Opening Night Roster: Who's In and Who's Out?

via daylife.com

When the Capitals opened training camp earlier this week they knew they'd likely be without the services of right wing Eric Fehr, a 2008-09 regular who's recovering from surgery on each of his shoulders.  The team got further bad news when it learned this week that Tomas Fleischmann, suffering from deep vein thrombosis, would also have to be left off the opening night roster.

The injuries to Fleischmann and Fehr have raised some roster uncertainty, along with the chances for a number of players who spent most of last season in Hershey to make the big club and show what they can do at the NHL level.  With that in mind, this afternoon we're taking a look at who the top contenders for that last spot or two will. See the list after the jump.

Chris Bourque


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 8 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 9.1
Hershey, 2008-09 69 21 52 73 10 57 7 1 - - - -

Working for him:  The biggest thing working in Bourque's favor might be his versatility.  He can play either wing (or even center in a pinch), he has the attitude to play an energy line role, the offensive skill to play on a scoring line, and even spent some time killing penalties in Hershey.  Given how much Bruce Boudreau's played with lines in the past and the fact that things are unsettled right now Bourque's ability to wear different hats might earn him a sweater.

Cons:  Although Bourque does well is most aspects of the game, there may not be any one aspect where he outperforms the others vying for a spot.  As a result no one's quite sure where he fits at the NHL level.

Odds to make the team: 70%

Quintin Laing


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.0
Hershey, 2008-09 55
9
16
25
12
21
2
0 -
-
-
-

Working for him: Laing's a quintessential fourth line grinder: he works, he hits, he blocks shots, he crashes the net, and he does it all without complaining.  To boot, Laing's not a bad penalty killing option, and the Capitals will certainly be looking to improve in that area.

Working against him: The scope of Laing's game is extremely limited, especially at the NHL level; he does what he does well, but just doesn't do all that much.  It'd be hard to fault the coaching staff if they decided they needed a more dynamic and versatile presence up front.

Odds to make the team: 53%

Keith Aucoin


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 12 2 4 6 5 4 1 0 0 0 15 13.3
Hershey, 2008-09 70 25 71 96 28 73 10 1 - - - -

Working for him: Aucoin's time in Washington last season left Caps fans wanting more and wondering what the career AHL'er could do with regular playing time at the NHL level.  Of all the guys on the bubble the case can be made that Aucoin has more effectively demonstrated he can be an NHL forward than anyone else.

Working against him: Aucoin played center for Hershey last year, something that's simply not going to happen with the Capitals garunteed to have four NHL caliber centers in the lineup on opening night, along with Brooks Laich and Michael Nylander as reserves.  Like Giroux, Aucoin's value is tied to his production and like Giroux it's questionable whether Aucoin can produce enough at the NHL level to justify giving him a roster spot.

Odds to make the team: 25%

Alexandre Giroux


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 12 1 1 2 4 10 0 0 1 0 20 5.0
Hershey, 2008-09 69 60 37 107 23 84 22 4 - - - -

Working for him:  You don't score 74 goals in the AHL (regular season and playoffs combined) by accident -- Giroux's got some measure of offensive talent.  In addition he can play on either the right or the left side.

Working against him: Giroux doesn't bring much to the table outside of his offensive ability.  He's not great in his own end, he's not particularly physical, and he doesn't have the talent to kill penalties in the NHL.  To put it bluntly, Giroux's a point-producing forward who hasn't demonstrated he can produce at the NHL level and would have a very hard time cracking either of the Capitals' powerplay units.  Plus he takes way too many penalties.

Odds to make the team: 20%

Jay Beagle


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 3 0 0 0 -3 2 0 0 0 0 5 0.0
Hershey, 2008-09 47 4 5 9 -7 37 0 0 - - - -

Working for him: Beagle can play either center or wing.  His big body and willingness to go into the corners make him an ideal grinder, especially given that he'd likely come to the team with zero pretense.

Working against him:  Although he saw playoff time with the Caps last season, Beagle only looked like a marginal NHL player.  The Capitals could do worse, but they could also do better and that's the biggest issue for Beagle: proving he's a better option than guys like Laing and Bourque.

Odds to make the team: 10%

Oskar Osala


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 2 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.0
Hershey, 2008-09 75 23 14 37 11 47 3 0 - - - -

Working for him: Osala brings a raw combination of size and skill and has the potential to become a top six net-crashing power forward in the mold of Mike Knuble.

Working against him: In his stint in D.C. during the 2008-09 season Osala looked overmatched by the speed of the NHL game.  That, and the fact that he slowed down drastically during Hershey's campaign, suggest he's not ready for regular NHL action just yet.  Long term it might be better for Osala to get big minutes in Hershey than play on the fourth line in Washington.

Odds to make the team: 8% to make the roster, 5% to be dressed opening night.

Andrew Gordon


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
Washington, 2008-09 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.0
Hershey, 2008-09 80 21 24 45 16 47 4 0 - - - -

Working for him: Gordon's has shown he can produce in the AHL and has decent size up front.

Working against him:  Like Beagle, Gordon might be a solid option as an NHL fourth liner, but he's going to have a hard time beating out the competition.

Odds to make the team: 8% to make the roster, 5% to be dressed opening night.

Anyone we're missing? Anyone we've sold short? Anyone we're too high on? Just let us know in the comments section.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Japers' Rink

You must be a member of Japers' Rink to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Japers' Rink. You should read them.

Join Japers' Rink

You must be a member of Japers' Rink to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Japers' Rink. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker