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Capitals invite 64 players to training camp

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Capitals invite 64 players to training camp

The Capitals have invited 37 forwards, 20 defensemen and seven goaltenders to their 2015-16 training camp, which begins with physicals and off-ice testing on Thursday and continues with on-ice sessions Friday morning.

Training camp will last 20 days and the Capitals must trim their 64-man roster down to 23 by Oct. 6, four days before their season-opening Oct. 10 game against the New Jersey Devils at Verizon Center.

Among the notable invitees are free-agent center Derek Roy, who is on a professional tryout contract and will wear No. 10. The Caps currently have 47 players under professional contracts, three below the NHL maximum for a given season. If Roy makes the Capitals out of training camp, that would leave just two roster spots in the organization.

This will be the Caps’ ninth training camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. All sessions will be free and open the public.

The training camp roster will be broken up into three squads (Teams Red, White and Blue) and their schedules will vary. On Friday, Group Blue will hit the ice at 9:30 a.m., Group White at 11 a.m. and Group Red at 12:30 p.m.

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FORWARDS (37)

# Player Ht. Wt. Shoots Born Hometown 2014-15 Club League(s)

19 BACKSTROM, Nicklas 6’1” 205 Left 11/23/87 Gavle, Sweden CAPITALS NHL

24 BARBER, Riley 6’0” 198 Right 2/7/94 Pittsburgh, PA Miami (OH) University NCAA

83 BEAGLE, Jay 6’3” 212 Right 10/16/85 Calgary, Alberta CAPITALS NHL

17 BOURQUE, Chris 5’8” 174 Left 1/29/86 Boston, Massachusetts Hartford AHL

54 BOYD, Travis 5’11” 184 Right 9/14/93 Hopkins, MN Hershey/U of Minn. AHL/NCAA

67 BROWN, Chris 6’2” 215 Right 2/3/91 Flower Mound, Texas CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

65 BURAKOVSKY, Andre 6’3’’ 198 Left 2/9/95 Malmo, Sweden CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

48 CAMPER, Carter 5’9” 173 Right 7/6/88 Rocky River, Ohio Binghamton AHL

28 CAREY, Paul 6’0” 190 Left 9/24/88 Boston, MA Colorado/Lake Erie/Prov NHL/AHL

25 CHIMERA, Jason 6’3” 217 Left 5/2/79 Edmonton, Alberta CAPITALS NHL

53 COLLINS, Sean 6’3” 201 Left 12/29/88 Saskatoon, SK Columbus/Springfield NHL/AHL

73 COX, Trevor 5’8” 164 Left 8/12/95 Surrey, British Columbia Medicine Hat WHL

68 DEBLOIS, Derek 5’11” 180 Right 2/19/91 Narragansett, RI Worcester/SC AHL/ECHL

71 ELGESTAL, Kevin 6’1” 184 Right 5/29/96 Gothenburg, Sweden Frolunda SWE

51 FYTEN, Austin 6’2” 200 Left 5/3/91 Sundre, Alberta Lehigh Valley AHL

49 GALIEV, Stanislav 6’1” 187 Right 1/17/92 Moscow, RU CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

66 GAZLEY, Dustin 5’8” 166 Right 10/3/88 Novi, Michigan Hershey AHL

72 HERBERT, Caleb 6’0” 197 Right 10/12/91 St. Paul, MN Hershey/SC AHL/ECHL

90 JOHANSSON, Marcus 6’1” 207 Left 10/6/90 Landskrona, Sweden CAPITALS NHL/AHL

15 KOULES, Miles 6’0” 195 Right 6/25/94 Los Angeles, CA Medicine Hat/Portland WHL

92 KUZNETSOV, Evgeny 6’2” 204 Left 5/19/92 Chelyabinsk, Russia CAPITALS NHL

21 LAICH, Brooks 6’2” 197 Left 6/23/83 Wawota, Saskatchewan CAPITALS NHL

46 LATTA, Michael 6’0’’ 210 Right 5/25/91 St. Clements, Ontario CAPITALS NHL

75 McGAULEY, Tim 6’0” 175 Left 7/23/95 Wilcox, Saskatchewan Brandon WHL

76 MITCHELL, Garrett 5’11” 183 Right 9/2/91 Regina, Saskatchewan Hershey AHL

87 O’BRIEN, Liam 6’1” 210 Left 7/29/94 Halifax, Nova Scotia CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

77 OSHIE, T.J. 5’11” 189 Right 12/23/86 Everett, Washington St. Louis NHL

8 OVECHKIN, Alex 6’3” 235 Right 9/17/85 Moscow, Russia CAPITALS NHL

10 ROY, Derek 5’9” 184 Left 5/4/83 Ottawa, Ontario Nashville/Edmonton NHL

45 SAUVE, Max 6’2” 184 Left 1/30/90 Tours, France Cologne GER

23 SILL, Zach 6’0” 202 Left 5/24/88 Truro, Nova Scotia Pittsburgh/Toronto NHL

18 STEPHENSON, Chandler 6’0’’ 201 Left 4/22/94 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Hershey AHL

13 VRANA, Jakub 5’11” 190 Left 2/28/96 Prague, CZ Hershey/Linkopings AHL/SWE

79 WALKER, Nathan 5’8’’ 186 Left 2/7/94 Sydney, AUS Hershey/South Carolina AHL/ECHL

14 WILLIAMS, Justin 6’1” 189 Right 10/4/81 Cobourg, Ontario Los Angeles NHL

82 WILSON, Cole 6’2” 210 Right 6/19/90 White Rock, BC University of British Columbia CIS

43 WILSON, Tom 6’4’’ 207 Right 3/29/94 Toronto, Ontario CAPITALS NHL

DEFENSEMEN (20)

27 ALZNER, Karl 6’3” 217 Left 9/24/88 Burnaby, British Columbia CAPITALS NHL

22 BOWEY, Madison 6’1’’ 202 Right 4/22/95 Winnipeg, Manitoba Kelowna WHL

80 BURGDOERFER, Erik 6’1” 209 Right 12/11/88 Albington, PA\Hershey/SC AHL/ECHL

74 CARLSON, John 6’3” 215 Right 1/10/90 Natick, Massachusetts CAPITALS NHL

58 CARRICK, Connor 5’10’’ 195 Right 4/13/94 Orland Park, Illinois Hershey AHL

4 CHORNEY, Taylor 6’0” 196 Left 4/27/87 Thunder Bay, ON Pittsburgh/Wilkes-Barre NHL/AHL

29 DJOOS, Christian 6’0” 162 Left 8/6/94 Gothenburg, Sweden Hershey/Brynas AHL/SWE

36 HOBBS, Connor 6’2” 191 Right 1/4/97 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Regina WHL

50 LEACH, Joey 6’4” 200 Left 1/29/92 Wadena, Saskatchewan Lake Erie/Fort Wayne AHL/ECHL

78 LEWINGTON, Tyler 6’2’’ 195 Right 12/5/94 Sherwood Park, Alberta Medicine Hat WHL

6 MOORE, Mike 6’1” 194 Left 12/12/84 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan Hershey AHL

55 NESS, Aaron 5’10” 182 Left 5/18/90 Roseau, Minnesota Bridgeport AHL

2 NISKANEN, Matt 6’1” 200 Right 12/6/86 Virginia, Minnesota CAPITALS NHL

9 ORLOV, Dmitry 5’11” 210 Left 6/23/91 Novokuznetsk, Russia CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

44 ORPIK, Brooks 6’3” 220 Left 9/26/80 San Francisco, California CAPITALS NHL

88 SCHMIDT, Nate 6’0’’ 193 Left 7/16/91 St. Cloud, MN CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

47 SHEA, Bobby 5’11” 195 Right 7/20/90 Harrison Township, MI Hamilton/Wheeling AHL/ECHL

34 SIEGENTHALER, Jonas 6’3” 220 Left 5/6/97 Zurich, Switzerland Zurich SWISS

20 STANTON, Ryan 6’2” 196 Left 7/20/89 St. Albert, Alberta Vancouver NHL

85 TEXEIRA, Keoni 6’0” 208 Left 3/24/97 Fontana, California Portland WHL

GOALTENDERS (7)

40 DEKANICH, Mark 6’2” 192 Left 5/10/86 North Vancouver, British Columbia Zagreb KHL

39 ELLIS, Dan 6’1” 191 Left 6/19/80 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Florida/San Antonio NHL/AHL

31 GRUBAUER, Philipp 6’1” 192 Left 11/25/91 Rosenheim, GER CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

70 HOLTBY, Braden 6’2” 208 Left 9/16/89 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan CAPITALS NHL

1 KOZUN, Taran 6’1” 165 Left 8/29/94 Nipawin, Saskatchewan Seattle WHL

35 PETERS, Justin 6’2” 215 Left 8/30/86 Blyth, Ontario CAPITALS/Hershey NHL/AHL

41 VANECEK, Vitek 6’1” 187 Left 1/9/96 Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic Liberec CZECH

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

On Saturday, the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals faced off against one of the hottest young teams in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was viewed as a marquee matchup and it certainly lived up to its billing with both teams battling in a tight, well-played game.

In the end, Toronto walked away as the 4-2 victors in one of their better wins of the young season, but not everyone left that game impressed.

A team that already boasted super-star talent Auston Matthews added John Tavares in the offseason as a free agent giving the Maple Leafs a formidable one, two punch at center. For most of the game, the Caps were able to shut down that center tandem.

Lars Eller was asked after the game how the Caps were able to keep the Leafs’ big stars in check and he indicated that perhaps Tavares and Matthews were not as formidable a pair as they had been made out to be.

“We’re used to playing against [Sidney Crosby] and [Evgeni Malkin],” Eller said. “Everything kind of drops from there so it’s not that special. It’s a good team like a lot of others. They’ll probably be a playoff team, I think.”

Not surprisingly, that quote caught Toronto’s attention, especially forward Nazem Kadri.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Kadri called Eller’s comments “bulletin board material.”

With 12 points in seven games, the Maple Leafs currently boast the top record in the league. Toronto is far from perfect, however, and their defense remains a major question mark in whether this team is a true Stanley Cup contender.

But as to whether or not they are a playoff team? That seems like a pretty safe bet.

The Caps and Maple Leafs will meet twice more this season on Jan. 23 and Feb. 21. Both games are in Toronto.  

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Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now

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Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now

With Tom Wilson still serving a 20-game suspension, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden has the difficult task of finding a wing to complement his top line of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. For the first four games of the season, that player was Brett Connolly.

On Saturday, however, he changed things up and went with Chandler Stephenson instead.

Just 18 seconds into the game, Stephenson made his head coach look very smart as he finished off a 2-on-1 with Kuznetsov to score his first goal of the season.

“Obviously, the start was great,” Reirden said after the game.

Stephenson is an incredibly fast skater and the extra speed seemed to add another dimension to that line that opponents had to contend with, and it led to both of the Caps’ goals on the night.

In addition to Stephenson’s goal, Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty in the second period, and Washington scored on the resulting power play.

“Those guys are a lot of fun to play with,” Stephenson said. “They just know where to be and can find each other. I've just got to get the puck to them and just go to the net with your stick on the ice, and they'll find you.”

The top line’s success was a matter of finding instant chemistry as Stephenson had very little time to adjust. The Caps were off on Friday following back-to-back games, and Reirden did not make the switch of putting Stephenson on the top until Saturday’s morning skate.

Putting a new top line together with little time to practice does not seem like an ideal scenario, but according to Kuznetsov, the level of familiarity between all the players made the adjustment quick and easy.

“It doesn't matter with who you play,” he said. “In this locker room, we can communicate with anybody. We don't have a first line, we don't have a fourth line. We try and roll all lines.”

Reirden seemed pleased with the new trio after the game saying, “They did a number of good things during the game as well, so they I thought accomplished a lot. I thought [Stephenson] brought the speed on the forecheck and was able to at least go after their defense a little bit and force some turnovers that Kuznetsov and [Ovechkin] were able to at least get some opportunities from. So I think that's important to have him in that situation.”

Reirden was happy enough with the top line’s performance to keep them together. The team is off Monday, but Stephenson remained on the top line during Sunday’s practice.

But so long as Wilson remains out, finding the right match for the top line will remain a work in progress.

Said Reirden, “We’ll continue to try to put together our four lines that give us the best chance.”

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