Player News - Capitals

Date: Team: Pos:

Karl Alzner is excited for the 2014-15 campaign after the Capitals signed defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik this summer.

"I'm fired up about it," Alzner said when asked about the upgrade on the blue line. "I think we have, on paper right now, one of the deepest blue lines, so I'm happy about that. You know that you have to pay players to get them sometimes and we're happy, I'm happy, for all the guys whenever they can get a good paycheck and that's great. So if we're going to have to pay guys numbers that other people don't necessarily agree with and we want that player and need that player, then it doesn't matter to us - you've just got to get them." Well, obviously it's not that simple in a cap-based league, but regardless, the Capitals defense certainly has been upgraded this summer. As for Alzner in particular, he got next to no power-play ice time last season and that certainly won't change now that Niskanen has joined the team.
Jul 17 - 2:29 PM

Jakub Vrana has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Washington.

Vrana had two goals and three points in 24 games in the Swedish league last season. Obviously those numbers aren't impressive, but he does have a lot of offensive upside. He was taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Jul 15 - 11:36 PM

Vitek Vanecek has agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with Washington.

Vanecek was taken with the 39th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He played for Billi Tygri Liberec in the Czech Republic's under-20 league in 2013-14 and finished with a 2.64 GAA and .921 save percentage in 38 contests.
Jul 15 - 3:37 PM

Madison Bowey has gained 10 pounds since he was drafted in 2013.

Bowey, who is 6-foot-2, now weighs in at 205 pounds. In addition to getting stronger, he's also coming off of a great campaign in the WHL. He had 60 points and 93 penalty minutes in 72 games with the Kelowna Rockets in 2013-14. Although he's still a long shot to make the Capitals' opening game roster, he should get into some preseason games. "I want to prove I am close enough," Bowey said. "Going back to Kelowna definitely wouldn't hurt me at all. It'll be another year of development for me and another year for me to mature and round my game so that I can play at the next level. That's definitely what the plan is, I think."
Jul 15 - 9:54 AM

Nate Schmidt has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal.

Schmidt had two goals and six points in 29 games with Washington in 2013-14. Given that Washington already has eight defensemen signed to one-way contracts, we don't like Schmidt's chances of making the team's opening game roster.
Jul 14 - 1:05 PM

Forward Andre Burakovsky, Washington's first-round pick (No. 23) at the 2013 NHL Draft, has realistic aspirations of challenging for a roster spot come training camp in September.

The 19-year-old Swede thrived in his first season with Erie in the OHL, posting 41 goals and 87 points in 57 games. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to have a chance to play some games in the NHL," Burakovsky said. "I had the chance to play some games last year, some preseason [games], I think I did really good there and I think the OHL was really good for me too. I think I might be ready to at least try to take the next step to the NHL." Burakovsky was able to distinguish himself with his quick release. "What really separated him was his wrist shot when he was on the rush," Erie coach Kris Knoblauch said. "He scored numerous goals just using the defenseman as a screen and shooting it through his legs and beating the goaltender. With his wrist shot that's certainly something that the other players, as good as they were, couldn't do."
Source: nhl.com
Jul 13 - 11:55 AM

Through five days of the Washington Capitals' development camp and two full scrimmage games, management is pleased with what it's seen, especially from 2014 first-round selection Jakub Vrana.

Vrana’s speed and creativity have been evident through the first two scrimmages. On Thursday afternoon, he blew past a defenseman for a breakaway, and pulled a sick move on a shootout to score a goal. On Friday morning, the 18-year-old Czech blasted a slap shot under the crossbar in an 8-3 rout for Team Red. "That was a shot not a lot of people are going to stop," Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. "But I also like that he was the first man back [on defense] and back-checked and disrupted the play. So he’s showing he’s a very determined young man as far as playing defense."
Jul 12 - 10:22 AM

The Washington Capitals experimented with using Andre Burakovsky as a center during development camp.

"It was actually the first time I played center," Burakovsky said, "but it was good for me…I felt good out there, actually." If the Capitals feel like Burakovsky is capable of shifting to center than it would help his chances of making the team. He had 41 goals and 87 points in 57 OHL games in 2013-14.
Jul 11 - 10:14 AM

Tom Wilson isn't projected to fully recover from his ankle injury until after the start of the Capitals' training camp.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz was previously optimistic about Wilson's chances of being ready for the start of camp. Wilson's agent said that his client is still expected to be fine before the end of the preseason though. He suffered the injury during the offseason in a "fall," but other than that the Capitals are being vague on what caused it.
Jul 9 - 8:17 PM

Edward Pasquale has inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals acquired Pasquale from Winnipeg on June 28. He had a 2.43 GAA and .920 save percentage in 31 AHL games in 2013-14.
Jul 9 - 12:23 PM

Alex Ovechkin is upbeat after the Capitals were able to sign defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

"That our team signed such guys [as Niskanen and Orpik] – that's a very strong move," Ovechkin said. "Orpik, for example, is a very physical defenseman. If he plays on your team – it’s a positive for you. But the results will be at the end of the season, it hasn't even started yet. Who knows what other changes are coming to the team– maybe there will be a trade or something else." Not everything that happened for the Capitals this summer was a positive in Ovechkin's eyes. He had a close relationship with Mikhail Grabovski and he's said to see him go.
Jul 7 - 10:15 PM

Tom Wilson (ankle) should be fine for the start of training camp, according to coach Barry Trotz.

Wilson had 10 points and 151 penalty minutes in 82 games last season. He was used sparingly, averaging just 7:56 minutes per game as a rookie.
Jul 7 - 2:29 PM

Part of the reason Matt Niskanen decided to sign a seven-year, $40.25 million contract with the Capitals was the presence of head coach Barry Trotz.

Trotz is very well-respected in hockey circles after the success he managed to achieve during his tenure in Nashville and this was very much part of Niskanen's thought process. "I heard nothing but great things about Barry Trotz and the way things are going there," Niskanen said after signing with the club. In addition, both Brooks Orpik and newly-signed backup goaltender Justin Peters admitted they were swayed by a conversation they had with Trotz before signing in Washington as free agents.
Jul 6 - 6:08 PM

By not signing veteran free agents Martin Brodeur or Tomas Vokoun, and by signing Justin Peters as a backup goalie, the Washington Capitals made it clear that they are sticking with Braden Holtby as their main man in net.

"We want Holtby to be our guy and we want him to be supported by a good backup," Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said after signing Peters to a two-year, $1.9 million contract. "Peters is a good backup in our mind and he has some upside, too. He’s 28 years old, he’s still a young guy. He’s a good teammate, he gets along with the No. 1 guys he’s played with, so we thought it was a match that way. I mean, if you bring in an older, experienced guy it’s going to cost us more money and it might have been a little more pressure on Holtby. We wanted to send a message to Holtby that he’s our No. 1 guy." Holtby had a career-worst .915 save percentage and 2.85 goals-against average last season, which makes next season a huge one considering Holtby is entering the final season of a two-year, $3.7 million contract.
Jul 6 - 10:21 AM

Kris Newbury has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Washington Capitals.

Newbury had 18 goals, 49 points, and 207 penalty minutes in 63 AHL games in 2013-14. As valuable as he is in the minors though, he has never been able to establish himself in the NHL level. The 32-year-old is a nice depth signing for the Capitals, but he's not expected to start the season as a member of their NHL roster.
Jul 4 - 12:15 PM


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