One d-man out, another one in. Call it Washington’s circle of life.
On Tuesday, blueliner Steve Oleksy cleared waivers and was sent to AHL Hershey, allowing the Caps to recall 22-year-old Nate Schmidt. Oleksy and Schmidt are two of 12 defensemen to have suited up for Washington this season.
“The cycle keeps going and you see things. You don’t want a guy to sit too long,” said head coach Adam Oates, per the Washington Post. “It makes for a difficult position. You put [Oleksy] on waivers because [there’s] no other choice.
“You hope he gets picked up and gets a chance to play. He’s been great about it.”
It’s a tad surprising Oleksy cleared waivers, given he’s played 60-plus games over the last two seasons (and has seven playoff appearances to boot.) What’s more, Oleksy has a very affordable cap hit — $541,667 — and can chip in offensively, having scored two goals and 10 points in 33 games this season.
As for Schmidt, he gets another kick at the can after appearing in 28 games for the Caps earlier this season. He was sent to Hershey after John Erskine returned from injury and appeared in 15 games, scoring six points.
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The Washington Capitals have placed defenseman Steve Oleksy on waivers, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
Oleksy, 27, has 10 points through 33 games this year after making his NHL debut during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign. He was a pretty regular fixture on the Washington blueline through the second half of last season and the first part of this season — averaging over 15 minutes per game — but has been a spare part as of late, having dressed in just two of the Caps’ last nine contests.
This marks the second time in two weeks the Capitals have waived a defenseman. On Jan. 8, the club put Alex Urbom on waivers and he was quickly scooped up by New Jersey, the club that originally drafted him.
It should be noted Oleksy also has some playoff experience, dressing in all seven of Washington’s first-round games against the Rangers last season. He’s in the second of a three-year, $1.625 million entry-level deal that carries a $541,667 annual cap hit.
The Washington Capitals have been great this year for defensemen looking to play their first NHL game. Connor Carrick and Nate Schmidt made their league debuts with the team earlier this season and now another will join them tonight.
Capitals 2009 fourth-round pick Patrick Wey will play in his first NHL game tonight against the Nashville Predators as CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley shares. For Wey, it’s an extra special night given that he started the season in the ECHL with the Reading Royals.
Wey is expected to be paired up with Dmitry Orlov on the blue line giving the Caps a rather NHL-inexperienced third pairing. The team has had to dance around injuries to experienced defensemen John Erskine and Jack Hillen and cycling in others like Alexander Urbom and Steve Oleksy.
Getting Wey in against the low-scoring Predators isn’t a bad idea.
The Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs dipped into their AHL affiliates on Thursday.
Washington recalled defenseman Patrick Wey from Hershey, the club announced. Wey, 22, will replace Tyson Strachan on the active roster, as the 29-year-old veteran is on his way back to the Bears.
Toronto, meanwhile, called up Jerry D’Amigo from the Marlies. D’Amigo, also 22, is set to replace checking center Jerred Smithson on the active roster, as Smithson was placed on waivers yesterday.
Reports suggest that D’Amigo will draw into the lineup tonight when the Leafs host Dallas at the ACC. A two-time medalist with Team USA at the World Juniors — including the gold medal-winning team in 2010 — D’Amigo has eight points in 19 games for the Marlies this year and will likely see time on the penalty kill.
It’s unclear if Wey will play for Washington. The guy he’s replacing, Strachan, did play last game — a 4-1 loss to Carolina — but the Caps have defensemen Alex Urbom and Steve Oleksy available for selection.
Washington will be without its leading d-man scorer tonight against Pittsburgh.
Mike Green, who has missed the last two contests with a lower-body ailment, will be held out of his third straight game on Tuesday when the Caps host the Penguins at Verizon.
“Not ready. Not 100 percent ready,” head coach Adam Oates told the Washington Post. “He could go. [Pittsburgh is] really good team and don’t want to put him in a position where he’s behind the 8-ball a little bit.”
Green, who sits first among Caps defensemen with 11 points and third on the team in assists, has been logging a heavy workload this season. He’s averaging over 24 minutes per game and sits third among all blueliners in blocked shots, with 32.
“Mentally I’m in a good place, when you’re getting better and you can actually get back on the ice and work on your strength,” Green said. “This is my second real day where I’ve actually skated. Yesterday was a good one. Today was even better.
“I don’t think one practice would have been enough. It’s important I strengthen the leg and also my endurance so I’m ready to go.”
With Green out, the Caps will go with the same defensive group that suited up in Sunday’s 4-1 win over St. Louis: Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Tyston Strachan, Nate Schmidt, Alex Urbom and Steve Oleksy.
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