Heading into the final days of training camp/the preseason, the Capitals’ coaching staff’s most pressing decisions will involve deciding which players earn a spot on defense, and which forwards will earn a spot among the bottom-six forward group. And through one period of play in their fifth preseason game, against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night, that decision was only made harder, as forward Travis Boyd saw his name written on the scoresheet yet again.
Boyd, who is entering a season in which he is needing to fight for a regular lineup spot after the additions of forwards Garnet Hathaway and Brendan Leipsic this past summer, scored his second goal of the preseason just 3:40 into the first period in the team’s contest against the St. Louis Blues, on an assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Boyd is entering the final season of a two-year, $1.6 million deal, and in his first substantial NHL opportunity last season, the 25-year old, former sixth-round pick (177th overall in 2011) recorded 20 points, and is one of a number of forwards left competing for a bottom-six spot, with Liam O’Brien, Brian Pinho, Shane Gersich, Mike Sgarbossa, Leipsic, and Beck Malenstyn. O’Brien, especially has had an impressive camp, showing an ability to bring energy into games while adding a tough presence in the lineup, including a fisticuffs with the Blues’ Jordan Nolan after the Caps found themselves down 3-2 early in the second period.
With rosters required to be sent in by Tuesday, Head Coach Todd Reirden and his staff, along with General Manager Brian MacLellan will have some tough decisions to make with Boyd and Co. doing their best to stay in the lineup.
By Michael Fleetwood