Your 2006-07 Washington Capitals

After sending Alex Giroux to Hershey and placing Princess Pettinger on the IR (to be evaluated "on a weekly basis" - not good, and screw the Flyers for the last minute garbage that caused the injury), the opening night roster is set, and it will look a little something like this:

Lineup:
Alex Ovechkin (#8) - Dainius Zubrus (#9) - Chris Clark (#17)
Alex Semin (#28) - Jakub Klepis (#38) - Richard Zednik (#20)
Rico Fata (#22) - Brian Sutherby (#16) - Matt Bradley (#10)
Donald Brashear (#87) - Boyd Gordon (#15) - Brooks Laich (#21)

Shaone Morrisonn (#26) - Brian Pothier (#2)
Steve Eminger (#44) - Ben Clymer (#27)
Mike Green (#52) - Jamie Heward (#6)

Olie Kolzig (#37)
Brent Johnson (#1)

Healthy scratches:
Kris Beech
(C, #24)
John Erskine (D, #4)
Bryan Muir (D, #47)

Injured reserve:
Matt Pettinger (#18)

The injury to Pettinger (and a banged-up Zubrus) might give Kris Beech an extended try-out for a scoring-line center job, but I'd imagine that if he can't impress before Princess returns, he might be the odd man out when the team needs to make room. Fata is also cut-worthy (and Klepis's two-way contract makes him an easy candidate for demotion, despite his strong play), but I would expect the team to go with eight defenseman on the roster for a while because a) Clymer can always move back to forward if needed, b) both Erskine and Muir are on one-way contracts and would have to clear waivers to be sent down (and recalled), c) Erskine will likely play on nights when Coach Hanlon feels the team needs a little more toughness in the lineup and d) there's a big drop-off in ability right now on the blueline after Erskine and Muir.

So there you have it - your 2006-07 Washington Capitals. They look better on paper than the 2005-06 edition, but they're still very much a work in progress. Hopefully, at the very least, that progress will be fun to watch.

UPDATE: According to Mike Vogel's Pregame Report, I was off quite a bit in my line projections, and he sees the lines shaking out like this (with Bradley, Erskine and Muir scratched):

Washington Forwards
8-Ovechkin, 9-Zubrus, 20-Zednik
28-Semin, 24-Beech, 17-Clark
21-Laich, 16-Sutherby, 22-Fata
87-Brashear, 15-Gordon, 38-Klepis

Washington Defensemen
2-Pothier, 26-Morrisonn
27-Clymer, 44-Eminger
6-Heward, 52-Green

Goaltenders
1-Johnson, 37-Kolzig

Oh well - at least I got everyone's number right (I think).

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