WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Capitals announced two groups of players assigned to the Hershey Bears in preparation for the season. The cuts help solidify Washington’s opening night roster, while others will have to be moved to accommodate the Capitals’ taxi squad, which has not been defined as of Monday afternoon.
The first group consisted of players who are not eligible for waivers and include Joe Snively, Kody Clark, Riley Sutter, Garrett Pilon, Brett Leason, and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, who was reassigned from Sweden to join the Bears. This group was specifically listed as loaned from Washington to Hershey, so they will not be joining the taxi squad at this point.
The second group of players who must pass waivers for assignment are: Daniel Carr, Mike Sgarbossa, Cameron Schilling, Zach Fucale, Pheonix Copley, Lucas Johansen, Paul LaDue, Shane Gersich, and Phil Maillet. At least four and as many as six players (including one goaltender) must comprise the taxi squad, and it seems like the Bears will get at least three of those players, one of which being a goaltender, to join their group.
There are still a couple of questions to be answered, particularly for Martin Fehervary, who does not need to pass through waivers but was not on the list nor present at Capitals practice on Monday. Additionally, veteran goaltender Craig Anderson was not present at Monday’s practice after skating on a professional tryout agreement with the club. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette mentioned that Anderson would be “a part of” the goalie rotation, indicating the Bears will have Copley and Fucale in goal. The Caps had Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek as their goaltending duo at practice, per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir:
Lines at #Caps camp:
No Fehervary, who is waiver exempt, or Anderson, who came to camp on a PTO
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) January 11, 2021
Any player who joins the taxi squad has to pass through waivers as if on assignment to Hershey. The Capitals’ roster consisted of 13 forwards and eight defensemen, which will be interesting to see if any more players join the taxi squad group. Among players to stick on the main roster, Daniel Sprong appears to have impressed to stay on the main lineup, and it seems as though Vanecek will get a shot at the NHL level this season.
The biggest questions for Bears fans to await answers for on Tuesday at noon will be the statuses of Anderson and Fehervary to become official, which both affect Hershey’s depth significantly. If Anderson joins the team and becomes the netminder on the taxi squad, Hershey’s tandem of Copley and Fucale becomes final, but with Hunter Shepard on injured reserve with the South Carolina Stingrays, losing a goalie would be a big question for Hershey to answer.
It’s a big first step towards training camp getting underway for Hershey, but far from being a definitive roster for the 2021 edition of the Bears. When the waiver period ends on Tuesday at noon, there should be a better look at who will be heading to Hershey this season.
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