The Washington Capitals held their most heavily attended preseason informal skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Thursday. Over a dozen NHL regulars attended and participated in various drills.
One very notable partaker in the action was winger Carl Hagelin. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that the veteran Swede took part in the skate wearing a normal white practice jersey instead of the light blue one he donned previously. That light blue sweater has in the past denoted a player rehabbing an injury a la defenseman Alexander Alexeyev who is still skating in his after undergoing shoulder surgery.
El-Bashir reported that John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, TJ Oshie, Anthony Mantha, Connor Brown, Dylan Strome, Nick Jensen, Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway, Marcus Johansson, Charlie Lindgren, Joe Snively, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Aliaksei Protas, and other prospects took the ice with Hagelin.
It’s almost that time. Biggest precamp skate yet this AM. Among the NHLers: Carlson, Kuznetsov, Orlov, Oshie, Mantha, Brown, Strome, Hagelin, Jensen, Dowd, Hathaway, Johansson, Lindgren, Snively, AJF and Protas. Lots of prospects, too. #Caps pic.twitter.com/zxeGsTaU0i
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) September 8, 2022
Hagelin missed every game after February 28 last season due to an errant high stick he took during a practice. A teammate’s stick blade ruptured the choroid in the back of his left eye, forcing him to undergo two surgeries to try and repair the issue. Hagelin said on Breakdown Day in May that his vision will never return to 100 percent.
Caps general manager Brian MacLellan was asked about Hagelin’s status back in July before the NHL Draft and free agency period was set to commence.
“He has more of a later checkup in August for a final determination to see how the surgery has completely healed and how much the surgery has done for his eyesight,” MacLellan said then. “So we’ll have to wait until that appointment to get a better indication of where he’s at.”
The color of his jersey on Thursday could be that indication and it appears the speedy forward may be a full participant at Training Camp in two weeks. If that were to be the case, it also means that his $2.75 million salary will be fully on the books to start the season.
That salary, at least at the start of the year, will still be covered cap-wise by the long-term absences of Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom ($14.366666 million combined) but it also likely forces a younger forward to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. That younger forward will not have a cap hit that changes much for the team this season and that matters a lot when you consider the team expects both Wilson and Backstrom back at some point during 2022-23.
Capitals Training Camp is set to begin on September 22.
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