The Washington Capitals announced that they have recalled rookies Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana from the AHL’s Hershey Bears. The pair has combined to play in 33 games for the Capitals in 2016-17, and their continued growth will become even more important down the stretch. Sanford has played in 21 games, but has only a goal and an assist in limited ice time. Vrana has suited up for just 12 games, but has a goal and two assists in that time, as well as a +2 rating. When active, Vrana has seen more ice time with the Capital’s skill players, while Sanford has settled into a bottom-six role. Regardless, both players need to work harder to bring their strong AHL production to the next level in Washington. With Andre Burakovsky sidelined, the Capitals approach the Trade Deadline with very little forward depth beyond their starters other than the two rookies. If Sanford and Vrana can’t pick up the pace when the Caps return from their bye week on Saturday, Washington will very likely target one or two veteran forwards by March 1st.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Arizona was forced to promote goalie Marek Langhamer last night on an emergency basis, as backup Louis Domingue was injured earlier in the day. The AHL Tuscon Roadrunners’ keeper traveled to Los Angeles to meet the team prior to their road game and will head back to Arizona and remain with the team for now. Langhamer hasn’t had his best season in 2016-17, posting a .914 save percentage and 2.90 goals against average to accompany a losing record in 12 games with the Roadrunners, but performed much worse in his first AHL season last year. Langhamer has looked much better down in the ECHL over the past two campaigns and seems to just need more time to develop. He is still a better prospect than many would have expected when he was drafted in the seventh round in 2012 out of the Czech Republic national junior program.
- In the wake of injuries to Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz, the Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled fellow defensemen Steven Oleksy and Cameron Gaunce from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Maatta will miss the next six weeks, while Schultz’ condition is still unknown, so a long-term role or two may have just opened up for Oleksy, Gaunce, or Chad Ruhwedel.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have promoted forward Gabriel Dumont from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Dumont was passed through waivers last month and demoted to the minors, but in need of an extra body up front, he’ll return to West Florida from upstate New York. Dumont has just two points in 14 games with the Bolts, and five points overall in his NHL career.
- The Calgary Flames assigned defenseman Brett Kulak to the AHL’s Stockton Heat, the team announced. Kulak has played in 21 games with the Flames this year, picking up three assists while averaging a little more than 14 minutes per game. He also has suited up in 11 minor league games with the Heat, recording five points.
- Anaheim Ducks blueliner Shea Theodore has once again been re-assigned to their AHL affiliate in San Diego per a team release. This marks the 12th different time he has been sent down this year in an effort to save cap space and to get him as much playing time as possible. In 30 games with the Ducks, Theodore has eight points but has been more of an offensive threat in the minors with nine points in just 13 games.
- The San Jose Sharks continued their near-daily shuffle of youngsters to and from the minor leagues, announcing (via Twitter) that winger Timo Meier and defenseman Tim Heed have been assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. Meier has played in 26 games with the Sharks while Heed, despite being recalled eight separate times since January, has played just one NHL game this year.
- The Nashville Predators have flipped backup goalies once again, sending Juuse Saros to AHL Milwaukee while recalled Marek Mazenec, reports Adam Vingan of the Tennessean. The move will allow Saros to get into a game or two in the minors to stay in game shape before likely returning to Nashville next week.
- The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have recalled center Michael McCarron from St. John’s of the AHL. McCarron had been sent down to play while the team was on their bye week. McCarron, who is one of the players Arizona is coveting in a Martin Hanzal trade, has a goal and four assists in 18 games with the Canadiens this season.
- The Winnipeg Jets announced that they recalled winger Brandon Tanev from the Manitoba Moose. Defenseman Toby Enstrom was placed on injured reserve (retroactive to February 12th) to make room on the roster for him. Tanev has spent the bulk of the season with the Jets, playing in 39 games while scoring two goals and two assists.