Washington Capitals Player News: Last 24 hours, All Positions

News: Head coach Barry Trotz is leaning towards separating Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin to start the season, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
Impact: The offseason departures of Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams may be to blame as Trotz has to resort to more drastic measures for the sake of depth on his scoring lines. Given the emergence of Evgeny Kuznestov over the last two seasons, it's not surprising that the 29-year-old pivot will be asked to anchor his own unit alongside the talented T.J. Oshie and (most likely) Andre Burakovsky. Given that Backstrom will still be working the top power-play unit, it's not likely his production will suffer too much, but this may be worth considering as your draft unfolds.
News: Head coach Barry Trotz plans to start Ovechkin on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
Impact: The Caps captain has spent most of his career alongside Nicklas Backstrom, but the emergence of Kuznetsov as a top-tier player gives the Caps as deep a top six as any team in the NHL, so this shouldn't come as a shock. The 32-year-old winger should be a reliable producer no matter who is feeding him pucks, although his age may point to goal totals closer to the 33 he had in 2016-17 than the eye-popping 50-goal seasons earlier in his career. Regardless of who he plays with on Opening Night, the Russian power forward should be one of the first players off the board in all formats.
News: Vanecek did not practice Tuesday after sustaining a lower-body injury, Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post reports.
Impact: The injury announcement comes on the heels of Vanecek's poor performance in Washington's preseason loss to New Jersey on Monday night. The young Czech is considered day-to-day at this juncture.
News: O'Brien did not practice Tuesday and is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post reports.
Impact: O'Brien likely sustained the injury during Washington's loss to New Jersey on Monday night. With the young pivot already facing an uphill battle to make the Opening Night roster, this is certainly not the setback he needed, so he'll look to get healthy as quickly as possible in order to get back on the ice and continue his quest.
News: Eller picked up an assist on Nate Walker's shorthanded goal in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Devils.
Impact: The shorthanded effort will certainly please the coaching staff, which is looking for more significant offensive production from Eller after trading two second-round picks to Montreal to get him in the summer of 2016. The 27-year-old Dane will be relied upon to generate more offense from the third line, as the Capitals lost some valuable contributors in the offseason, so he's worth a look in deeper formats -- especially if he can pick up some time on the power play.
News: Walker scored a shorthanded goal in Monday's 4-1 preseason loss to the Devils.
Impact: The Australian forward is being watched closely this preseason, as he's a candidate to fill an opening in the bottom six created by the offseason departure of Daniel Winnik. The 22-year-old winger will need more solid performances like this one to earn a spot on the Opening Night roster, but his fantasy upside remains limited even if he does break camp with the big club.
News: Vanecek allowed three goals on 17 shots in Monday's 4-1 loss to the Devils.
Impact: The 21-year-old netminder will hope to perform better during his next preseason action as he readies for what is likely to be a full workload with AHL Hershey, given that Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer are firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart.
News: Holtby allowed one goal on 19 shots in Monday's 4-1 preseason loss to the Devils.
Impact: The Vezina finalist looked his usual elite self, but Holtby still got tagged with the loss. Washington's defense may be a little weaker than it was a season ago, but there's no question Holtby remains one of the top netminders in the league and should be one of the first goalies off the board in any format.