ROOKIE/MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
FOURTH LINE SHUFFLE
The Washington Capitals added two young players and subtracted two on Dec. 9 when forwards Trent Whitfield and Andreas Salomonsson were recalled from Portland to replace Steve Eminger and Colin Forbes.
Eminger departed to tryout for Canada’s World Junior Championships team. He will not return to Washington until January should he make the team. In 17 games this season, Eminger has two assists and a –3 rating.
Forbes was not producing, getting no points and a –2 rating in five games since being recalled.
Whitfield’s recall came on the same day he earned AHL Player of the Week honors for his six-point performance last Saturday against St. John’s. Whitfield led the team with 12 goals and 16 assists in 25 games. He also was tied for the team-lead in plus-minus with a +8 rating.
Salomonsson returns to Washington after just five games with Portland. He had five assists with the Pirates, all in Saturday’s game against St. John’s.
The flurry of roster moves gives Washington five players vying for spots on the team’s fourth line. The number has been reduced from seven since Ivan Ciernik and Brian Sutherby earned promotions to the team’s first and second lines, respectively.
Glen Metropolit and Whitfield will each get a chance to anchor the line with Alex Henry, Salomonsson and Kip Miller all getting playing time on the wings. The team is hoping to find a combination from these players that can grind and produce much like the Jeff Halpern line.
ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR CHARPY
Sebastien Charpentier was recalled last week to start in Olaf Kolzig’s place. Kolzig was placed on injured reserve, making him eligible to return on Dec. 14 in San Jose.
Charpentier has been more effective than Billington this season, going 2-2-0-0 with a 2.97 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage.
Billington has been backing up Kolzig with Charpentier playing in the minors, so he is actually playing and not sitting on the bench. Billington has gone 1-3-1-0 this season while posting a paltry 4.70 goals-against-average and a .823 save percentage.
Billington may see some action in Kolzig’s absence, but Charpentier will likely get the bulk of the playing time.