Laviolette Explains Strome Scratch, Hints At More Change Coming For Capitals
Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette explained why he scratched Dylan Strome and hinted at more changes coming for the team while managing 14 healthy forwards.
WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals somewhat of a surprising scratch on Saturday, as their third-leading point scorer in Dylan Strome took a seat as one of the extras against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Strome's absence was noticeable as the power play went 0-for-3, but his absence raised more questions when the team suffered its third loss in four games after falling 3-1and managing to get just one goal from Alex Ovechkin despite 40 shots on goal.
Head coach Peter Laviolette explained the decision to sit No. 17, emphasizing the need for asset management again.
“Dylan’s played great for us, so he’ll be back in there. It’s just these are tough decisions," Laviolette said. "I have to keep a balanced lineup in there, I’ve got to keep faceoff guys in there, I’ve got to keep penalty kill guys in there. He’s done a good job, he’ll be back in.”
The discussion of faceoff and penalty kill-type players hints at the decision to dress Lars Eller, who has been struggling to produce of late, over Strome at center. Eller ranks second among all forwards in shorthanded ice time, and he won six of eight draws on Saturday and leads the team in FO% and wins.
There are currently 14 healthy forwards now that Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are off the injured reserve and being integrated back into the top-6. With Strome out, Anthony Mantha got to draw back in after two healthy scratches and ended up with four shots and two hits while leading the team in even-strength ice time with 15:01 minutes.
While it may not be a good problem to have, Laviolette said it's just managing the reality of the situation and said the team will have to deal with, while also hinting at more change with Strome guaranteed to draw back into the mix.
"It is what it is," Laviolette said. "If we didn't have those players at the beginning of the season, we might not be sitting in the position that we're in. The guys that signed came in and did a terrific job. We now have some guys back from injury, and we're trying to integrate that. Guys when they get the opportunity, they're going to go in there and play hard. But when they come out, it's not necessarily because they needed to come out. [Dylan's] played well for us this year."
Strome has 31 points in 44 games so far with the Capitals.