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Development camp underway (updated)

With summer development underway out here at KCI, I wanted to pass along some information regarding group rosters, since many of you won't be able to attend both sessions each day.

Group A is stacked, featuring Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitri Orlov, Anton Gustafsson, Braden Holtby, Cody Eakin, Joe Finley and Stefan Della Rovere.

Group B, however, has Marcus Johansson, the player who's got the best chance of spending all of next season in Washington. It also features Stanislav Galiev and Patrick Wey.

Some other items of interest that happened while I was out of town late last week:

*Winger Dmitry Kugryshev is not here at camp because he's got visa problems, a Caps spokesman confirmed.

*Goalie Semyon Varlamov has changed his jersey number from 40 to 1, the number he wore in Russia a few years ago. (Perhaps a subtle message to Michal Neuvirth?)

*Tomas Fleischmann's arbitration date has been set for July 28 in Toronto.

Update:Coach Bruce Boudreau hasn't done his press conference yet, but he told a few reporters that he was really impressed with Cody Eakin's speed and skill level. He also made note of Evgeny Kuznetsov's leadership and ability to make a saucer pass on the fly, as well as Stefan Della Rovere's high compete level.

Boudreau, like everyone else, is really anxious to see how Marcus Johansson does in the second session. Jorge Castillo (he's filling in for me this week since I'm supposed to be taking comp days/vacation) is working on a feature on Johansson. So keep an eye out for that.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 12, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

Thanks for the update on the Group listings... I'm coming for Group B this afternoon and will be psyched to see Marcus Johansson and Stanislav Galiev!

Posted by: capsnnats | July 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, let us know how Kuznetsov, Johansson, and Galiev look during the drills. This is the first time many of us get to see them play.

Posted by: madflava | July 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

So Perreault is on the team?

Galiev has some great speed. He's a geat pick up in round 3 - I would have thought he would be gone in round 2.

Posted by: ed_4bs | July 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

There are several people at this camp that could impact the team this year. MJ obviously, but if you are looking for a hitter on Defense, watch finley, big and mean. If you are thinking that they need one more disurptor, look at Della Rovere, fiesty in a Matt Cook sort of way,with some talent. BTW, he was a 6th or 7th round pick, so he was pass over by 200 picks or so, so the Caps can pick late on occasion and get lucky.

Posted by: RichC3 | July 12, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Not sure how many of you were able to catch the broadcast of the Bears Calder Cup Finals games. I was out of town when they were live but I did record and have watched a couple of the games that were re-broadcast on the NHL Network. Not surprised the Caps didn't try to retain Giroux. I have seen games 3 and 4 and Giroux was a no-show. The Bears were down 3-1 in game 3 and 2-0 in the series and the players that picked up the pace and took over the game and the series were Matty P, Kyle Wilson, Cody Eakin, Alzner, Carlson, Aucoin, and Neivirth.

I wish I could make it down to Kettler because I really want to get a look at Johannson and Eakin in person. For those of you lucky enough to break away and spend some time in a sweatshirt in July, have a great time!

Posted by: fanohock1 | July 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

You got the number change correct, but you forgot about the name change. He's been Semyon (not Simeon) for a year now.

Posted by: krunk | July 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

don't know about MJ but Finley can't even crack the Hershey roster just yet. This will be his last yr to prove he's worth another contract. Otherwise he'll be going the Pokulok route. And i doubt very much he'll get the chance to play D at the NHL level if he makes it that far. Even the Caps admitted that his best route to the NHL was probably as a 4th liner.

SDR didn't impress in his brief stint at Hershey last yr from the 2 games I watched. But I hold out hope that he makes it up here within 2-3 yrs. His type is sorely missing from this org. We have him, Bruess, and Pinner as agitating types who have some NHL potential. SDR's skating needs some improvement. I can see the Matt Cooke comparisons because they're both energy type of players who like to deliver big hits. But Cooke's a quicker skater and thats what makes him so effective. He's always right on top of the play to harass a defenseman.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

excellent - will try to make it down for a session this week...any tips anyone on how to do this? (I can find info at Caps site, I assume?)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | July 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

defensively i'm curious about Patrick Wey and Dustin Stevenson. They're more under-the-radar players but they're still intriguing prospects.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I watched the morning session with group A and I was very impressed with Kuznetsov. He reminds me of Backstrom the way he slows the play down, he has great vision and is a very good passer. He had great presence on the ice and has good size, he is a smooth skater but not overly fast.

I will be very disappointed if Finley does not play for Hershey this seaosn. The Caps need to develop him, he is just what we need a big physical defenseman. He needs to work on his skating though.


Posted by: 4capitals | July 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Hershey lost Amadio on D so maybe Finley gets a shot on the Bears blueline this yr. But with his arterial hand injury he won't/shouldn't be able to fight. Which may not be a bad thing considering his fighting skills are pretty weak for a guy his size. And he didn't get to work on that in college.

Hershey did sign a young power forward - Kyle Greentree - to replace Giroux. Knock on Greentree is he doesn't quite play upto his size. He got thrown around pretty easily in the limited action he's seen at the NHL level and he's starting to cut out that part of his game. He's already been jumped quite a few times and got carried off on a stretcher once.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@RedLit if you check out the Caps website I think they've posted the skeddy; I went last summer and it was a lot of fun seeing those guys up close; the intensity and speed is incredible.

Finley's pivots looked pretty labored to me last summer; some of the guys turned him pretty easily - not a good sign for a d-man.

@cstanton1 - you're right about Cooke, that's exactly what makes him so effective [combined with his well, nastiness]; he makes those d-men move it much quicker than they want to.

Btw it looks like the B's are still pretty intent on moving Savard:

http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/bruins/articles/2010/07/11/no_time_for_bruins_to_take_some_time_off/

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Beagle for Washington bound.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@

with Amadio (gone), Alzner and Carlson (both Caps) all gone, if Finley doesn't make the Bears opening night roster as a top 6 (hopefully top 4), then he doesn't deserve to be qualified at the end of this upcoming season (his ELC end)!

Personally, I hold out hope that he'll focus on his footspeed and turn into a top 6 NHL D... because he's got the snarl and size for it... jsut too slow right now (per reports)

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

it's kinda dead here...

is there another place (boards, forum, etc) that people are posting on?

can't remember the bumperboards URL... erg!

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 12, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

if Finley doesn't make the Bears opening night roster as a top 6 (hopefully top 4), then he doesn't deserve to be qualified at the end of this upcoming season (his ELC end)!
---------------------

true that

Currently the Bears have Fahey, Collins, McNeill, Wellar, Helmer, Miskovic probably penciled into their 2010 lineup. Then you've got Dylan Yeo and Finley to compete at the remaining spots. FWIW I think Alzner's promotion should not be a foregone conclusion. As long as he doesn't have to clear waivers, I think he'll end up back at Hershey at some point next season.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

oops, they also just signed Nycholat. So that gives them at least 7 dmen they expect to make their team not including Finley.

And Hershey needs some help at center as well since Eakin will end up in juniors again. Which means Trevor Bruess and AGus may get to play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

unless something has changed since last week - i do not believe helmer is signed for next year in hershey

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

thought i heard they were going to try finley at wing? correct or just a rumor? how are the bears at wing?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Capt Kirk is completely correct

@cstaton:
good god does AnGus need to a full healthy season in Hershey to get the fans away from their "he's a bust" thoughts...

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 12, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

yeah i wasn't sure if i read that Helmer had signed or just that he was hoping to get signed to go for the 3peat. I've always liked Helmer. He was kinda like Murray Baron. Decent size, mobile, played fairly physically. Not sure why the Blues and Canucks didn't give him more of a shot other than maybe they were looking for him to be more offensively productive. But he's an example of a player who had NHL ability but just never got a real shot before getting tagged with the dreaded journeyman label

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

how are the bears at wing?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

Kyle Wilson (center), Giroux and Bourque have exited and McPhee's talking up MP.

So depending on who makes the Caps will determine how much room the Bears have at wing. If AG, Pinner, Beags makes the team (i'm guessing all 3 will not make it and more likely only 1 of the 3 will), then the Bears have room at wing. I'm assuming SDR and Bruess crack Hershey this yr along with hopefully AGus. Also remains to be seen if Boyd Kane re-signs. Not sure what that Kugyrshev dude's status is and if he can make Hershey's team or does he have to go back to juniors ala Eakin. And lastly you have big Jake Hauswirth who could also possibly fill one of the holes at center on the Bears.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

here's the pre-offseason list for Hershey contracts (i'd forgotten about michael dubuc, hopefully he moves up the chain this yr as well)

Hershey Bears’ contract status:

Free agents: Alex Giroux, Bryan Helmer, Kyle Wilson, Andrew Joudrey, Boyd Kane, Greg Amadio, Jason Bacashihua, Simon Ferguson, Dylan Yeo, Michael Dubuc.


Restricted free agents: Chris Bourque, Patrick McNeill, Andrew Gordon, Jay Beagle, Zach Miskovic.

Under contract to Washington Capitals for 2010-11: Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, John Carlson, Sean Collins, Karl Alzner, Keith Aucoin, Steve Pinizzotto, Francois Bouchard, Mathieu Perreault, Stefan Della Rovere, Anton Gustafsson, Trevor Bruess, Josh Godfrey, Joe Finley, Dmitry Kugryshev, Cody Eakin, Dustin Stevenson, Jake Hauswirth.

Under contract to Hershey Bears for 2010-11: Johann Kroll, Ashton Rome, Grant McNeill, Patrick Wellar, Nikita Kashirsky.

Under contract to Atlanta Thrashers for 2010-11: Grant Lewis.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Finley's pivots looked pretty labored to me last summer; some of the guys turned him pretty easily - not a good sign for a d-man.
--------------

i watched that first game in Hershey. Granted it was his first pro game but he looked like a wobbly stork. He looked awkward skating backwards. And then when he dropped the gloves with Bissonette you could tell Finley has balance issues. His center of gravity is still too high unlike someone like Chara who has a strong trunk.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Eakin – Already a pro IMO. What I mean is not that he is ready to play in the NHL, but he looks like he can with some of things he is doing that none of other players are doing.

Kuznetsov – Looks pretty good to me. Solid skater, thinks fast, nifty passer and shows flashes of superior skill.

Orlov – This guy will be a Cap favorite for those Caps fans that miss a body checking defensemen. He can also get burned but I know I will like him.

Della-Rovere – Can’t judge him really, his role is that of a pitbull. He seemed pretty playful against same jersey guys.

Finley – Honestly, he may not be a great candidate to play 12 minutes as a defensemen, but I could see him playing 7 minutes as a winger, goon? Maybe. I do think he embarrassed himself and actually at times looked like he knew what he was doing.

Flemming – Looked to be in the best shape and was fast.

Dunn and Holtby – looked like practice goalies.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Finley – Honestly, he may not be a great candidate to play 12 minutes as a defensemen, but I could see him playing 7 minutes as a winger, goon? Maybe. I do think he "didn't" embarrassed himself and actually at times looked like he knew what he was doing.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

yeah i remember McPhee saying that about Orlov regarding the fact he could actually hit.

Flemming is an undersized offensive dman that plays with a bit of an edge. From the clips I've seen of him it looked like he needed to a lot of strength to compete at this level so hopefully he can do that.

how does eakin compare with a boyd gordon? on the surface they look like very similar players.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Eakin is much more advanced than Gordo was at the same age. Eakin was skating with one hand on the stick and the other warding off the defensemens stick a la Backstrom. He just seems really polished. He has a future in the top 9.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Eakin is shiftier then Boydo and has a better opportunity to play bigger minutes.

I am pretty sure they moved Finley back to D with the Sting Rays. He hasn't look the most coordinated but doesn't it generally take taller guys more time to get all their coordination back (Being 5'8" I have no idea about it).

Also, with the Hawks matching SJ's offer sheet for Hjalmmarrson, do we want to bring back the idea of trading for Sharp? They are saying that the Hawks are trying to move Campbell but I don't see anyone taking on that contract (except maybe the Isles so they can actually get to the cap floor). Just a thought and I don't see it happening but I really would like a veteran, cup winning 2C on our team.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 12, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What makes me a bit nervous about Eakin like most of McPhee's forward draftees is the fact he's not a physically strong player and doesn't have the type of frame to support adding a lot of muscle. Similar to Gordo. Who btw was also one of the top point-per-game players in the WHL in his last junior season.I don't know how Gordo scored all those goals but I'm guessing he definitely had some offensive flair.

But your point about the "polish" is well-taken. I don't see Gordo having that type of poise with the puck and Eakin seems like he's more eager to get his nose into puck battles than Gordo was at a similar stage. And therefore also a tiny shade more scrappy as evidenced by his PIMs. All of our skilled forwards need to focus on honing their competitive nature to help balance out their lack of size and strength.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the Adam Burish transaction to Dallas. Man the Hawks have lost a lot of their quality role players - Ladd, Burish, Eager, Buffy, Fraser etc

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how Gordo scored all those goals but I'm guessing he definitely had some offensive flair.

Posted by: cstanton1

It must have been a TON of wraparounds because that is all he ever really tries to do in games now.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 12, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

If the Hawks want to retain Niemi they are going to have to move somebody. They will try to move Campbell but I would be extremely surprised if they can move that salary, especially with how many years are left on it.

I think Sharp would definitely be an option for the Hawks to move and he would fit well with the Caps and their needs.

However, if Chicago can't reach an agreement with Niemi I can see them going to arbitration and seeing what the arbitrator awards Niemi and then walking away because it was too expensive. Then sign a Turco or somebody to a much lower contract than what the arbitrator awards.

Since that is a very possibly otion the Hawks have Niemi in a corner. If the Hawks walked away from an arbitrator's award Niemi would have very little options as a UFA and would unlikely get very much money as most teams have their starting goalies in place. The ones who do not do not have much cap room to spend a lot on a goalie.

So it wouldn't shock me to see the Hawks and Niemi reach an agreement on a 1 year contract that would've been less than what an arbitrator would've granted due to all those reasons.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 12, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Versteeg and Sopel too.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 12, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

@sgm
right, Versteeg fits that also. Sopel's winding down which is why I didn't mention him. He wasn't a critical loss in himself.

It must have been a TON of wraparounds because that is all he ever really tries to do in games now.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 12, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

haha agreed! Gordo was fortunate enough to play on a great Red Deer team coached by Brent Sutter. Hockey's equivalent of Bobby Knight in that his players put up some deceiving #s due to the "system"

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon:

Finley was moved back to D in SC... he's been there since before his hand injury.

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 12, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@Frank

Yeah, I know. Projecting him as a 3 pair defensemen is going to be tough for him. Him as a bruising/goon/enforcing 4th liner winger makes a lot more sense at the moment.

Longevity says winger.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Joe Finley is like a Chris McAllister. McAllister started off as a dman and played some limited ice at D but basically got converted to a hulking 4th line banger under Keenan. Finley's path to the NHL would be along the same route. If some of the fans here think that Erskine is unserviceable at D, then Finley would be an utter joke. I say let him be a screen, let him add some toughness, but more importantly he needs to be like a Bfyuglien type. Clogs up the offensive zone and plays smart physical hockey.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon & cstanton:

ooor, we could not waste a roster spot on a guys who isn't fast enough to be on the team?

Personally, if he can't hang with then draft and develop others than can/will.

This post is not to be confused with Anti-Finleyitis... I'm oulling for him as a #5 or 6 D in the future, but why have a dude on the team that really doesn't fit the mold of the rest of it (Erskine, anyone? slow and rough). Find a faster tough D and go with that...

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Orlov has great balance and terrific timing, so I'm not surprised to hear he hits well, even if he's not the tallest guy. Actually, having a low center of gravity seems to really help some of the heaviest hitters [Darius Kasparaitis, or the Dolphins' Zach Thomas].

Re: Kuznetzov - he played in the KHL last year as a 17 yr-old, so I'm guessing he returns there. That's a damn good league and it's getting better every day.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 12, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Orlov hits very well. His timing on the hits couldn't be better.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

ooor, we could not waste a roster spot on a guys who isn't fast enough to be on the team?
----------------

they wouldn't waste time on him if he was a 7th rounder. But all GMs, McPhee is no exception, want to salvage high draft picks in some fashion. If he can make Finley a contributor in some way it makes his 2005 draft record not look like a total bust. And you can mitigate his skating by putting him at forward and simplifying his game. He's a good north to south skater and can probably get in and bang the D around. He's just not a good backskater. And he's got a decent heavy shot.

He can also maybe do some PK work on defense with his long reach and ability to to maybe maul some forwards in the shortened ice area.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually if Finley could somehow be used as a 12th forward/PK defender, that could be useful. My guess is that he plays this year as a defenseman in Hershey.

Basing on everything we hear from BB and GMGM, Alzner is, barring injury, guaranteed a spot on the Caps next year.

Time will tell if that is a good move or not, so there is really no need to debate on what we think may or may not happen with Alzner as an NHL defenseman.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 12, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Alzner was the best defensemen in the AHL last season without question.

No one was even close. Alzner and Carlson were the best pair.

Posted by: JSchon | July 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Alzner was the best defensemen in the AHL last season without question. No one was even close
----------------------------------

how about PK Subban? Here's a guy who is much better than Alzner is offensively and is better (imo) than him defensively. He's definitely much stronger on the puck. And he didn't even win the award as top dman. That was Danny Groulx. But to say that no other player was even close, that's overstating it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

You think Subban is better defensively?

Granted, I watched hardly any Bulldog games, but he was burned pretty repetitively in the Pens and Flyer series. It was his first time in the NHL, but I'm just saying.
There was this one play where he tried to skate through the neutral zone with the puck, made it to the blue line to get knocked off the puck, and then just stood there, as 2 Flyers came rushing on his now vacated right defense position. He hung his partner out to dry.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 12, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

to be fair RP, we didn't get a chance to watch Alzner v the Pens or Flyers in the playoffs. I suspect he would've had a tough time as well.
Part of my regard for Subban was how comfortable he looked playing against us and how easily he was able to gather up the puck, take a hit, skate the puck out. He's a more powerful skater and looks stronger on the puck than Alzner. Alzner's defensive game is approaching a puckcarrying forward and then holding him against the boards. He's all about the hold. He doesn't play a strong game along the boards.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 12, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Subban is a pretty good player. IMO, I think he is going to be an extremely good NHL defenseman.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 12, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

You each make good points about Subban [and Alzner, for that matter]. I think Subban will be a force offensively, but I agree he also seemed a little careless with the puck against the Pens and especially the Flyers; could be due to their forecheck pressure though.

But I'd still put John Carlson up against pretty much any young d-man in the league - granted Ottawa's with a K Karlsson is exciting and fun to watch but ours is stronger physically and better defensively, IMO.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 12, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Quick note on Ottawa: no bad penalties against them, thank you. That PP could be scary; they were good before they got one of the best QBs I've ever seen.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 12, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

even if they may make their share of mistakes, the thing you have to like about players like Carlson and Subban is their decisiveness and a certain attitude with which they seem to play.

no matter what the situation they don't look timid or overwhelmed at all on the ice which is a stark contrast to guys like Green.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Confidence is huge, no question about it. I do wonder if Subban maybe has a tad too much, veering towards cockiness - and will try to get away with things at the NHL level that get you burned; we shall see. His first option seems to be 'skate-first', I like D-men to be more heads-up and 'pass-first'; we shall see.

Posted by: govtimbo | July 12, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"how about PK Subban? Here's a guy who is much better than Alzner is offensively and is better (imo) than him defensively."

If Alzner were on the Canadiens and Subban was a Cap you would be talking about how much better Alzner is.

Posted by: ouvan59 | July 13, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

If Alzner were on the Canadiens and Subban was a Cap you would be talking about how much better Alzner is.

Posted by: ouvan59 | July 13, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

hate to disappoint you but i wasn't a karl alzner fan before we even drafted him. So regardless of which team took him i wouldn't be a fan.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 13, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Can any of these guys play a Scott Stevens, Rod Langway, Mark Tinordi type shut down defense. If not, we'll exit early again. Hal Gill manhandled our forwards in round one. Why aren't we developing players like Gill ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 17, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

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