Martin Erat

Caps shuffle lines: Grabovski dropped; Erat promoted; Laich to the middle


In an effort to stoke the offense and get his 2-5-0 team turned around, Capitals head coach Adam Oates has shuffled the forward lines ahead of Saturday’s home game versus Columbus.

Per CSN Washington, here’s what the new combinations were today at practice:

Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Jay Beagle – Eric Fehr/Tom Wilson

There’s no guarantee we’ll see those exact lines versus the Blue Jackets, but for now it’s notable that Grabovski — with just two assists since potting a hat trick in the season-opener — has been dropped to the third line. Meanwhile, the previously frustrated Erat gets a shot in the top six and Laich moves to the middle on the second line, which is where he was slotted prior to the Grabovski signing.

Related: Three reasons for concern in Washington

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.