By Bryce Jurkovac
The Caps are looking to fill two defensemen positions and maybe have a seventh in a backup/emergency position.
Potential Candidates: Ness, Chorney, Lewington, Djoos, and Bowey. Let’s play the mix-and-match game and see how each potential pairing would ride out based on last season and play style.
Chorney & Carlson
These two already have history playing together last season with Coach Trotz’s line shuffling and due to injuries. These two did not play too bad with each other in my opinion. Carlson obviously plays a risky, offensive style game and can provide defense when capable. Only issue is that he gets beat when caught flat-footed with no support from the other defense partner. Chorney can bring that steady, defense game to the other side of Carlson. Very stay-at-home, defensively smart style of play. I think this would work out great.
Ness & Carlson
I haven’t looked into Aaron Ness too much with the Hershey Bears, but from what I’ve seen in the preseason (this year and last), I don’t think he’d be the best fit on the 2nd defensive pairing. He plays smart, but every time I’ve watched him play with the Caps, he gets beat by pure speed or can’t control the supporting man. I do, however, think he would be a fantastic 7th. He would be a good filler for the Caps blue line and who knows, he may improve and blow us all away.
Lewington & Carlson
I see Tyler Lewington heading back down to Hershey to lead them to the playoffs. He has a strong presence and I personally think would be nice to have on the Caps roster. Injury dependent, could see him called up in the future.
Djoos & Carlson
I was really hoping this pair would click and it still can. Christian Djoos has more growing to do before he lines up with “the big boys.” The talent is definitely there, but I would keep him in Hershey for now. Let him flourish there and make sure he’s ready to bring his ‘A’ game next season. Maybe shoot for the top pairing. Still chance for him to be called up, too.
Orpik & Bowey
To me, this is the ideal pairing we all want to see. You have a young and talented defenseman from the AHL coming up and getting paired with a seasoned veteran and Stanley Cup Champion. He’s a right-handed shot, which is perfect for Brooks Orpik. He’s a talented defenseman and has held his own in all the games I’ve seen him play. I think it’ll be a huge disappointment if Barry Trotz doesn’t stick this kid with Orpik.
Orpik & Chorney/Ness/Djoos
It wouldn’t be ideal to stick a lefty with a lefty as we have seen in the previous seasons, but it is doable if the right-handed shot is not available. This year it is and I think it would be a mistake to put the Caps in that position again. If it came down to it though, I would like to see Djoos or Ness with Orpik.
In conclusion, my ideal pairings for the Caps regular season opener would be:
What do you think?