ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals have their roster set for Sunday’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Sabres. And several young players could make their debuts, while regulars could draw in as well.
Here is the group that is playing at Capital One Arena on Sunday, per Washington. The puck drops at 2 p.m. ET.
Forwards: Alexander Suzdalev, Brett Leason, Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, Nic Dowd, Haakon Hanelt, Hendrix Lapierre, Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha, Ryan Hofer, Garrett Pilon, Joe Snively, Beck Malenstyn
Defensemen: Nick Jensen, Gabriel Carlsson, Vincent Iorio, Martin Fehervary, Dru Krebs, Erik Gustafsson, Martin Has
Goaltenders: Hunter Shepard, Zach Fucale
It is unclear what the lines will look like or who the scratches will be since the team can only dress 20 skaters. It’s possible that Haakon Hanelt, Ryan Hofer, Alexander Suzdalev and Dru Krbes could play in their first NHL preseason games. Hunter Shepard will dress and likely play unless Zach Fucale ends up getting the full 60 minutes. However, head coach Peter Laviolette said that goalies on an equal scale will split time. And considering both are in Hershey, that appears to be the case.
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Hanelt didn’t get to play in the preseason last year or skate at camp last year. And, during his rookie year in the QMJHL with the Gatineau Olympiques, he suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery and limited him to just 18 games. However, he still managed 10 points and impressed, then rallied with a strong summer at development and rookie camp and a trip to World Juniors in August.
Suzdalev and Hofer are 2022 selections, with Suzdalev going in the third round and Hofer in the sixth. The Capitals inked Suzdalev to an entry-level deal in July, and his quick hands and ability make him a top prospect to watch. Hofer, an overager, is coming off a standout season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. Krebs, meanwhile, is coming off a rough year in Medicine Hat, which saw the Tigers manage just eight wins. However, he has taken on more responsibility and has improved in several aspects of his game.
As for Shepard, he got playing time with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays and Hershey Bears and was also on the Washington taxi squad in 2021.