Tuesday will be the first on-ice day for the players at Capitals development camp. Here are the future Caps you should be keeping an eye on throughout the week.
Alex Alexeyev: Alexeyev is Washington’s first first-round pick since 2016 and development camp will be the first time he hits the ice as a member of the organization. The success of the Capitals’ 2018 draft will depend on how good of a player Alexeyev turns out to be. Teams just cannot afford to miss on their first-round picks. Camp will provide us with the first chance to see his skill and just how he stacks up against the team's other prospects and free agents.
Kody Clark: As the 47th overall pick, Clark is the highest drafted forward the Caps have taken since Jakub Vrana in 2014. Plus, he didn’t even come from the WHL which has become the major pipeline junior league for Washington. Clearly, they must have seen something they really liked in Clark to draft him as high as they did.
Shane Gersich: How does a player go from three NHL games and two playoff games to development camp? We’re about to find out. While Gersich went straight to the NHL after signing from North Dakota, Gersich’s future in the upcoming season likely will be in the AHL…unless he can prove he’s ready already to make the jump. If he doesn’t look like he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the prospects at camp, he’s not ready to challenge for an NHL roster spot.
Lucas Johansen: Expectations are high for the team’s top draft pick from 2016. Now entering his third development camp with the team, the biggest question for Johansen is just how much muscle has he been able to put on? The camp roster lists Johansen as 177 pounds. That would actually mean he has dropped a significant amount of weight since last season’s camp when he was 188 which would of course mean he’s trending in the wrong direction.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby: The young Swede was a breakout star in the World Junior Championship with his speed and flowing locks. He followed that up with an impressive performance in the SHL playoffs with six goals and nine points in 13 games. The bar has been set very high for him heading into this camp.
Brian Pinho: This will mark Pinho’s sixth development camp, but this time, he comes in under contract with the Caps. After four seasons playing at Providence College, Pinho could have become a free agent on Aug. 15 had he elected to wait, but instead chose to sign with the team that drafted him. After a strong collegiate career, now the question is just what can he offer the Caps?
Ilya Samsonov: Samsonov signed an entry-level deal with the Caps after the KHL season ended and now is poised to make his North America debut in the fall. The plan for now is for Samsonov to start in Hershey and Pheonix Copley to serve as the Caps’ backup, but Copley has only two games of NHL experience. What’s plan B if he struggles? If Samsonsov can adjust quickly to the North American game, he could potentially challenge Copley for that backup role.
Jonas Siegenthaler: Depending on how free agency plays out, the Caps may have one or two spots open on the blue line heading into training camp. Of the team’s defensive prospects, Siegenthaler is believed to be the most NHL ready at this point. Could he be in the running for a spot with the Caps this season?
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
- What's next?: Now signed, Carlson lobbies for Reirden, Kempny
- Free agency looms: DSP not given a qualifying offer by Caps
- The new guys: Meet the Caps' 2018 draft picks
- Podcast: Carlson's new deal and the trade that made it happen