The Washington Capitals made their first round of Training Camp cuts on Monday. Four players were sent back to their junior teams and eight others have been returned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears as the team trimmed down from 63 combined skaters and goaltenders to 51.
After the cuts, the Caps took the ice on Tuesday in just two groups compared to the three that they started the preseason with. Within those two groups, new head coach Spencer Carbery has tweaked his lines and defense pairings a tad since the first time we saw them last week.
The Capitals’ big league lines and pairings now look like this:
The team’s top-nine forwards have stayed intact since the beginning of camp. Three of those players, Mantha, Milano, and Strome, played against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Mantha and Milano combined for the game-tying goal in the third period while Strome centered the team’s top line.
The only change among the forward group comes on the fourth line where Nicolas Aube-Kubel has filtered in. Aliaksei Protas originally occupied one of wing positions alongside Nic Dowd but he has now been moved down to an extra line with Ivan Miroshnichenko and Matthew Phillips.
Aube-Kubel scored a goal against Buffalo and was one of the players that Carbery specifically pointed out postgame that he thought had a good showing. Protas also played against the Sabres but did not factor onto the scoresheet.
Our first goal of the preseason goes to Kubes! pic.twitter.com/UtwdD4bPpE
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 24, 2023
A similar story is seen with the defense pairings. Everything there remains constant outside of the third pairing where Alex Alexeyev has now jumped into duty next to Trevor van Riemsdyk. Joel Edmundson, TVR’s original partner to start camp, is out with an upper-body injury that he suffered in a scrimmage that was held for non-gameday players on Sunday.
Alexeyev skated with TVR against the Sabres and ended up playing the second-most minutes (22:30) on the team in the game despite TVR leaving it early due to an injury scare.
The Caps’ next preseason game is on Thursday at home against the Detroit Red Wings.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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