(John Woods/Associated Press) John Erskine has been activated from injured reserve.


Nine blueliners took part in the Capitals morning skate at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday morning but before the opening faceoff against the Hurricanes, General Manager George McPhee retooled the defense.

Washington signed Jack Hillen to a two-year, $1.4 million contract extension, inked highly touted college free agent defenseman Nate Schmidt, activated John Erskine off of injured reserve and assigned Tomas Kundratek and Dmitry Orlov to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. After all of the moves the Capitals still have eight healthy defensemen — Tom Poti remains on injured reserve with a back injury — on their roster.

Erskine has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury he suffered on March 9 at the New York Islanders and will return to the lineup tonight at Carolina. Sending Kundratek, who recently recovered from a sprained right MCL, and Orlov to Hershey will allow both young defensemen to get more playing time. Both had been healthy scratches in each of the past two games.

Washington would be able to recall Orlov or Kundratek at any time. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are permitted to recall four players from the AHL from the trade deadline to the end of the regular season. Once the playoffs begin, teams can recall as many players as they want but only three can be in the lineup on any given night.

Faceoff: 7 p.m. PNC Arena | TV: CSN+ | Radio: 106.7

Discuss the game in the comment section below. Based on warmups here’s what the lineup should look like:



Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth

Scratches: Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Schultz.
IR: Eric Fehr (upper body) and Tom Poti (back).