Today was Day 1 of the Washington Capitals Devolopment Camp! An exciting time for big time Caps fans to get a glimpse of what will be the future of our team.
On the metro ride over to Kettler Capitals Iceplex, my mind was racing with thoughts of, "how good is Filip Forsberg?" "Can Tom Wilson be a big time scorer but also a intimidating fighter?" "Is this Stanislav Galiev's breakout year?" all while listening to B.O.B's new song, "so good."
Jump forward past Group A & B's practices, the Capitals prospects are, "so good!"
First, Adam Oates did run the practices if anyone was wondering. He was all business. Gathering the boys around for directions to each drill and expecting them to do the drill mistake free at an ultimate pace. He got what he asked for!
Max Iafrate - D - son of Capitals legend, Al, was invited as a free agent defenseman. The most noticeable attribute about him was his heavy slapshot. I counted two defenseman cringing at his shot while practicing shots from the point looking for a fellow defenseman to deflect their respective shots. Will he stay in the organization? I need to see more of him to know.
Tom Wilson - F - the first thing you notice about him is how big he is. Tall and thick! During drills he wasnt noticeable for his speed or stickhandling but during the scrimmage you could not take your eyes off him when he was on the ice. If your eyes were not on him you would be attracted to the thunder he would create by crunching bones against the boards. Every shift he was out to smack opponents around. When around the net he has the presence of mind to grind around the offensive zone to create scoring chances. He seems to have just the right touch of physical presence and intimadation and a solid amount of scoring potential. Lets not forget he is young and will beccme even stronger! He reminds me of a young Mike Knuble. Strong, powerful (ox like) with great scoring ability! In my opinion he is the most NHL ready player at the 2012 Development Camp.
Stanaslav Galiev - F - not particularly big but makes up for it with smooth hands. If you are a defenseman and loose focus, he has the dangles to make you look foolish. Galiev also posses unreal vision. The kind of vision where he may be trapped in the corner with no where to go and nails a teammate streaking to the net with a pefect tape to tape pass leaving you saying, "how did he see that guy?" In my opinion he is not NHL ready baring no injuries but we all know that in a 82 game season, injuries occur. He will most likely see some time with the Caps due to Foreseen injuries in the lineup.
Filip Forsberg - F - Tall and thin or your typical 17 year old build. Far from NHL ready but get this kid in the weight room and he will become something special. He is a good skater with nice hands. He shy's away from contact a bit too much for my likeing but he's young. His lack of strength does not help him with having a noticeable shot. Weights, weights, weights, just like Backstrom and he will be fun to watch!
Cam Schilling - D - He is a big kid that is a very solid defenseman. He too, like Wilson, is very strong. He possesses great size which comes with a long reach that is perfect for a stay at home defenseman! He skates very well and has a quick release which is perfect for fooling goalies with shots from the point. Another guy who I believe is very close to being NHL ready.
Nardo Nagtzaam - F - great flow, great speed and he tapes his stick with grip down the shaft for his left hand. He is a lefty and it's not often you see that type of tape job now a days. He is an interesting kid I presume!
Christian Djoos - D - way too small, or it seems a boy amongst men. He is too small to be a good defenseman right now. He really needs to bulk up if he wants to have a chance to ever crack the Caps lineup. He has a short reach and does not make up for it with particularly great skating. He simply gets beat too easily. He needs time to develop!
Scott Darling - G - hockey prospect websites gave him a future success rate of an "F". I just don't see it though. Of all the goalies he looked to be the best. He was tall and his stance took up most of the net. He was agile and moved well for a big goalie. On top of all that he is very fundamentally sound.
Brandon Anderson - G - this kid loves his glove hand. It was his go to method of making a save. His glove is quick and he is relatively good at making sure he catches the shot and doesn't let it escape his glove. I would have to say beating him on a clear shot will rarely work. He loves to go down on every shot he sees and doesn't seem to be afraid to do so (eerily like Tim Thomas). The best way to beat him is give him a strong head fake, get him to go down and go for the deke.
As I mentioned earlier, Tom Wilson was very fun to watch during the scrimmage. He wanted to hit someone every chance he got but did not give up trying to help the red squad score a goal. Aaron Gens (D, free agent invite) made a slick shot fake from the left point and made a perfect shotpass to Gregory Miller (F, free agent invite) who easily tapped it home early on in the scrimmage. The crowd at Kettler "ooo'd" in approval! Galiev was a non factor for the Red squad today. Brooks Ostergard also struggled in net for the Red squad. However, Andreas Martinsen and David Villorani had breakout games for the boys in red. Both were very good at skating with the puck and trying to open up the ice to make a play for their teammates. Villorani is small, fast, and shifty while the lone German Martinsen is big and powerful. The white team ended up winning the oddly formatted game 3-1 with goals by Travis Boyd, Greg Burke and Brent Tate.
I want to say thank you all who fired away questions to me while I was at the Development Camp today on our twitter account (@capsacrosspond). At one point there were so many questions coming in I got quickly overwhelmed and accidentally called a lady, "sir!" the more traffic I get during the camp, the better my experience is, so again, thank you!
I will be in attendance all week so keep tweeting me on the blog account as well as follow my personal account (@capsfanatic_wvu). I would be glad to host your "off hours" questions about the caps and or the camp there when my day is done at the rink!
Until tomorrow :) !!!