Alex Urbom has been claimed off waivers by the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted him and placed him on waivers in October, allowing the Capitals to acquire the defenseman.
With Urbom’s departure, Washington has six defensemen on the active roster but it’s possible the team recalls a blueliner from the AHL’s Hershey Bears ahead of Thursday’s game in Tampa. While it’s just a one-game trip and the Capitals could likely manage with only six defensemen, they generally prefer to have an extra player on the roster to account for any unforeseen circumstances.
“We talked about it with [General Manager] George [McPhee],” Coach Adam Oates said. “You want to have seven if possible just in case someone gets sick or the flu.”
Oates named four different defensemen when asked about potential call-ups: Tyson Strachan, who appeared in nine games earlier this season with the Capitals; Nate Schmidt, who played in 28 NHL games; Connor Carrick, who started the season in Washington; and Cameron Schilling. Strachan and Carrick are right-handed; Schmidt and Schilling are lefties.
Oates was noncommittal when asked if any call up would play against the Lightning, but offered faint praise of the group of defenseman as currently constructed.
“I would say last couple weeks pretty consistent,” Oates said. “We’re always looking for more from everybody as we know but the shots have been better. There’s still mistakes being made but overall pretty consistent.”
>> Oates did not divulge his starting goaltender for Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay. The last time Washington faced the Lightning, on Dec. 10, Braden Holtby started and allowed three goals on eight shots before he was replaced by Philipp Grubauer who stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced in an eventual 6-5 shootout win for the Capitals.
>> Washington stuck with the same line combinations on Wednesday as it used the two previous practices.