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Capitals Announce Official Roster to Open Season

Hendrix Lapierre and Connor McMichael are notable inclusions for the Capitals opening night roster.

Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

Today, the team announced the official roster with which they will open the season on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

Notably, Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre, Beck Malenstyn, and Martin Fehervary have all been included on the roster.

Here’s more from the team:

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals have announced the 23 players who will make up the team’s roster for the season opener versus the New York Rangers at Capital One Arena on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m., senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Fourteen forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders make up the Capitals’ season-opening roster, led by captain Alex Ovechkin, who enters the season with 730 career goals and two goals shy of passing Marcel Dionne (731) for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. A 37-goal season would propel Ovechkin to 767 goals, which would pass Dionne, Brett Hull (741) and Jaromir Jagr (766) for third on the NHL’s all-time goals list.

The Capitals will look to make the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season and the 32nd time in franchise history. The Capitals have reached the postseason in 13 of the last 14 seasons, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as the only teams with as many appearances in the last 14 years.

Washington’s roster includes the vast majority of players who made up last year’s team that finished the season tied for first in the East Division, and a pair of recent first round selections, Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre, who finished the preseason first on the team and tied for fifth among rookies in points (5). Lapierre, Washington’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, ranked eighth in the QMJHL in points per game (1.48) in 2020-21, recording 31 points (8g, 23a) in 21 games with Chicoutimi. Lapierre led Chicoutimi in assists and ranked second on the team in points. McMichael, Washington’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, made his NHL and Capitals debut last season. During the 2020-21 campaign, McMichael led Hershey in goals (14) and points (27), appearing in all 33 games.

The Capitals’ core of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson will enter their seventh season together. Only the Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets have at least seven players play together for the last six seasons on their active roster.

Goaltenders Ilya Samsonov (24) and Vitek Vanecek (25) are expected to start the season as the Capitals’ goaltenders and will begin the season as the youngest goaltending duo in the NHL.

Backstrom will begin the season on a long-term injury list, which will require him to miss the first 10 games of the season.

Head coach Peter Laviolette will enter his second season with the franchise and first full 82-game season. Last season, Laviolette set a franchise record with a .688 points percentage (36-15-5), the highest points percentage by a first-year head coach in franchise history. Laviolette also passed four coaches on the all-time wins list and is entering this season one win shy from passing John Tortorella for the most wins by a US-born head coach in NHL history.