23 forwards remain, including Michael Nylander, whose locker has been relocated to limbo, as well as Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr, whose availability on opening night is in question. Of that group, there seem to be 12 spots nailed down, when healthy -- Ovechkin, Morrison, Bradley, Flesichmann, Fehr, Gordon, Clark, Backstrom, Laich, Knuble, Semin, and Steckel.
The defense follows a similar track. Here is the current picture among defensemen...
Of this group, the safe bets would seem to be Pothier, Poti, Erskine, Jurcina, Morrisonn, Green, and Schultz. OK, so that's seven. If the Caps carry 14 forwards, then the rest of those guys in bold are headed to Hershey, unless they don't clear waivers (like Tyler Sloan). If the Caps go 13/8, carring two extra defensemen, then there would seem to be a battle between Karl Alzner and Sloan for that last slot (this isn't news, dear reader -- you've probably concluded this a long time ago, or at least since John Carlson was sent down). While injuries make the forward situation a little more flexible in the early going, permitting "auditions," the same isn't true of the defense, and that makes this part of the roster murkier in terms of what it might look like. Will there be a trade? Will the Caps try to sneak Sloan through waivers? Will they keep him and send Alzner down?
By comparison, the goaltending situation is comparably cut and dried -- a straight up competition between Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth for the backup position. Both have had a cup o' coffee in the NHL regular season (Varlamov for six games, Neuvirth for five). Both have had post season success (Varlamov coming on in relief in the Caps opening round win against the Rangers and taking the Penguins to seven games, Neuvirth leading Hershey to a Calder Cup), both have been solid in camp and pre-season games (even Varlamov getting torched in the Duchesne Cup finals appears to be more of what was happening in front of him). What adds spice to this competition is that they are such different goaltenders in style. If we had to guess, we'd say Varlamov has the slightest of edges as the incumbent on the roster, but it isn't a significant edge.