The Washington Capitals have recalled forwards Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana from their American Hockey League affiliate to have 13 healthy forwards before a road back-to-back set of games this weekend.
Washington is coming off its bye week, having not played a game since Saturday. With Andre Burakovsky out with a hand injury for at least the next month, Sanford and Vrana, the organization’s top two forward prospects, will have an opportunity to temporarily replace him in the lineup at third-line right wing.
Sanford is expected to get the first crack at that. In the Capitals’ last game, he scored his first NHL goal, a game-winner in the third period against Anaheim. He has two points in 21 games played with Washington this season after making the roster out of training camp.
Sanford was drafted by the Capitals in the second round, 61st overall, in the 2013 NHL draft, and Washington then signed him after his sophomore season at Boston College. He has scored 16 points (11 goals and five assists) in 25 games with Hershey this season.
Vrana, Washington’s first-round draft pick in 2014, has scored one goal and two assists in 12 games with the Capitals this season after making his NHL debut Dec. 1. Vrana has scored 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 33 games with the Bears this season, fourth on the team in goals.
With the Capitals playing back-to-back games visiting Detroit and then the Rangers, it’s possible Vrana and Sanford each get a game to make an impression on the coaching staff this weekend. It could also be an audition for the forwards to be on the roster during the team’s eventual playoff run.