With roughly a week remaining until the Washington Capitals must settle on a 23-man opening night roster, Coach Bruce Boudreau and General Manager George McPhee continue to weigh all options.
During yesterday's practice, Boudreau had veteran center Sergei Fedorov line up as a defenseman, a position Fedorov has played sporadically throughout his NHL career.
"Do we want to carry seven natural defensemen?" Boudreau said at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "Do we want to carry six natural defensemen? If you've got a guy that can go up and back, that gives you a little more flexibility on the [roster] decision you're going to make."
About an hour before practice started, the Capitals made another round of cuts. Defensemen Sami Lepisto, Grant McNeill and Tyler Sloan as well as goaltender Simeon Varlamov were re-assigned to Hershey (Pa.) of the American Hockey League, trimming the roster to 25.
The demotion of Lepisto, McNeill and Sloan left the Capitals with seven defensemen, including rookie Karl Alzner, who has performed solidly but has yet to secure a spot. Starting Alzner in Hershey would give the first-year professional time to mature while also providing the Capitals with some salary cap flexibility. (Alzner could earn as much as $1.675 million this season and the team is close to the ceiling of $56.7 million.)