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Capitals have decisions to make with bottom-six forwards

Sep 28, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Depth hasn’t always been the greatest strength for the Washington Capitals, yet it seems plausible that they might enjoy a multitude of options at forward this season. Still, that might come down to making the right decisions regarding their bottom-six forwards, as discussed on Friday.

More specifically, it appears that eight different forwards are competing for six spots:

Martin Erat
Jason Chimera
Eric Fehr
Mathieu Perreault
Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti
Jay Beagle
Tom Wilson points out that the Capitals are experimenting with different options in this situation, including trying Fehr and Erat at center. Fehr, 28, has had some experience at the pivot spot with Washington but Erat, 32, hasn’t played in the middle very often. Still, Erat’s two-way ability makes it an appealing thing to ponder.

“[Oates] thinks that’s a real good spot for him and I would agree with that,” Capitals GM George McPhee said. “He’s a real clever player as well, real responsible defensively, and might be a real good fit at center ice. I think we know what he is. We didn’t get to see enough last year, but we might actually get more out of him playing him at center.”

Most NHL teams have figured out their lineups at this point, yet the Capitals might still be weighing their options as the weekend goes along. For those who believe the team’s window is closing, these decisions could be pretty significant.

  1. micklethepickle - Sep 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    OOOOOHHHHH, those ARE some tough decisions. If I had to pick today, I’d start Erat, Chimera, Fehr, Beagle, Ward, and Perrault. Haven’t seen a lot of Volpatti, but he was unimpressive in Vancouver; Wilson is still young and another season in the minors won’t hurt him much.

    Honestly, I wasn’t all that happy about the Erat trade. I understand the reasoning behind it, but he was far from a star in Nashville, and frankly hasn’t been able to stay healthy in D.C. If Forsberg ends up being the real deal, I’ll be pissed all we got was an oft-injured 3rd liner. However, the simple fact that the Caps DID give up a major prospect for Erat means give him a little more leeway…. that being said, his salary is way above what he deserves to be paid on a team that is hurting for cap space, so hope that he starts performing.

    Finally, I’ll say that the 6 forwards that I ‘voted’ for in this comment are also almost the exact same group that has gotten bounced from the playoffs several years in a row, so perhaps it’s time for a change. Nonetheless, energy guys like Chimera, Fehr, Perrault, and Beagle will always be favorites of mine.

    Can’t wait for the season opener!!!

  2. sjtorpitt - Sep 28, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    2nd Erat-Grabo-Brow
    3rd Fehr-Laich-Perr

  3. gocaps8 - Sep 28, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Volpatti should go for sure.

    I keep Fehr, Erat, Wilson, Beagle for sure.

    That leaves Chimera, Matty P and Ward fighting for two spots. If Erat or Fehr can play center, Perrault goes.

    • prosportswashington - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:41 AM

      Perrault finds a way to score goals though, when given a chance to prove himself as something more than a bottom-6 grinder. He isn’t suited to that role anyways

      • tdrusher225 - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Then maybe Washington isn’t the best fit for him

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