The 2011-12 NHL season officially got underway two weeks ago with the NHL Entry Draft, an event that saw four baby-faced teens join the organization’s ever-growing prospect pool. Starting Monday, those four new Caps will join 15 others for the team’s annual Development Camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. Over the next week they’ll get a firsthand look at the facilities, their future teammates and the staff – and give the team (and the fans) a look at them, as well.
After the jump, a look at some blue chip prospects to watch as well as some potential dark horse kids to keep an eye on (and for more information, including a list of free agent invitees, be sure to check out sk84fun_dc's FanPost).
All Eyes Will Be On...
Cody Eakin – The 20-year-old 2009 draft pick and former captain of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos is likely heading into his final development camp, as he looks to make the leap from prospect to pro this fall. Whether he cracks the Caps’ roster this season (as he came pretty darn close to doing last year) or not, he brings with him a strong leadership background and championship experience – including 27 points in 19 playoff games en route to a WHL championship for his Kootenay Ice – and should stand out among his fellow prospects.
Stanislav Galiev - Galiev entered last year’s development camp as a just-drafted kid with the expectations of…well, a just-drafted kid. He left quite an impression, though, displaying some slick offensive skills (albeit lacking the physicality he’ll need down the road) that made him stand out. After a sophomore season in the QMJHL that was even better than his rookie year (and included a 37-point performance en route to a QMJHL championship), Galiev heads into this year’s camp with a Memorial Cup-winning swagger and much higher expectations.
And don’t worry, he doesn’t mind if you call him ‘Stan’.
Brett Flemming - In his fourth season with Mississauga of the OHL, the Caps’ fifth round pick in 2009 established himself as a defensive prospect to watch, almost doubling his points from the previous season and leading all defensemen in the OHL in plus-minus with a Jeff Schultz-like plus-60 rating. He also put up 13 points in 20 playoff games and faced off against fellow prospect Galiev’s Sea Dogs in the Memorial Cup Finals.
Dmitri Orlov - Speaking of defensive prospects to watch, all eyes will certainly be on Orlov this summer as he enters his third development camp intent on leaving the KHL behind for good. After winning a gold medal with Russia at the World Junior Championships (and leading all defensemen in the tournament with eight assists), he signed an entry-level contract, joined the Hershey Bears and immediately impressed. He'll kick off his first full season in North America in the fall and is currently somewhat frighteningly high on the organization's blueline depth chart.
Mattias Sjogren - The deal may have long since been overshadowed by flashier, more familiar NHL signings, but Sjogren was the first "big" signing of the offseason and could provide the team with more depth up the middle. A big body coming off a career (and championship) season in the Swedish Elite League, Sjogren is the oldest of the development camp attendees and will no doubt be looking to make the most of his opportunity.
Patrick Wey - Another veteran of development camp, Wey, a fourth-round pick in 2009, is coming off his sophomore season at Boston College where he scored the first goal of his collegiate career. He won a bronze medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships, one of five Caps prospects to represent their countries in the annual IIHF tournament.
... But Make Sure You're Also Watching...
Philipp Grubauer - Despite having an embarrassment of riches in goal at both the AHL and NHL level, the Caps have continued to add to their goaltending depth chart. In 2010, that addition was then-Windsor Spitfire goalie Philipp Grubauer (112th overall). Grubauer will be attending his second development camp, coming off a year in which he represented Germany at the World Junior Championships and was traded from Windsor to Kingston of the OHL, where he posted a record of 22-13-3 with two shutouts.
Samuel Carrier - Carrier was selected with the Capitals' final pick of the 2010 draft, an offensive defenseman from the now defunct Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. During the 2010-11 season, Carrier appeared in 61 games for Lewiston, scoring 11 goals and adding 39 assists (with another 16 points in 15 playoff games) while finishing the year an impressive plus-forty.
Caleb Herbert - A 2010 draftee, Herbert finished his final season with Sioux City of the USHL in style, being named an All-Star while finishing top twenty in both goals and points. 30 of his team-leading 50 points also came on the power play (something which might interest the Caps), and this fall he'll take his talents to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Garrett Mitchell - Drafted in 2009, Mitchell entered his fifth season with the WHL's Regina Pats as their captain and proceeded to pick up 52 goals and a feisty 140 penalty minutes in 70 games (including a few scraps that prove he isn't afraid to drop the gloves with anyone). In March the Caps signed him to an entry level contract, the fifth member of the 2009 draft class to sign with the team, and appeared in two games for the Hershey Bears.
Dmitry Kugryshev - The only camp attendee from the 2008 draft class, Kugryshev comes into his fourth development camp fresh off his first full season as a professional. In 67 games as a pro (64 in the AHL, 3 with South Carolina of the ECHL) he scored fifteen points, fourteen of them - including his first pro goal - with Hershey.
Friday, July 15