Reports: Capitals D Tom Poti fails physical, will likely be placed on long-term injured reserve

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As many probably expected, it appears that Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti’s health status remains an issue. Various sources report that Capitals GM George McPhee revealed that Poti failed a physical today, which means the team is likely to place him on the long-term injured reserve as he tries to fight back through injuries stemming from the 2010-11 season. Poti didn’t appear on the ice during training camp today.

It’s sad to look on the bright side of a troubling injury situation, but the Capitals should get some salary cap relief from Poti going on the LTIR. CapGeek lists them as a bit more than $890K above the salary cap ceiling at this moment, but with Poti’s $2.875 million cap hit (temporarily?) off the books, the team should have wiggle room for injury and prospect-related roster moves. Poti will continue to try to work his way through his injury issues.

Poti played parts of the last four seasons with the Capitals, although he missed a significant amount of games. He missed 114 games during that span, with the 2010-11 season being the most troubled yet. Poti played in just 21 games last season, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points and a -4 rating.

When healthy, Poti can be an effective (if occasionally error prone) offensive defenseman. He logged at least 21 minutes per game for Washington in the three seasons before 10-11. Poti’s contract expires after the 2012-13 season, so the Capitals must continue to watch his progress.

A healthy return might cause some questions for the Caps’ brass – much like Sami Salo’s situation did for a while with the Vancouver Canucks last season – but here’s hoping that Poti can get his career back together soon.