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Bowey, Carrick battle for top blue line prospect

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Bowey, Carrick battle for top blue line prospect

With the Capitals’ rookie camp set to begin Sept. 11 in Estero, Florida (training home of the Tampa Bay Lightning), we thought we’d spend this week examining the organization’s top prospects at each position. Today, the blue line:

DEFENSE

Connor Carrick

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 185

Age: 21

Acquired: Drafted in 5th round (137th overall) in 2012

Games: 73 (AHL, Hershey)

Goals: 8

Assists: 34

Points: 42

Plus-minus: Minus-8

Penalty minutes: 132

Power play goals: 4

Scouting report: After appearing in 34 games for the Capitals in 2012-13 – probably before he was ready, Carrick did everything he was asked in his first full season in the AHL, leading all Hershey defensemen in points. Carrick’s 132 penalty minutes were by far the most of his career and just 30 of them came via six fighting majors. Carrick’s size makes him a vulnerable target and he will need to prove he can take big hits in the NHL before getting a shot on the Caps’ bottom pairing. He will also need to cut back on those penalty minutes if he hopes to be a reliable, full-time NHL defenseman.  

Madison Bowey

Age: 20

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 195

Acquired: Drafted in 2nd round (53rd overall) in 2013

Games: 58 (WHL, Kelowna)

Goals: 17

Assists: 43

Points: 60

Plus-minus: Plus-38

Penalty minutes: 66

Power play goals: 6

Shorthanded goals: 2

Scouting report: The Caps could not be happier with the development Bowey has made since his draft year two summers ago. Bowey can skate like the wind, has good offensive instincts and learned to play a shutdown role in his final season in Kelowna last season. His overall skill set is probably good enough to put him on the Caps’ opening night roster, but he’ll need to learn to play against men and spending at least half a season in the AHL would do wonders for Bowey’s development and confidence. The Caps need to take it slowly with Bowey and all indications are they will, but he has the potential to be a top-four blue liner for them at around the same time Brooks Orpik begins showing his age.

RELATED: PHOTO: Braden Holtby's new mask is a retro work of art

Christian Djoos

Age: 21

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 158

Acquired: Drafted in 7th round (195th overall) in 2012

Games: 50 (Swedish League, Brynas)

Goals: 5

Assists: 12

Points: 17

Plus-minus: Minus-10

Penalty minutes: 22

Scouting report: In two seasons in the Swedish League, Djoos has shown he can move the puck quickly out of his own zone by either carrying it or head-manning it, but he’ll need to prove he can do it at the pro level. He’s one of three rookies --  Bowey and Tyler Lewington are the others – competing for a job with the Bears this season, with one likely to begin the season with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Djoos is undersized but has the offensive upside to keep things interesting at training camp.

Tyler Lewington

Age: 20

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 189

Acquired: Drafted in 7th round (204th overall) in 2014

Games: 69 (WHL, Medicine Hat)

Goals: 9

Assists: 36

Points: 45

Plus-minus: Plus-25

Penalty minutes: 113

Power play goals: 2

Scouting report: Lewington plays bigger than his body suggests but he added an offensive flair to his game last season, establishing career highs in goals, assists and points. Lewington’s teammates and coaches rave about his leadership qualities and his compete level is off the charts. A first-year pro, it would not be a surprise if he started the season in South Carolina and quickly made the jump to the AHL.   

Jonas Siegenthaler

Age: 18

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 220

Acquired: Drafted in 2nd round (57th overall) in 2015

Games: 41 (Swiss League, Zurich)

Goals: 0

Assists: 3

Points: 3

Plus-minus: Plus-4

Penalty minutes: 39

Scouting report: You can’t teach size and Siegenthaler has plenty of it. He impressed the Caps’ coaching staff in his first development camp with his skating ability and physicality and he’ll be in Estero getting a longer look during the four-team rookie tournament that includes the Lightning, Panthers and Predators. Siegenthaler is expected to return to Zurich next season, where he’ll continue to work on his overall game under the eye of former NHL coach Marc Crawford.

Connor Hobbs

Age: 18

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 187

Acquired: Drafted in 5th round (143rd overall) in 2015

Games: 45 (WHL, Regina/Medicine Hat)

Goals: 2

Assists: 16

Points: 18

Plus-minus: Plus-6

Penalty minutes: 36

Scouting report: Hobbs is a hard-skating, hard-hitting blue liner who was taken by the Capitals one round before they took his Regina defense partner Colby Williams. Hobbs will require some seasoning under former NHL head coach John Paddock in his third season in the WHL, which will begin without Williams, who suffered an upper-body injury in July, by his side.

MORE CAPITALS: Galiev, Vrana add plenty of skill on right side

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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