The Washington Capitals made another roster move on Tuesday, re-assigning left-wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
With that move, the Capitals currently have 12 healthy forwards remaining on the roster. Anthony Mantha is on the injured reserve and is out indefinitely as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, Nicklas Backstrom remains on the LTIR. In addition, Lars Eller is not listed on the NHL roster and remains on the COVID-19 protocol.
Considering the circumstances, though, it may mean a good sign for Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie. Both were listed as day-to-day and missed Sunday’s tilt with Seattle. Oshie had suffered an unrelated injury after coming off the IR for Saturday’s game in San Jose. Sheary, meanwhile, was ailing after an injury in warm-ups, and the Capitals had to run with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Kraken.
In the end, though, sending AJF down likely means that the Capitals are prepared to roll with their current lineup. Plus, if Eller does end up coming off the protocol, then Washington will have 13 forwards.
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Two Hershey call-ups now remain on the roster in Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas, both of who have been playing solid hockey in their first NHL seasons. Both are big bodies who can generate pressure on offense and win puck battles, and also fill in where the Capitals are missing depth: at right-wing and center.
Jonsson-Fjallby had a solid showing in his first eight games up at the NHL level. The 23-year-old scored his first NHL point and had nine shots while averaging 11:53 minutes per game. He took good care of the puck (51.02 Corsi-for percentage), skated well and generated pressure on the forecheck while also battling for pucks and backchecking effectively. AJF also got time on the penalty kill and skated on the second line with Connor McMichael, along with Oshie and other forwards.
The 6-1, 189-pound forward will get to continue his strong start to the year in Hershey. He has three goals and seven points in nine games with the Bears this season.