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Caps demote Vrana on Friday as Burakovsky returns to practice

Caps demote Vrana on Friday as Burakovsky returns to practice

The Capitals reassigned winger Jakub Vrana on Friday morning, the team announced.

The move could mean that Andre Burakovsky, who has been sidelined since Feb. 9 with a broken right hand, is ready to return to game action.

Burakovsky is slated to take part in his first full contact practice later Friday.

Afterward, the Caps are scheduled to depart for Tampa, where they’ll face the Lightning on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.

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As the roster stands now, Burakovsky, who has been on long-term injured reserve, would be the 12th forward.

If Burakovsky does indeed return, he could give the Caps a much needed boost offensively.

As we detailed here following Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Predators, the Caps have averaged just 2.0 goals per game over the last eight contests.

And although Brett Connolly scored Washington’s only goal against Nashville, the third line has slumped production-wise since Burakovsky exited the lineup 15 games ago.

Prior to getting hurt, Burakovsky was enjoying the best stretch of his career, having produced six goals and seven assists in the 12 prior games.

Vrana, meantime, had the primary assist on Connolly’s goal on Thursday as the Caps fell for the fifth time in six games (1-4-1).

On this latest NHL stint, Vrana produced two goals and an assist in nine games.  

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Maples Leafs interested in trading for former Capital Nate Schmidt, per new report

Maples Leafs interested in trading for former Capital Nate Schmidt, per new report

Nate Schmidt, freshly claimed by the Las Vegas Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, is now drawing interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to a report from TVA's Louis Jean. 

Given the wheeling and dealing around the expansion draft, it's certainly possible the Knights chose Schmidt with plans of sending him to Toronto all along. 

But the eyebrow-raising part of this report is the supposed asking price – a second-round pick. The Capitals almost certainly could have negotiated a better deal with Las Vegas to keep Schmidt. 

George McPhee, general manager of the Knights, signed Schmidt as an undrafted free agent in his previous role as Caps GM. 

McPhee was quoted before the expansion draft as saying other teams could negotiate to hold onto their players. And Schmidt's potential to be a top-four defenseman as soon as next year should have incentivized Washington to do whatever it took to secure his future in D.C. 

So either this report is questionable or the Capitals weren't willing to give up more than Toronto (a second-round pick) to keep Schmidt. 

MORE CAPITALS: Mahoney suggests Djoos could compete for roster spot

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

Capitals Faceoff Podcast - Say it ain't so!

JJ Regan and Jill Sorenson react to Nate Schmidt getting claimed by Vegas and talk about what that means for the Caps' plans this offseason. Plus, Tarik El-Bashir calls in from Chicago to get his reaction from the team and talk about what their plan is for the upcoming entry draft.

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @CSNCapitals@TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.

More Capitals: NHL releases Capitals' 2017-18 regular season schedule