Max Pacioretty could return soon

The Washington Capitals might finally see their offseason prize Max Pacioretty suit up for a game.

Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals
Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Capitals finally hit the ice after the holiday break tomorrow at Madison Square Garden for morning skate at 11:30 a.m. ahead of a 7 p.m. puck drop against the New York Rangers. While players haven't taken the ice for rushes as we wrote this one, expect the Capitals lineup to look different. Max Pacioretty could finally be making his long awaited Caps debut soon.

If not Wednesday it could always be either Friday at the New York Islanders or when the team returns home that weekend to face the Nashville Predators. Pacioretty has been recovreing from an Achilles injury that he suffered for the second time in a span of five months.

The Caps are also trying to figure out the statuses of Sonny Milano and T.J. Oshie who are both dealing with injuries. Milano has an upper body injury and has skated in a non contact jersey. Oshie has been hurt since before the Caps win on Dec. 17 over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Caps are also expected to sign Ethan Bear to a deal as he continues his rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery. He'll line up on defense when healthy.

What puts the Caps in a tough spot, maybe not quite tomorrow but sometime soon down the line, is what happens when Oshie, Milano, and Pacioretty are all in? Someone among the forwards would have to be the odd man out. I hate to say it but that odd man out could be Matthew Phillips.

While Phillips impressed the coaches in preseason and training camp to earn a roster spot, he's spent some time as a healthy scratch and could benefit playing on a loaded Hershey Bears team that is the best in the AHL right now.

Either way, it'll be exciting to see Pacioretty finally suit up for the Capitals soon. After it was an if back in the summer, it has now become a when.