One of the Caps’ young, up and coming prospects has suffered a significant setback in his first professional season. Defenseman Connor Hobbs will miss the next six to eight weeks due to a fractured left wrist, the Hershey Bears announced Sunday.
The injury occurred during the Bears’ loss on Saturday against the Toronto Marlies. Hobbs skated hard into Hershey’s bench as he missed on a hit on a Marlies player.
Hobbs, 20, is in his first professional season after aging out of his junior team, the Regina Pats of the WHL. A fifth-round pick of the Caps in 2015, Hobbs exceeded expectations in the WHL and developed into a star on the blue line. In the 2016-17 season, he recorded 31 goals and 85 points in 67 games.
The injury should not affect the Caps’ plans for this season. Should the NHL squad need to dip deeper into their defensive depth in the future, players like Tyler Lewington, Jonas Siegenthaler and Lucas Johansen would likely have been recalled first. But that does not mean the Caps do not have high hopes for him in the future.
Hobbs has a monster slap shot and was very effective in the WHL at getting the puck on net from the blue line whether it be with the slap shot or with a subtle wrister. His defensive acumen needs work, but he is a player with definite potential and a higher ceiling than many thought as a fifth-round pick.
While broken bones are always a concern, the good news is that the fracture was to Hobbs’ non-shooting wrist. As a right-shot, any lingering effects of the fracture will not hamper him as much as it would had it been to his right.
In 10 games this season in the AHL, Hobbs has one goal and two points.
Local artist Taylor Kampa has taken her love for the Washington Capitals and turned it into works of art.
You can find paintings done by Kampa of Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Braden Holtby on display at Circa Chinatown – a restaurant neighboring Capital One Arena – along with other D.C. celebrities.
A professional artist for the last decade, Kampa told NHL.com that the pictures were "passion projects," and took about eight hours to finish. She became a fan of the Caps after she began dating her now-husband back in 2009.
Her work has even caught the eye of The Great Eight. After posting a video to Instagram of her painting Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner liked and commented on it.
"I almost died," Kampa said.
"It has been amazing sharing something that I am excited about that resonates with the people in my city," Kampa said. "I've been painting these portraits for a long time, so it's awesome to have them seen by so many people."
Kampa will also create paintings for the Capitals foundation's annual Casino Night fundraiser next year.
MORE CAPS NEWS:
The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.
Capitals correspondent JJ Regan is here to help you through the offseason doldrums as he discusses key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.
Today's question: Who will be the team's primary fourth line center?
With the departure of Jay Beagle, there is a spot open at center on the fourth line. There appears on the roster to be three clear candidates to fill that position: Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd.
To find out why you should cross Stephenson’s name off the list, you should read yesterday's Key Caps Question about whether or not Stephenson is a wing or a center. To summarize, Washington sees Stephenson as more of a wing which explains why they both re-signed Boyd and brought in Dowd.
So who will it be between those two?
Both players seem to fit the mold as effective centers in the AHL where they were both productive. Dowd has an edge in NHL experience with 131 NHL games as compared to Boyd’s eight.
But Barry Trotz clearly had faith in Boyd at center which is why we saw him fill in on the top line on March 18 in Philadelphia. Boyd rewarded that faith with a spin pass to Alex Ovechkin for an assist, his first career point.
Trotz is now gone and Todd Reirden is in charge, but there is at least a level of familiarity there with the coaching staff and Boyd, more so than with Dowd who is new to the organization.
Second, the Caps may have tipped their hand a bit when you compare the two contracts. Center is an important position and Brian MacLellan has frequently referenced the team’s strength in center depth as a major reason for their Cup run.
Both Boyd and Dowd were signed over the offseason. Both contracts are one-way, suggesting both will be in the NHL, but Boyd’s cap hit is $800,000 while Dowd’s is $650,000. Of course, that will not matter when the players get on the ice. If Dowd outplays Boyd, he will start over him. Plus, the market ultimately dictates price. Even if the Caps wanted Dowd for their top line, if you can get him for $650k, you sign him for $650k.
Considering how important a position center is, however, even on the fourth line, it seems telling that the team was willing to give Boyd, a player with eight games of experience to his name, $800k while Dowd was signed for the minimum. That seems to suggest the Caps at least foresee Boyd having a bigger role which, for two players penciled in for the fourth line, would mean playing him at center.
Other key Caps questions: