Caps Head to Columbus for Pre-Season Opener
Goaltender Michal Neuvirth
and defensemen John Carlson
and Karl Alzner
are all virtual locks for the opening night roster in Washington this season. Each of those three players was a member of the consecutive Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears teams of 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Several forwards on those Bears Calder Cup clubs are also trying to crack a deep depth chart of forwards in the District. Starting Tuesday night in Columbus, some of those forward candidates will get their first pre-season showings in front of the Washington coaching staff and brass.
Among the forwards in tonight’s lineup with a chance to crack the Washington roster (or dislodge an incumbent) are right wing Andrew Gordon
, center Mathieu Perreault
, rookie center Marcus Johansson
and forward Matt Hendricks.
Gordon is a 2004 Caps draftee (seventh round, 197th overall) whose 37 goals were tied for second in the AHL last season. He also had 13 goals in 17 playoff games last spring, finishing third in the league in Calder Cup goals despite missing four games with an injury.
Perreault is a sixth-rounder (177th overall) from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft who got his first taste of regular season NHL action in 2009-10 when he registered four goals and nine points in 21 games with the Caps. Perreault also totaled 16 goals and 50 points in 56 games for the Bears last season. He added seven goals and 19 points in 21 playoff contests, finishing in a tie for seventh place in AHL playoff scoring.
Johansson was Washington’s first choice (24th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. After two seasons of playing in the Swedish Elite League, Johansson seems ready to start his North American pro career. He figures to be a fixture in Washington’s six-game preseason slate, but he will have to earn his way onto the opening night roster.
Hendricks notched nine goals in limited duty with Colorado in 2009-10, his first full season in the NHL. He played for Caps coach Bruce Boudreau on the 2006-07 Hershey Bears, a team that advanced to the Calder Cup final before falling to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
For Columbus, tonight’s tilt is their second foray into pre-season waters. The Blue Jackets downed the Thrashers in Atlanta on Tuesday by a 5-2 count.
Five different Jackets scored on Tuesday and ex-Cap Kyle Wilson
had two assists to adi the cause. Among the Blue Jackets who played in Tuesday night’s game in Atlanta, only defenseman Nick Holden is on the lineup sheet for Wednesday’s game with Washington.
Former Capitals captain Chris Clark is in the Columbus lineup for tonight’s game with the Caps. Clark will be sporting sweater No. 71 for the Jackets tonight. He had three goals and five points in 36 games with Columbus after the Dec. 28, 2009 deal that sent him to Ohio’s capital city along with Milan Jurcina in exchange for Jason Chimera
Chimera will also be in the lineup for Washington on Wednesday against his former team.
The Columbus lineup for Wednesday’s game will feature a pair of ex-Caps draftees. Goaltender Daren Machesney was a 2005 (fifth round, 143rd overall) Washington draft choice and defenseman Theo Ruth was the Capitals’ second-round choice (46th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Ruth was dealt to the Jackets at the 2008 trade deadline as payment for veteran center Sergei Fedorov.