The Capitals are coming off a solid season at the blue line in 2014-2015. However with the departure of Mike Green and the release of Tim Gleason, the third line will be a completely new component of the Capitals team this fall. With the candidates in place, the third line could end up being almost any combination of the following players:
Barring a trade, Bowey is aligning himself to be the next defender to crack the Capitals lineup. The question remains, is he ready. After a somewhat average Development Camp this past July, more questions remain. Bowey will need to survive the trade season, and have a great training camp to make the Caps, or to even position himself in the #7 slot.
During a speech at the national press club, head coach Barry Trotz specifically mentioned Carrick as a player that may step up for the Caps. Carrick saw time with Caps under the Oates regime, but with the signing of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, Carrick spent all of the 2014-2015 season in Hershey.
Chorney, the oldest of the candidates, brings the most experience to this years training camp. The Todd Reirden/Pittsburgh Penguins connection struck once again this summer, following in the footsteps of the enlistment of former Penguins Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. By most accounts, Chorney would be a solid #7 players, and was probably signed just for that purpose. Chorney will see time on the ice for the Caps, but probably as a result of an injury.
Orlov was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the second round, 55th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Since being drafted, Orlov has spent a majority of his time shuttling between Washington and Hershey. In 2013-2014, Orlov was the object of numerous call-ups and send-downs, mostly related to contractual issues and salary cap management. Dmitri Orlov is back to being somewhat of an unknown quantity at this point, after sitting out the entire season last year do to a wrist injury and associated rehab. However, Orlov brings experience and should be hitting his professional stride at this point. Orlov will likely start the season in the #5 spot.
Nate split his time with the Caps and the Bears during the 2014-2015 season. Schmidt looked good at times while he was with the Caps. GM MacLellan noted in his post season interview that Schmidt would be a top priority in re-signing during the offseason, and true to MacLellan’s word, the Caps re-signed RFA Nate Schmidt on June 16th to a 2-year, one way deal. Schmidt looked good at times when he was with the Caps last year. But MacLellan have laid out his plan for everyone when he said Schmidt was a priority. It looks like Schmidt will be penciled in as the #6 defender going into training camp.
Early reports have the Caps starting camp with Orlov and Schmidt as the 3rd line pairing (two lefties). However, by most accounts the battle is wide open. Chorney will certainly have his say, as will Carrick, both who have logged NHL ice time. Don’t be surprised if either Chorney or Carrick secure the #7 spot, or even work their way into the number 6 spot by the time the season starts.