John Erskine hasn’t targeted a specific game for his return to the Caps’ lineup. But that day is getting closer, he said Tuesday morning.

Erskine, who had surgery in May to repair multiple tears in his shoulder labrum, said he was seen by team doctor Ben Shaffer on Saturday but did not receive clearance to participate in contact drills.

Erskine said he anticipates being examined by Shaffer again before tonight’s game against Florida.

“It’s stronger, but there are still some positions where it’s not comfortable,” said Erskine, who added that he can wind up and fire a slap shot without any discomfort. The pain, he said, occurs when he moves his left arm over his head.

Erskine’s return can’t come soon enough for Boudreau, who will finally have an option when it comes to setting his defense lineup. The Caps have only used six defensemen this season.

“He played a lot of games for us last year and was a real integral part of our team,” Boudreau said. “It’s important that he’s ready to play [because] it gives us seven good defensemen and you can move people in and out [of the lineup] and give people rest that need rest.”