The Washington Capitals have filled several voids throughout the lineup this offseason, and now that it’s August, they will get a better assessment on one of their injured forwards in Carl Hagelin.
Per general manager Brian MacLellan, Hagelin will have a later checkup this month to assess his status ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
“[It’s a] final determination of how the surgery completely healed or how much the surgery has done for his eyesight,” MacLellan said. “So we’ll have to wait until that appointment to get a better indication of where he’s at.”
During competition drills to close out practice on March 1, Hagelin took a stick up high right under his tilted visor. The blade went through his eye and ruptured his choroid, which sits in the middle of the eye between the sclera and the retina. No. 62 was in visible pain as he left the ice and subsequently underwent two surgeries. He did not return for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, though he did get some individual work in while sporting a full shield.
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Hagelin is one of the top penalty killers and also helps drive success on the powerhouse fourth line alongside Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. In 53 games last season, Hagelin dished three goals and 11 assists and was a plus-10.
“Those first two weeks were some of the toughest in my life, especially early on when you can’t see anything… total darkness,” Hagelin had said.
The 33-year-old revealed at the end of the season that his vision will never be back to 100 percent and that he has to undergo intense eye training in order to regain his depth perception. He has also talked to Marc Staal and other NHLers who have suffered similar eye injuries and said that he can also rely on his right eye, aka the “good eye,” to compensate.
Right now, Hagelin remains on long-term injured reserve, and he has one year left on his deal that carries an AAV of $2.75 million. If he comes off the LTIR, his salary would come back on the books, making cap space a bit tight. If he doesn’t come back, Connor Brown is expected to help fill that void on the PK, while Marcus Johansson can likely take over in his fourth line role with Dowd and Hathaway.