Capitals announce 23-man roster for opening night

October 2, 2018 GMT

It’s hard to say there are no surprises on the Washington Capitals’ first 23-man roster of the new season.

The Capitals claimed winger Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers from the St. Louis Blues earlier Tuesday, five hours before the deadline to pare their NHL roster to a maximum of 23 players.

Due to Tom Wilson facing a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety and injuries to two starting-caliber players, the Capitals’ 23-man roster looks a bit different than it would have been projected this time last week.

Here are the 23 players, organized by position and alphabetically by last name, on the Capitals’ roster as they begin their title defense:

Forwards (15):

Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly, Nic Dowd, Lars Eller, Dmitrij Jaskin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jayson Megna, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Tom Wilson.

Defensemen (6):

Madison Bowey, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Brooks Orpik.

Goaltenders (2):

Pheonix Copley, Braden Holtby.

Injured reserve (2):

Travis Boyd (long-term IR), Michal Kempny.

Boyd (lower-body) and Kempny (upper-body) don’t count against the 23-man, but Wilson will if he’s suspended by the league for a check to the head in Sunday’s preseason finale. Wilson’s in-person hearing is Wednesday in New York, so he’s not expected to play the season opener that night in Washington.

Enter Jaskin, a 25-year-old from Czech Republic.

“We were feeling a little vulnerable in our forward depth depending on what happens with Tom and his hearing,” general manager Brian MacLellan said Tuesday. “We like (Jaskin), we think the player has some upside and with the possible suspension of Tom we’re adding a big body that can make some plays and go to the net and has a similar skillset as Tom.”

To make room on the roster for a 15th forward, the Capitals chose to assign defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler to AHL Hershey. The coaching staff liked Siegenthaler’s preseason and he was on his way to making the big-league club, particularly with Kempny hurt.

“Everybody here is excited about the way he played,” MacLellan said. “He probably doesn’t deserve to be sent down based on play alone, but because of suspensions, because of roster, because of salary cap it’s just a pure business decision that he has to go down for a while. Realistically, he might not have played the first few games anyway, so it will work itself out.”