The Washington Capitals have placed Australian forward Nathan Walker on waivers, and should he clear Monday afternoon, he will be reassigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate. The move will allow the Capitals to activate center Travis Boyd off long-term injured reserve after he suffered a left foot injury blocking a shot during the preseason.
Boyd played in two games with the AHL Hershey Bears this weekend as part of a conditioning stint, but he returned to Washington on Sunday. Walker has appeared in just three NHL games this season, and sending him down to Hershey will allow the Capitals to clear the necessary salary-cap space to activate Boyd, who had been in contention for the team’s fourth-line center role before getting hurt. It’s unclear whether Boyd will play against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, when Washington will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak.
Walker was claimed off waivers by Edmonton a year ago, but then the Oilers waived him three weeks later, and the Capitals were able to reacquire him. With Boyd nearing a return from injury, Washington seemed to have a choice between parting with Walker and forward Dmitrij Jaskin, whom the Capitals claimed off waivers before the season. The team seemed to give the 25-year-old Czech an opportunity to make a case for himself Saturday night, when Coach Todd Reirden moved Jaskin up to the third line against Dallas. He skated 15:02 and tallied a primary assist, and his play was a bright spot in a 4-3 overtime loss.
“I, in particular, liked Jaskin’s game tonight, moved him up a couple time different points of the game,” Reirden said after the game.
The Capitals also reassigned defenseman Aaron Ness on Sunday, which could be a positive sign for Brooks Orpik’s health. The 38-year-old blueliner has missed the past two games with an undisclosed “lower-body” injury, and Ness had been called up to be an extra while Orpik was ailing. Orpik hasn’t practiced with the team in a week, so it’s doubtful he plays Monday against Edmonton.
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