Hagelin didn’t take the ice on a fitness test at the Capitals on the first day of training camp, Thursday. It is unclear when he will join the team on the ice.
“He has a lower body injury that needs to be addressed, and we’re working on the last bits of it right now,” said Brian McClellan, general manager of Capitals. It will be out indefinitely.
“It was a lingering problem and a manipulation of it,” McClellan added. “It has only gotten worse with time. She is in a bad phase now.”
McClellan said Hagelin and Capitals are discussing the next steps in his recovery and “nothing is specific.” “It will sort itself out in the next few days. We will have more information when the decision is made.”
Even worse, McClellan noted, seeing Hagelin is not where he should be to get back on the ice for NHL games.
The Swedish striker missed every game after February 28 last season due to the wrong high stick during training. A teammate’s wand blade tore the choroid in the back of his left eye, forcing him to undergo two surgeries to try to fix the problem. Hagelin said on the day of the crash in May that his vision would never return to 100 percent.
“It’s still getting better, so it’s inconclusive at this point where it is,” McClellan said. “He’ll have some time here because of the other thing that will heal and see where he goes.”
With this news, it looks like Hagelin is destined to land an injured reserve for a long time, joining Niklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson on the list. The savings for these three players will be $17.12 million, and with nearly $6.3 million in caps, it will give the team a shade of over $10.7 million in cover space before the regular season.
Possible candidates for Hagelin’s fourth-line position include Marcus Johansson, Henrik Burgström, Axel Johnson-Vgalbe (Hagelin is his idol) and Joe Sneele.
Hagelin appears to have been making good progress over the summer, ditching his little blue training jersey (meaning it can absorb contact) and rocking a Danny Heatley-like mask during the team’s casual skates. But Athletic’s Tariq Al-Bashir noted that Hagelin would not always participate in intense conditioning training after the team’s fights.
Hagelin, 34, is in the final year of his contract and has a cap of $2.75 million per season.