ARLINGTON, VA–The Capitals may have to wait longer than expected to see offseason acquisition Joel Edmundson in action. Though Edmundson was not in the lineup for Sunday’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Sabres, he sustained an upper-body injury during an intra-squad scrimmage and did not practice Tuesday.
Edmundson is set to meet with team doctors Tuesday afternoon, head coach Spencer Carbery told reporters. Carbery wouldn’t have a firm sense of the injury until after that meeting, but he didn’t seem optimistic.
“We’ll have more tomorrow,” Carbery said on Edmundson. “Probably not good, but we’ll know more tomorrow.”
Edmundson has dealt with lingering back injuries over the past few years, limiting him to only 85 games in the last two seasons. Per Carbery, his current injury is unrelated to those issues.
“It’s tough,” Carbery said of the repeated injuries. “Because you’re right. He’s battled some stuff over the last couple years and this is a little bit of a fresh start for him. I felt like he’s in a really good place getting here a little bit early, starting to integrate himself with the group.”
Carbery highlighted Edmundson’s physical style of play, which he notes will be difficult to replace.
“Even in the scrimmage, there’s a couple plays that stood out to me…I saw a few instances where I was like, ‘There it is.’ That’s that hard, mean, physical, really difficult to get to the net defenseman, who — as everybody here knows — is a real luxury and it makes it really, really difficult on the opposing forwards especially.”
Depending on the injury’s severity, Edmundson could potentially miss the start of the regular season next month. That hole in the lineup could allow one of the team’s young defensemen to jump into an NHL role, a group that includes Alex Alexeyev, Lucas Johansen, Hardy Häman Aktell, and Vincent Iorio.
“As I always look at things, it’s a great opportunity for someone to step in and potentially take off, whether that’s Häman Aktell, whether it’s Lucas Johansen, (to) snag a spot potentially on the opening night roster,” Carbery said. “It’s what these guys want, right? They want to prove that they’re an everyday NHL player on a good team.
“So it’s right there, I love that. I mean, not for Joel’s case — but for guys that are just waiting for that one break to be able to get into the lineup. And sometimes it comes in another person’s misfortune.”
This could be the second year in a row the Capitals lose an offseason pickup early in the season. Forward Connor Brown, who the Capitals traded for ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, played only four games for Washington before a torn ACL ended his season last October.
Carbery later spoke on Max Pacioretty, who has not yet appeared at Training Camp practices. He will miss the start of the regular season recovering from a torn Achille’s tendon but still has no firm timeline to return.
“I haven’t (heard anything more about him),” Carbery said. “I am being very non-committal. I’m trying not to get a date or something because I just know it’s going to be a process. So whether that’s mid-November, late-November, mid-December, as it gets closer I think then we’ll kind of figure out what the target is.”
The Capitals will play their next preseason game Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings. They will make their regular-season debut on October 13 with their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Headline photo: Katie Adler/RMNB
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