The Capitals sent Tom Wilson back to the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday, which could be one of the final moves in setting the roster for opening night.
Wilson, 18, has been considered a long-range NHL prospect, but general manager George McPhee changed his mind and decided to bring him to Caps training camp at the advice of director of player development Steve Richmond. Adam Oates praised the No. 16 overall pick in June’s draft, but ultimately Wilson did not make the team.
In sending Wilson back, the Caps have essentially set their opening night roster, with a couple of variables left. They have 13 healthy forwards, seven healthy defensemen and two goalies in camp and no salary cap problems.
There’s room under the 23-man roster limit for either defenseman Tom Poti, who’s on a conditioning stint with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, or forward Brooks Laich, who’s dealing with an apparent groin injury.
Or Washington could go with 22 for now. Poti can remain with Hershey until Jan. 27. Laich could be placed on injured reserve or suspended without pay because he was hurt while playing overseas during the NHL lockout.
“You know what, not quite sure on a couple situations,” Oates said Thursday. “But the guys that are on the ice will be the guys going.”
Based on practices this week, here’s a stab at the Caps’ lineup Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the important caveat that with a few more practices left, plenty can change:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Wojtek Wolski - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
John Erskine - Jeff Schultz
Healthy scratches: Joey Crabb, Jack Hillen