The Washington Capitals made another roster move on Sunday, re-assigning Brett Leason to the taxi squad. Washington has Sunday off and will return to the ice on Monday to take on the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena, and the move could possibly indicate good news.
With Leason out of the mix, the Capitals have just 12 healthy forwards remaining, as T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom remain on the IR. However, the move indicates that Washington could be getting some names back in soon. Both have been fighting non-COVID illnesses (Backstrom had the flu) but skated at Thursday’s practice ahead to the back-to-back road swing. They did not travel.
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Through 25 games this season, Leason has three goals and six points and a +/- of plus-1. The 6-5, 218-pound winger played on Friday in St. Louis but drew out for Connor McMichael on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
If this move does indicate that Backstrom and Oshie would be back in the mix, it would be just the second time this season that the Capitals have seen all of their usual top-4 centers in the lineup, along with the whole first power-play unit.
Meanwhile, Vitek Vanecek, who turns 26 today, is also battling a non-COVID illness. He didn’t make the road trip either, which allowed for Zach Fucale to draw in and make his second career start. He impressed once again with 21 saves on 22 shots in a tough loss to Minnesota, and now has a .42 GAA and .980 save percentage through three games this season.
It is unclear when Vanecek will return.