But, seeing these guys play with each other over what seems it could be an extended period will let the Caps know for sure what they have at the bottom of their defensive depth chart.
It’s better for this depth to be tested now than three or four months down the road.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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