“It’s just a slight injury, just aggravation,” Trotz said. “I’d rather him get healthy than play. But he’s skating, so as soon as he doesn’t have any issues, we’ll put him in.”
Johansson said the back injury is “something that’s been going on for a bit,” but it doesn’t affect him when he skates anymore and is feeling better. In his first appearance at practice in nearly a week, Johansson skated on a line with Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams on Sunday, and he said he’s not worried about being behind on developing with Williams, new to the team this season.
“Those are two fun guys to play with,” Johansson said. “It’s fun to see Williams out there, and he’s good hockey player and a good leader, and it’s something that we need here. Playing with him is a lot of fun.”
Trotz said Latta, who exited the Captials’ preseason game at Boston early with an announced lower-body injury is in “the same boat” as Johansson. In a competition for depth forward spots, Latta joined teammates for practice on Thursday, but didn’t participate the entire time, and then the team didn’t skate on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Latta centered a line with Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson.
“I would say that I probably won’t have him in [at New York], then look for the Carolina ,” Trotz said. “He’s got to get in here.”
Trotz said the plan is still to get veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik, who had offseason wrist surgery, into two exhibition games, but the Capitals will monitor him with the priority for Orpik to be healthy and not rush recovery to play in the preseason. He has not practiced with the team yet in training camp.