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Mahoney: Bowey in position to challenge for a spot on Caps' blue line

Mahoney: Bowey in position to challenge for a spot on Caps' blue line

Madison Bowey was one of two prospects that Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney mentioned by name on Monday when asked about the youngsters who might contribute in Washington next season.

The other player was winger Jakub Vrana, whom J.J. Regan wrote about here.

As for Bowey, Mahoney said he suspects that the 2013 second rounder would have made his NHL debut last season had he not suffered a lacerated ankle tendon in late December. The injury required surgery as well as a lengthy recovery proccess.

“It’s unfortunate that Madison had a couple of injuries there, especially the one [to his ankle],” Mahoney said in a pre-draft media call this week. “But injuries happen all the time and you work your way through it.”

RELATED: Why this offseason will be critical for Vrana

Mahoney added: “Madison is pretty gifted athletically and I think his recovery from those things is going to be very good just because of his athleticism and the type of body that he has.”

Bowey returned to the Bears' lineup in mid-March. Then, just as he was rediscovering his pre-injury form, he took a puck off the face in early April and missed a few more games.

The injuries pretty much ruined any chance he had of getting a game or two in Washington. And there weren't many chances to begin with, given the Capitals' good health and veteran-laden lineup.

“Do I think he would have had an opportunity to play some games with the Capitals? I think there was a very good chance, so it’s unfortunate that he did have the injuries and maybe that kept him from seeing some games,” Mahoney said.

Instead, Bowey saw all of his 2016-17 game action in Hershey, where finshed with three goals and 11 assists in 34 games. The 6 foot 2, 206-pound native of Winnipeg also had two goals and two assists in 10 postseason contests.

In the preseason a year ago, Bowey, a right shot, was mostly good and even scored a game-tying goal against the Hurricanes. But he suffered an upper body injury two contests later and was demoted shortly thereafter. 

When Bowey arrives in Arlington, Va. a few months from now, he's going to find something that did not exist last preseason: an opening (or perhaps two) for a young defenseman, depending on how things unfold in the expansion draft and free agency.

“As far as camp, it’s up to him to come in and hit the pavement running and try to challenge for a spot,” Mahoney said.  

Speaking in general terms, Mahoney acknowledged that a handful of prospects are going to be in the running for spots on the Capitals' opening night roster.

“It’s really up to those players to come in and to impress the coaches during training camp and the exhibition season, and try to win a spot on the big club,” Mahoney said. “It’s up to them; it’s going to depend on what they do off the ice and on the ice during the offseason here and come to camp and try to win a spot.”

MORE CAPITALS: Samsonov still a year away from playing in North America

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D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

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@tkopaintings on Twitter

D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

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. 

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Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

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: