Hello, defenseman Alex Urbom. Goodbye, center Michael Latta. And welcome back, center Jay Beagle.
Two days after making his NHL debut in Chicago, Latta, 22, was assigned to the AHL Hershey Bears on Thursday, making room for Urbom, who was claimed off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.
The roster moves give the Caps 13 forwards and eight defensemen.
Urbom, 22, provides a physical presence [6-foot-4, 215 pounds] that is lacking on the Caps’ third defense pairing, where 5-foot-10 Jack Hillen and 5-foot-11 Connor Carrick make up one of the smallest pairings in the NHL.
A third-round pick of the Devils in 2009, Urbom is a left-handed shot, which means if he replaces anyone in the Caps’ lineup it would be Hillen, possibly alongside the right-handed Carrick. Adam Oates was in the Devils organization as a coach when Urbom played five games for them in 2011-12.
The Devils were forced to place a player on waivers when they activated Patrik Elias from the injured list and with defensive prospects Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson ahead of Urbom on their depth chart, they placed the big Swede on waivers.
“You make these decisions and you just don’t look back,” Lamoriello said. “You have to make these decisions. You don’t like to make them. It’s just a compliment to the depth that we have.
“There’s no question he’s a bright prospect. We had four of them.”
Last season, Urbom recorded eight assists and 64 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Albany Devils of the AHL. He’s played in 14 career NHL games and collected two goals and nine penalty minutes.
Latta was a surprise starter for Tuesday night’s season opener in Chicago and saw a team-low 6:04 in ice time. Beagle is expected to return to his spot on a fourth line with left wing Marty Erat and right wing Tom Wilson.