When Brooks Orpik underwent wrist surgery in July, the expectation was that he’d be ready in time for the Caps’ regular season opener on Oct. 10; however, it seems as though the defenseman is ahead of schedule.
Speaking to Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post, Barry Trotz said the veteran blue liner should be available during the club’s seven game preseason schedule.
“He’ll be fine,” Trotz said. “I expect him to play in some exhibition games and be ready to go.”
The 34-year-old had 19 assists and averaged 21:48 of ice time in 78 games with Washington last season.
Related: Caps’ Backstrom (hip) to miss preseason
The Washington Capitals have invited center Derek Roy to training camp on a professional tryout.
Roy split the 2014-15 season with the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers scoring 12 goals and 32 points in 72 games.
With Nicklas Backstrom expected to miss the preseason recovering from hip surgery, Roy could temporarily fill the void. However, it’s hard to see the 32-year-old earning a contract in Washington.
In addition to Backstrom, the Caps have Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jay Beagle, Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien and newcomer Zach Sill down the middle.
On top of the depth at center, Washington has less than $500,000 in salary cap space remaining, according to Generalfanager.com.
If Roy earns a contract with the Capitals, Washington would be his seventh club in five seasons.
Related: Report: Skille to join Avs’ camp on PTO
After undergoing hip surgery in May, Capitals’ forward Nicklas Backstrom is expected to miss all seven of Washington’s preseason games.
“Backie is still the same,” coach Barry Trotz told The Washington Post. “He’s skating and if he keeps going, he’ll keep progressing and get cleared at some point to come to the main group. Once he comes to the main group, I think he’s a few weeks away. That won’t be for a little while. I don’t expect him to be playing in any of the exhibition games. I really don’t.”
At the time his surgery was announced, the Capitals were confident the 27-year-old would be ready for the start of the regular season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was expected to start the season as the Caps’ second line center, could start the season playing on the club’s top line, if Backstrom isn’t ready for Washington’s regular season opener on Oct. 10.
“I’m going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing,” Backstrom said earlier this month. “I’m not going to play on 90 percent. We’ll see how it goes. We don’t know yet.”
Backstrom scored 18 goals and 78 points in 82 games last season.
Dmitry Orlov didn’t play at all with the Washington Capitals in 2014-15 due to a wrist injury, but now he’s finally in a position to resume his career.
“I feel good,” he told CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I’m ready to go. My wrist is fine right now. I can shoot, I can do everything. I feel good, I feel fine and I’m ready to play. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The 24-year-old defenseman has been practicing at Kettler Capitals Iceplex while he waits for the start of training camp. Orlov has also spent a good amount of the summer working with teammate John Carlson.
“(Orlov’s) skating great, he handles the puck just as great as he ever used to and his shot is definitely there again,” Carlson said.
Orlov, who did record three assists during a three-game AHL conditioning stint towards the end of 2014-15, is hoping to help fill the void left by Mike Green. Although he’s unlikely to match Green’s offensive contributions, Orlov might prove to be a mainstay on Washington’s third defensive pairing.
Nicklas Backstrom is “not in a rush” to return from hip surgery and his status for the Washington Capitals’ season opener is very much in question.
“I’m going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing,” Backstrom told the Washington Post. “I’m not going to play on 90 percent. We’ll see how it goes. We don’t know yet.”
The Washington Capitals forward has been skating since the start of August and is feeling much better, but he realizes that he’s still very much in the recovery process and it’s hard to put a timetable on it.
When he’s healthy, Backstrom is Washington’s top center and one of the best playmakers in the world. He led the NHL with 60 assists in 2014-15 and has finished in the top-three in helpers on five separate occasions. The 27-year-old is projected to once again skate alongside Alex Ovechkin on the top line.
If he’s not healthy for the start of the season, then it will be interesting to see how Washington alters its lines in the short-term. Evgeny Kuznetsov is penciled in as the second line center, so we might see the sophomore play with Ovechkin in Washington’s first game.