Caps should have new faces on the bench
CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Aaron Volpatti
Position: Left Wing
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 200
Penalty Minutes: 7
Average Ice Time: 9:18
Contract Status: 2 years remaining on a 2-year, one-way $1.150 million contract [$575,000 cap hit in 2013-14]
Strengths: Claimed off waivers on Feb. 28, Volpatti is a hard-working fourth liner who can drop the gloves when necessary, although he got into just one fight in 17 games for the Caps, taking on Winnipeg’s Anthony Peluso in his first game in red. Volpatti played in just five of his first 15 games as a Capital, but appeared in the final 10 games of the season.
Weaknesses: Volpatti provided some energy [38 hits in 17 games], but little else this season, finishing last on the club in average ice time [9:18] and managing just 10 shots in games. He did not play in the playoffs, as Adam Oates opted for rookie Tom Wilson [3 games] instead.
Memorable Moment: On March 14 in Raleigh, Volpatti made the pass that helped turn the Caps’ season around. OK, maybe that’s giving him too much credit, but Volpatti’s lone point for the Caps – an assist on Joey Crabb’s goal – kickstarted a three-goal comeback against the Hurricanes and helped end a three-game losing streak for the Caps. It also prompted Oates to give Volpatti a one-game promotion to the Caps’ top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, an experiment that lasted less than one period.
2013-14 Expectations: Volpatti’s signing could mean the Caps are prepared to part with Matt Hendricks and promote him to the role of fourth-line tough guy. It will be interesting to see if any prospects on the Caps roster challenge Volpatti’s role as a 12th forward.