The Washington Capitals are going to get star forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson back into their lineup for the first time this season on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
To make those big moves happen, some tough roster decisions needed to be made, and the Caps will look very different moving forward. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how they could potentially line up now that roster spots have been opened up for Backstrom and Wilson.
First, I’ll try and get into Peter Laviolette’s head and predict what he’ll actually throw out on the ice, at least at the start of Backstrom and Wilson being back. It’ll be more “realistic” and factor in Aliaksei Protas being sent to Hershey and Joe Snively being placed on waivers.
Second, I’ll go through the team not taking into account the Capitals have sent down Aliaksei Protas and waived Joe Snively. It’ll be what the Caps would look like if Chris Cerullo was playing Franchise Mode on a video game with them. It’ll be a more “for fun” version of the team that still takes into consideration injury context, the salary cap, and other factors.
Okay, cool. Let’s do this.
Projecting what Lavy will do
Scratches: Sonny Milano, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Alex Alexeyev
- Alex Ovechkin has recently been back with Evgeny Kuznetsov on the team’s top line for a handful of games. Could that be because this is the planned top line moving forward and Lavy wanted to give Ovi and Kuzy some game reps together again in preparation? Maybe. Outside of that, it’s a top line that the team has used for over 558 minutes at five-on-five in Lavy’s first two seasons in control of the Caps. It’s an “old faithful” of sorts, they won a Cup with it, and it makes sense to have Wilson come back to some sort of familiarity.
- We’ve been hearing hints since Training Camp that Dylan Strome would at some point probably play on the wing this season. At recent practices, due to Backstrom and Wilson’s involvement, he has skated on the wing during some line rushes. I don’t think he’s leaving the top six unless he’s going back to center so he’s going to be on the left wing of the second line with his left shot where he played some during the preseason. Backstrom and TJ Oshie is a tried and true connection (478 5v5 minutes together since 2020-21) but I also could potentially see Conor Sheary and Oshie flipped here.
- The third line is where I think I could end up being most wrong. I haven’t been able to get too good of a read on what Lavy truly thinks of Marcus Johansson due to the barrage of injuries. If it’s Kuznetsov or Strome that gets moved off of the first power play unit in favor of Backstrom, then I think…
Read More: Projecting what the Capitals lineup may look like with Nicklas Backstrom and Tom 2023-01-08 02:23:40