WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Capitals again find themselves shorthanded on the forward lines and are turning to Mike Vecchione to help fill the void.
Washington recalled Vecchione from the Hershey Bears on Tuesday ahead of the Capitals’ Tuesday tilt with the New York Islanders. The team now has 13 forwards and more options when it comes to the lineup. It also gives Washington another option at pivot. The team is currently working through changes with center Lars Eller still quarantining in Vancouver after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Capitals signed Vecchione to a one-year, two-way contract in August. After a strong training camp in D.C., he started the year with Hershey. In 43 games with the Bears this season, the 29-year-old has 12 goals and 24 assists. He is a strong center who can generate a lot of opportunities thanks to good speed and stickhandling ability. He also has a great shot and solid passing ability, and he brings energy to the table.
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Vecchione entered the pro ranks as an undrafted free agent. He signed a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017 and has two NHL games under his belt.
At Monday’s practice, Connor McMichael filled in for Eller at center, with Daniel Sprong drawing back in on the wing. Sprong has been a healthy scratch for four straight games now and eight of the last nine overall. With Vecchione drawing in, Sprong may find himself remaining out of the mix. While McMichael is a natural center, he has primarily played wing at the NHL ranks.
If Vecchione does play, he will be yet another rookie to make his Capitals debut this season. Washington is holding an optional skate ahead of their tilt with the Islanders, so it isn’t clear what the line combinations will look like.