Hours after losing two prospects to waivers, the Washington Capitals announced their 23-man roster for the start of the 2022-23 season.
The Capitals will be led by Alex Ovechkin, who is entering his 18th season in the NHL. The team will be sporting a bunch of new players including Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren, Dylan Strome, Connor Brown, and Erik Gustafsson. Prospects Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, and Joe Snively also made the team out of Training Camp.
The most notable part of the Capitals roster is who’s inactive. Nicklas Backstrom joined Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin on long-term injured reserve on Monday. All three players are out with significant injuries/rehabs. Wilson is expected to be back sometime in November or December, which will necessitate a roster move.
Here’s the full press release from the Washington Capitals:
Capitals Announce 2022-23 Opening Night Roster
The Caps host the Boston Bruins in the season opener at Capital One Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have announced the 23 players who will make up the team’s roster for the season opener versus the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on Wednesday, October 12 at 7 pm, 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 780 career goals and 22 goals shy of passing Gordie Howe (801) for second place on the NHL’s all – time goals list. Ovechkin is also seven goals shy of passing Howe for the most goals scored by a player with a single franchise (Howe: 786 goals with Detroit).
The Capitals enter the 2022-23 campaign looking to make the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season and the 33rd time in franchise history. The Capitals have reached the postseason in 14 of the last 15 seasons, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as the only teams with as many appearances in the last 15 years.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper will make his Capitals regular-season debut and play in his 300th NHL game on Wednesday night, after signing a five-year contract with the Capitals during the offseason. Kuemper, who helped the Colorado Avalanche capture the Stanley Cup last season, posted a record of 37-12-4 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 57 games played in 2021-22. Kuemper will be joined by Charlie Lindgren, who the Caps signed to a three-year contract in the offseason to fill out their goaltending tandem.
Up front, Connor Brown and Dylan Strome are scheduled to make their Caps debuts against the Bruins. The Capitals acquired Brown from the Ottawa Senators for Washington’s second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Brown, 28, recorded 39 points (10g, 29a) in 64 games with Ottawa in 2021-22. Strome signed a one-year contract with the Capitals after recording 48 points (22g, 26a) in 69 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
The Capitals’ core of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson will enter their eighth season together. The New York Islanders are the only other team to have at least seven players play together for the last seven seasons on their active roster.
With injuries to forwards Backstrom, Wilson and Carl Hagelin, the Capitals will look for contributions from young talent. Washington rookies combined for 65 points last season (32g, 33a) to rank 11th in the NHL. Seven Caps rookies made their NHL debuts last season, and 10 rookies recorded a point, the fifth-most in a single season in franchise history and the most since the 1981-82 season (12). One of them is Herndon, Virginia, native Joe Snively, who earned a full-time role with the Capitals this season after becoming the first Virginia-born player to play for the Capitals in franchise history last season. In 12 games, Snively recorded seven points (4g, 3a), including a three-point effort on Feb. 10 against the Montreal Canadiens (2g, 1a).
Head coach Peter Laviolette enters his third season with Washington. Last season, Laviolette guided the Capitals to a 100-point season despite the team incurring 288-man games lost to injury. Laviolette also passed John Tortorella (673) for the most wins by a US-born head coach in NHL history and later earned his 700th career win, becoming just the 10th coach in NHL history to reach the 700-win mark. Laviolette starts the season six wins shy of passing Alain Vigneault for the eighth-most wins in NHL history.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB