Capitals lineup in flux with Darcy Kuemper potentially out, Aliaksei Protas and Alex Alexeyev take scratches skate

ARLINGTON, VA — The Washington Capitals Prepare for Potential Goaltender Absence

In anticipation of their upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, the Washington Capitals are making adjustments to their roster.

A key consideration is the absence of their starting goaltender, Darcy Kuemper, who recently became a father with the birth of his child. Kuemper was unable to participate in the team’s morning skate, and head coach Spencer Carbery confirmed that a final decision regarding his availability would be made later in the day. Such a decision could potentially impact other players on the roster.

Carbery expressed his happiness for the Kuemper family and acknowledged the need to be cautious in ensuring the success of players in light of the situation. Lineup decisions may need to be made accordingly.

Should Kuemper be unable to play against the Penguins, Charlie Lindgren would make his season debut as the Capitals’ goaltender. Lindgren, now in his second season with the team, expressed his readiness to step up if called upon.

In the previous season, Lindgren played 31 games, achieving a record of 13-11-3. Carbery expressed full confidence in Lindgren’s abilities and believed he would rise to the challenge.

Carbery regarded this situation as an opportunity for Lindgren to showcase his skills and continue his impressive performance in training camp and exhibition games.

Kuemper’s absence also has implications for the team’s skaters. According to the NHL’s CBA, teams can only call up an emergency backup goaltender in the event of an incapacitating injury, illness, or league suspension. Therefore, the Capitals may need to recall a goaltender from the Hershey Bears to serve as Lindgren’s backup. In order to fit the replacement goaltender under the salary cap, another player would need to be sent down.

Among the players currently on the Capitals’ roster, Aliaksei Protas and Connor McMichael are waivers-exempt. Protas remained on the ice after the morning skate, indicating that he may be the one sent down.

If the Capitals choose to temporarily send Protas down to the Hershey Bears, both Matthew Phillips and Anthony Mantha would likely be included in the lineup. Phillips, who was initially expected to sit out, practiced alongside Mantha on Thursday.

On the defensive end, Alex Alexeyev participated in the scratches skate with Protas. It appears that Lucas Johansen, the team’s 2016 first-round draft pick, has secured a spot on the left side of the defensive depth chart, alongside Nick Jensen. Johansen is set to play his fourth NHL game.

With puck drop at 7:30 pm, Carbery and the Capitals are finalizing their lineup decisions.

Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB


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