The Washington Capitals announced their initial round of training camp cuts Friday morning, sending 12 players to their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey and releasing five players to their respective international/junior clubs.
The personnel moves leave 49 players on the preseason roster, with the final round of cuts scheduled for Sunday. The Bears officially open their training camp Monday. Washington reduced its practice groups from three to two and returned to the ice Friday morning following an off-day, with a night game scheduled versus Boston at 7 p.m. at Verizon Center.
Among the players sent to Hershey, goaltender Pheonix Copley is expected to receive two full exhibition games after impressing during training camp, allowing just one goal in two exhibition periods versus Buffalo and Boston. He remains on the fence between Hershey and the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, though the lingering hip injury of Edward Pasquale may necessitate the 22-year-old begin the season as Philipp Grubauer’s backup in the AHL. Goaltender Brandon Anderson, expected to play in South Carolina this season, was also shipped to Hershey.
The remaining list of players sent to Hershey: defensemen Michal “Big Mike” Cajkovsky, Garrett Haar, Wade Epp, Erik Burgdoefer and forwards Tim Spencer, Phillippe Cornet, Joel Broda, Braden Pimm, Joe Diamond and Dustin Gazley. All but Cajkovsky, Haar, Epp and Spencer have AHL experience.
The Capitals also returned five players to juniors and international clubs, including defenseman Madison Bowey, ranked among the organization’s top prospects. A second-round pick in 2013, Bowey struggled during Washington’s rookie game against Philadelphia, but will captain the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets for the second straight season. Defenseman Tyler Lewington, a seventh-round pick in 2013, was counted by Capitals brass as one of camp’s most pleasant surprises, even earning a bump into one game, but both he and free agent center Miles Koules return to Medicine Hat in the WHL.
As it turned out, the four players Washington brought for extra bodies on its two road trips all got cut, learning the news on Thursday. Swedes Kevin Elgestal (seventh round, 2014) and Christian Djoos (seventh round, 2012) were in attendance in Philadelphia, but head back to their clubs in Sweden. Elgestal plays for Frolunda and Djoos for Brynas.
The updated roster can be found here.