Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to make NHL debut against Buffalo Sabres
Capitals prospect Axel Jonsson-Fjallby will make his NHL debut on Monday as the Capitals play the Buffalo Sabres. He was recalled from the Hershey Bears on Sunday.
With the Caps dealing with injuries to T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha, as well as the lingering hip issue for Nicklas Backstrom, the team continues relying on its prospects for depth. Jonsson-Fjallby will be the fourth player to make his NHL debut this season for the Caps, joining Hendrix Lapierre, Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas.
Connor McMichael and Martin Fehervary are also rookies with the team, but they made their debuts prior to this season.
Jonsson-Fjallby has scored three goals and four assists in nine games with Hershey this season. His best asset is his speed. He is an incredibly fast player who projects to be a bottom-six, penalty kill specialist, with a skill set similar to that of fellow Swede Carl Hagelin.
“I like his speed,” Peter Laviolette said. “I like the fact that he can get on pucks and get on the forecheck. He’s putting up points down in the American Hockey League, somewhat responsible defensively so a lot of positives.”
Laviolette said Jonsson-Fjallby could be used on the penalty kill eventually, but did not think he would be put there right away.
“Right now, we’re not missing penalty killers,” Laviolette said. “We’re missing the power play guys.”
Though this will be his NHL debut, it comes against his “former” team Buffalo. Jonsson-Fjallby was claimed off waivers by the Sabres in October, but was reclaimed by the Caps when Buffalo placed him back on waivers a week later. Visa issues prevented him from playing in the preseason and he participated in just two practices for Buffalo.
Based on the morning skate, Jonsson-Fjallby will play on the wing of the fourth line:
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary – Lars Eller – Daniel Sprong
Carl Hagelin – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – Connor McMichael – Brett Leason
Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk – Justin Schultz
Vitek Vanecek is expected to start.