Capitals Announce Opening Night Roster

The Washington Capitals have announced their final roster for the season opener versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena on Friday. Fourteen forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders make up the Capitals’ season-opening roster.

Here is the full list. 

Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Dylan Strome, T.J. Oshie, Anthony Mantha, Matthew Phillips, Beck Malenstyn, Max Pacioretty (LTIR), Sonny Milano, Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, Nic Dowd

Defensemen: John Carlson, Joel Edmundson (IR), Rasmus Sandin, Nick Jensen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Lucas Johansen, Martin Fehervary, Alex Alexeyev

Goaltenders: Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren

The 24-man roster consists of 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. The Capitals made some paper transactions on Tuesday, sending McMichael, Protas and Hardy Häman Aktell to the Hershey Bears.

However, McMichael and Protas were called up Wednesday morning and will be on the opening night roster.

Related: Capitals Make Roster Moves Ahead Of 5PM League Deadline, But Will Finalize Roster Wednesday Morning

Meanwhile, Matthew Phillips officially made the cut on Tuesday after his very impressive preseason. Lucas Johansen also won a roster spot on the opening night lineup.

The Capitals have eight players on the opening night roster that are aged 25 or younger:  Alex Alexeyev (23), Martin Fehervary (24), Lucas Johansen (25), Beck Malenstyn (25), Connor McMichael (22), Matthew Phillips (25), Aliaksei Protas (22) and Rasmus Sandin (23). The Caps have not had this many 25 or younger players make the roster since the 2017-18 season.

A notable name that is not on the list is Ivan Miroshnichenko. This morning it was announced that he was loaned to Hershey, however there is a good chance that he will get called up in the near future. 

The Capitals begin the regular season on Friday, Oct. 13 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena. 

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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45 Responses to Capitals Announce Opening Night Roster

  1. StephenP says:

    Last season the Caps were one of the oldest teams in the league (2nd I think, just a tad younger than the Penguins). It will be interesting to see how they compare this season to the rest of the league.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well Spencer it is your house to burn down I guess…if anything Mantha will help ya

      • Eric Lord says:

        The Caps are stuck with Mantha. Sending him down doesn’t help the salary cap situation. He will count against the cap either way. However, if you send him down, you don’t have the cap space to replace him with another player and you have to roster one less forward.

        • Anonymous says:

          Excuses already….Mantha having jersey shows Spencer is already not making wise decsions as a coach. Mantha should be waived for purposes of mutual contract termination. It is a embarrassment and a slap in the fave to fans that he was given a jersey.


          • grudensucked says:

            AMEN! Mantha must go. Just a weak minded soft flabby fake power forward

          • Eric Lord says:

            Mantha would have to agree to mutual contract termination. That means forgoing his $5.7 million salary. That’s not likely to happen. That means the Caps are stuck with Mantha. He counts against the salary cap either way & sending him down prevents the Caps from replacing him on the active roster. The best chance to cut Mantha loose was during the buyout period early in the offseason. The front office chose not to do so.

          • DWGie26 says:

            You think they haven’t tried to get a mutual contract termination. Mantha has to agree to it. he won’t. His salary (along with cap) is 5.7M.

  2. Anonymous says:

    LuJo is not an NHL defenseman. HHA had an excellent preseason. What games are we playing here?

    • Old Man Walking says:

      HHA is waiver-exempt and Lujo isn’t. THAT is what is going on here

      • Anonymous says:

        So keep an AHL defenseman on an NHL roster because he is not waivers exempt? That makes no sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Hockey News said HHA was sent down due to cap. Since Edmundson wasn’t placed on LTIR having HHA on the roster would of had them over the cap and making him waiver exempt also helped. He will be the first D call up and will be a fixture on the blue line.

        • Anonymous says:

          It does. HHA has cap hit of $900k. LuJo is 762k. We are less than $100k under the cap. When Edmundson comes back either LuJo or Alexyev will get sent to Hershey and both have to clear waivers.

          HHA plays NA games and if a d-man gets hurt he is coming to WSH.

    • Eric Lord says:

      The Caps want Haman Aktell playing. It makes no sense to have him as the #7 defenseman in the NHL and have him sit in the press box. This allows him to play in all situations in Hershey. Remember, this is first season in North America. He needs to to play, not sit

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply getting HHA accustomed to North American ice and living in USA. He will get called up and will continue to develop and play great.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another move is required to get to 23-player max.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The rebuild continues…. For those that wanted a youth-heavy roster, here you go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Still not enough… but getting there!

      • Anonymous says:

        I admire your ability to stomach a 20-win season.

        • Anonymous says:

          This team will have to have several of those in order to get the high draft picks necessary to be competitive again. By that I mean a legitimate Cup Contender not just making the playoffs and be out in the first round. I can take multiple non winning seasons as long as we are getting top 10 picks and not just “retooling” as the tools of a GM and owner think that is all that is necessary. Yes there are young guys on this team however only time will tell if they are NHL players or just AHL players elevated.

          This team has had a great run of success and they are now paying not only for that success but also for very bad trades. My question to you is this: is it worth retooling (as the owner claims that is all they need to do) just to get one man a record? In the grand scheme of things which is more important a record or how the team does and the success of the team? If you want a record than you must be very satisfied with the mediocrity that the owner and GM are putting on the ice, for that is what you are going to see for the next several years.

          • Anonymous says:

            Ted and his son will be happy just limping Ovie over the record. There were tons of options prior to buy out deadline. However that passed and leadership was complacent. So now prepare for a season of excuses

            • Anonymous says:

              As long as fans show up, buy tickets, food and beer and trinkets and therefore line Teds pockets he has no incentive to do anything different. Do you remember the marketing plan before Ovie get here; it was come see the opponents teams stars. I think we will be seeing that again to 2-3 years.

              • Anonymous says:

                Caps are not getting a penny from me this year…I have watched every game, every season for the past 20 years. Not even wasting the time watching this year. Pathetic, let down end of Ovie’s career. The only reason for it is a incompetent GM and what is appearing to be a “yes sir” coach.

          • Anonymous says:

            Last time I checked scoring goals allows you to win hockey games.

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

  6. Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see how Mantha plays. My hunch is we will see some early signs of brilliance, and then a quick regression back to his old self. If the latter happens, can we move him to Hershey and pick up his Cap space? (Still learning this Cap and Waiver thing!)

    • Anonymous says:

      My understanding is he cannot be waived due to his time in the league (games played) and year he signed his contract. HE could consent to a Conditioning Loan however that does not solve the problem as it is for a max of 14 days. Sadly the unconditional waiver period is for15 days after the end of the Stanley Cup and ends June 15th. From what I know the Caps are stuck with him unless someone wants him in trade. So he will probably receive some game time to see what he does and if he does not produce becomes a healthy scratch until someone gets hurt.

      • Eric Lord says:

        Mantha can be placed on waivers, but it doesn’t benefit the Capitals at all cap wise. It actually hurts them to send Mantha down. He will count against the cap either way. Sending him down prevents the Caps from replacing him on the active roster. The only chance the Caps had to get rid of Mantha was early in the offseason during the buyout period. They chose not to do so.

        • Anonymous says:

          Cap is not the issue, it’s more of a having anyone other than Mantha on the ice would make this team better. There is no sense of team pride wearing a Caps jersey when 90% of the fans wearing them likely could perform better than Mantha on the ice.

  7. Jon Sorensen says:

  8. Prevent Defense says:

    Seen on a PPenguins’ internet site comment section, shortly after the Opening Night loss to Chicago: “Wait Til Next Year!”

  9. novafyre says:

    Pits will probably have a new coach next year. Maybe even before this one finishes. Fan sites are throwing a lot of darts and Sullivan is receiving many of them.

    Young players need to play. They need ice time. A number of players need to adjust to NA rinks, a number need to work on English, a number need to work playing with and against older players. The English part can be worked on sitting on a bench or in a pressbox, but not the others. I would rather see players playing in Hershey or North Charleston than sitting.

  10. DWGie26 says:

    It is chess not checkers. There is a lot more to consider than what is the best development. Win first. Manage cap second. Develop in the AHL. We got younger but hard to move the needle with OV (38), Backy, Oshie. But they are 8 teams closer to being younger than on team older.

    Aktell will play more games than Johanesen. Alexyev is on watch. He needs to stop up. He is getting his chances. If he doesn’t win spot that is on him.

    I don’t know how it will end up, but may the best man win. They would rather send Johansen through waivers than Alexyev. If it is Alexyev then he didn’t earn it,.

  11. Diane Doyle says:

    Yesterday, I was reading the tea leaves about the roster moves, i.e., checking out the news on social media for both the Caps and Hershey.

    Mirosh and Aktell were both spotted in Hershey at the Season Ticket Holders event and a fan reported being disappointed at missing out on getting an autograph of Ryan Sutter.

    McMichael and Protas were spotted inside the bar/brewery place, sitting with Ovi, Kuzy, and Alexeyev.

    Hence, augury at who was actually going to be on the opening day roster, in reality and not just the rosters “on paper”.

    Figure Mirosh and Aktell will likely play with the Caps this season. Caps now seem to have more LHD than they know what to do with. And once again, I wonder why they acquired Edmundson. Yes, I know the LHD are all young kids and the idea was to get someone older and more experienced who could bring sandpaper elements to the table. But as Edmundson would only be a 3rd pairing D-man, it didn’t impress me as moving the needle enough to be worth it.

    • DWGie26 says:

      It’s risk mediation. What if AA doesn’t step up (which he didn’t). Johansen is serviceable at best. Aktell is good and I love the signing, but he was also a risk. To me, good thing we traded for Joel. Rugged, experienced LD. Freak injury that has nothing to do with his previous injuries (back). Hope we see him soon!

      • Anonymous says:

        you can “What If ” anything. What if Ovie breaks his leg in the first game? What if both goalies pull their groin in the first week> What if Oshie gets hurt….well that is a when not a what if? You can what if every player negatively. What happens if instead you what if every player positively? Also consider that it may take some of the younger guys some time and many growing pains to become NHL players and just because you have mastered the AHL means nothing except you are ready to try the NHL; there is NO guarantee that any of them will succeed or fail.

        • DWGie26 says:

          Exactly. Which is why GM’s and coaches want to mitigate risk and bring in proven NHL players and make sure there is a lot of depth that extends to AHL. Some will stick their heads up. Last year McMichael didn’t. This year he did. Protas now in top 9. Malenstyn ready. Phillips a surprise. HHA and Miro both better than expected at this point. Great to see so many things going in right direction this year.

    • andrew777dc says:

      Now that’s digging deep, to sniff out the roster!
      The kids were quite alright last year at D. Our defensive problems were mostly related to the vet FWs not getting back fast enough, losing coverage (which they were never good at), or giving the puck away due to errant passes. After we finally figured out (more or less) how to get the puck out of our own zone. Having some insurance against injuries, sandpaper, whatever, is nice. But I guess only time will tell how it all plays out, and whether it was the right decision.

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