It’s assumed that Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is continuing to work the phones, looking to shed salary, deal a defenseman and acquire a medium-caliber winger before the start of training camp.
However, in the current market, those deals are struggling to materialize. In the mean time, battle lines have formed for the upcoming Capitals training camp, as several positions remain wide open. One player in the battle-mix for a position is Daniel Carr.
The Capitals signed Daniel Carr on October 11, just three weeks after the Capitals inked Peter Laviolette as their new head coach. One can easily surmise that Laviolette had a significant say in the decision to sign Carr, who played 11 games for Laviolette last season in Nashville.
After the signing, Carr was immediately loaned to HC Lugano of the Swiss League on October 11, where he had already secured a playing role for Lugano at left wing on the top line.
It was reported last week that Carr has subsequently ended his playing time in Switzerland following HC Lugano’s game on November 14. Carr finished his stint with Lugano sitting atop team scoring with 4g, 4a in 8 games played.
There are reports that a Lugano player returning from injury and maximum number of foreign contracts ended Carr’s stint in Lugano, but the move is probably mutual, as Carr has likely begun his transition to North America to quarantine and begin preparations for the upcoming season.
So where does Carr fit in the Capitals organization?
Carr, 29, is a 6’0”, 195lb left-handed forward who can play both left and right wing. He has been labeled as an “energy forward” who is solid in his play around the goal. He has average quickness and skating ability with an above-average shot. He plays a gritty game along the boards, and generates a majority of scoring chances in close, as illustrated in the impact chart below.
After a four-year NCAA career with Union College, Carr signed as a free agent with Montreal in April of 2014.
Carr spent the next four seasons in the Canadiens’ organization, playing 94 regular season games in the NHL and recording 14 goals and 34 points.
Vegas Golden Knights
In the Summer of 2018 Carr signed a one-year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights and became, arguably, the best player in the American Hockey League for the 2018-19 season.
Carr played most of the 2018-19 season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL where he scored 30 goals and recorded 41 assists in just 52 games, and was named the AHL’s regular season MVP. Carr played six games with the Knights, scoring one goal.
Carr was signed by Nashville on July 1, 2019 to a one-way contract, essentially cementing a roster spot for him in Nashville.
Carr played in just 11 games with Nashville last season, recording one goal. Once again, Carr thrived with AHL Milwaukee, recording 23 goals and 27 assists in just 47 games with the Admirals.
Carr struggled to secure a full-time role with the Predators, despite being one of the best players in the AHL.
Carr scored Lugano’s lone goal on October 27th against Lausanne. He would pick up a loose puck on the right side and execute a quick wrap-around for the tally.
Shootout winner – 11/25/2019 – Carr would go 4th in the shout-out lineup, and win it for the Predators.
First NHL shift, first NHL shot for the Montreal Canadiens, Carr would score on a wrap-around.
Carr’s contract is a one-year, two-way deal which will carry a cap hit of $700,000. He would need to clear waivers to be re-assigned to Hershey.
Carr’s resume and accomplishments to this point in his career will certainly earn him a good shot at a bottom six roll with the Capitals to start the season. He could be an ideal replacement for Richard Panik, which would shed $2 million in salary cap space, and would also likely increase scoring from the bottom six.
Carr could challenge Carl Hagelin for a bottom six spot, which would also shed $2 million in cap space and see an increase in scoring, but Carr does not bring the high-level penalty kill play of Hagelin.
Carr could also be an ideal 13th forward, as he can play both wings. Also, don’t underestimate Laviolette’s familiarity with Carr, as that will go a long way with a new coach.
Brian Pinho, Daniel Carr, Damien Riat, Daniel Sprong and Beck Malenstyn will all have a good shot at playing time with the Capitals this season. Training camp will be critical for all Capitals prospects, as Peter Laviolette gets his first real good look at the prospect pool.
With the compressed nature of this years schedule comes the high potential for increased injuries. That, coupled with potential scratches related to COVID-19 and contract tracing will likely see most teams digging fairly deep into their prospect pools throughout the season.
The league is also likely to expand roster availability by including some for of taxi squad this season. That all adds up to plenty of opportunity ahead for non-roster Capitals players.
Breakdown: Nashville Signs AHL MVP Daniel Carr
By Jon Sorensen