The Capitals have been in need of extra help up front for some time and now they’re about to get just that.
Forward Mikhail Grabovski will return to the Caps lineup tonight against the Nashville Predators after being out since Feb. 28 with a sprained left ankle. As Katie Carrera of The Washington Post shares, coach Adam Oates is going to keep a close eye on his minutes.
“Ease him into it slow and see how he is. It’s been a long time now,” Oates said. “We’ll see how he is and how everybody else is. We played yesterday and [Nashville] didn’t, maybe he’s fresh and flying, maybe he gets more minutes because of that. As the game goes along I’ll kind of monitor it.”
In other words, he’ll play things by ear.
With Grabovski out, Oates has been doing some interesting things at center to try and find balance on his lines.
Oates put Jay Beagle on the top line between Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson and moved Nicklas Backstrom to the second line. Grabovski had been flipping between the second and third line before he was injured.
Getting Grabovski back in could do wonders for the Capitals playoff hopes as they sit two points behind Detroit and Columbus for the two wild card spots.
Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.
Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.
While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.
A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.