The Washington Capitals have moved Justin Schultz to injured reserve, after the veteran defenseman left Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Schultz had already missed the Capitals last game and his IR stint is likely retroactive to November 24, meaning he could return partway through next week if healthy.
The team has not announced a recovery timeline, but moving Schultz to injured reserve would open a roster spot for Lars Eller who is set to return from the COVID protocol and play this afternoon. Eller has missed six games, last playing on November 14 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two-way center had eight points in his first 15 contests and is an important piece of the Capitals lineup.
Schultz meanwhile has been moved down in the lineup this season, averaging just over 17 minutes a night before exiting early in his last game. The 31-year-old has just two points in 20 games this season, a far cry from the 27 he registered in 46 during the 2020-21 campaign. Still an effective enough option at even-strength, Schultz will be missed for the next few games even if he’s not relied on to the same level as years past.
In his place, Dennis Cholowski moved into the lineup on Friday night and played just over 16 minutes. The 23-year-old former Detroit Red Wing has just two games at the NHL level this season.