With Capitals center Hendrix Lapierre averaging only nine minutes per game in his first five NHL appearances, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he’s returned back to junior. He has been scratched in five other games to buy them some more time to make the decision, one that GM Brian MacLellan acknowledged to Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic (subscription link) should be coming soon:
We’re going to do what’s best for him development-wise. He’s done a great job up until this point. Everything he’s done has benefited his growth — off-ice workouts, being around the guys, practicing with the big club.
But at some point here, we’re going to make a decision on what’s going to be best for him moving forward, to grow his game.
Lapierre can play in four more NHL games before officially burning the first year of his entry-level deal and MacLellan admitted that the cap element – in particular, having another cheap season from him – will also play a factor in their decision. At this point, it feels like the Capitals returning him to the QMJHL is a matter of when, not if.
Elsewhere in the Metropolitan:
- Prior to Dougie Hamilton leaving in free agency, Carolina GM Don Waddell felt that there was some progress on a new deal that would have stopped him from reaching the open market. However, the defenseman didn’t feel the same way, telling ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski that he never felt that he was wanted. He certainly got that feeling from the Devils, who signed him to a seven-year, $63MM contract on the opening day of free agency and he has done well so far, collecting six points in eight games while averaging 21:59 per contest.
- Islanders winger Leo Komarov has yet to report to Bridgeport despite clearing waivers and being assigned more than two weeks ago, notes Newsday’s Andrew Gross. However, GM Lou Lamoriello indicated that the veteran is rehabbing a minor injury and will report soon once that has cleared. Players generally aren’t permitted to be waived when they’re injured although since Komarov is still collecting his full salary (without escrow now that he has been sent down), it shouldn’t be much of a concern for him.