With the Capitals’ rookie camp set to begin Sept. 12 in Ostero, Florida, training home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, we thought we’d spend this week examining the organization’s top prospects at each position. We’ll start at left wing.
Games: 45 (AHL)
Penalty minutes: 121
Acquired: Signed as free agent 2014
Scouting report: O’Brien stunned just about everyone, including himself, by making the Capitals’ opening roster last season, mostly because of his feistiness and willingness to defend teammates at the drop of a glove. O’Brien does not figure to provide much in the way of offense, but he can be very disruptive with his big body checks and is capable of drawing penalties. That could be enough to keep him on the Caps’ opening roster again this October.
Ht/Wt: 5-10, 185
Games: 28 (AHL)
Penalty minutes: 30
Acquired: Drafted in 3rd round (89th overall) in 2014
Scouting report: Coming off summer knee surgery, Walker is hoping to be fully cleared by the start of training camp. While he may not be able to fight as often or as well as O’Brien, Walker is just as feisty and is on a mission to become the first Australian-trained player to play in the NHL. Walker’s ceiling is not as high as other prospects and projects to be a solid AHL player.
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 202
Games: 63 (NHL, Pittsburgh, Toronto)
Penalty minutes: 84
Acquired: Free agent, 2015
Scouting report: Considered more a depth player than a prospect, Sill is a hard-edged utility player who can play all three forward positions. He’s coming off his first full NHL season, playing splitting 63 games with the Penguins and Maple Leafs. He has never scored more than 11 goals at the AHL level but proved last season he can be an effective agitator on the fourth line.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 185
Games: 38 (Boston College)
Penalty minutes: 30
Acquired: Drafted in 2nd round (61st overall) in 2013
Scouting report: Sanford is expected to play at least one more season at BC but impressed the Caps’ coaching staff in last month’s development camp. He has a wicked wrist shot and uses his big body to shield the puck very well. The Caps believe that with a breakout offensive season at BC he’ll be ready to challenge for an NHL job this time next year.