According to the always reliable “sk84fun_dc” of HFBoards, two undrafted KHL players are participating in Capitals Development Camp this week. Kristaps Sotnieks and Nauris Enkuzens are both Latvians, and both play for Dynamo Riga, one of the most hardworking teams in the KHL. Dynamo Riga is known for their business savvy, seldom overpaying for players like other KHL teams do. Our very own goaltending coach Arturs Irbe spent several seasons with Dynamo as goalie, which seems to imply that he’s the matchmaker here.
Kristaps Sotnieks (photo) is one of Dynamo’s top D-men. He’s a 3rd-pair defender, but he’s also been on the Latvian national team. Looking at his stats, the 23-year-old is a stay-at-homer for sure. He has a pretty solid D, but he also sports the team’s worst +/- . He might be a good addition to the Bears’ roster. Latvians seem to be more hungry to play in the North America than Russians are, so this might be a good match. It’s all up to GMGM.
Kristaps gave an interview which was partially posted on Latvian Sportacentr portal. We were able to translate it:
SC: What the Capitals expect from you on this camp?
KS: I don’t know. Arturs [Irbe] doesn’t know either. I asked Skrastins and Ozolins; they didn’t participate in this type of camp. As far as I understood it, they will check on- and off-ice skills. I think the key test will be on-ice skill, so I’m training intensely now.
SC: Are you nervous?
KS: Yes, I feel some. I’ve never been in a camp abroad– only in Latvia or abroad with the team. I’ll be alone in a new environment, and my English isn’t perfect as well. But I know there are no supermen. There are no monsters. There are players there like there are here at Dynamo. I played at the Olympics against NHLers; they aren’t supermen. Sure that wasn’t easy, but you can play against them. And now it’s camp with the prospects, not with the NHL players.
SC: How did you make the camp roster?
KS: I’m grateful to Arturs Irbe. He said a good word for me. If you’re not drafted and no one recomends you, you will never make the camp. They’re not crazy about watching undrafted players. Also I played on Olympics and World Champs, it helped me.
SC: What’s your mood?
KS: I’m ready to fight. If I’ll succeed, I’ll be happy. If not, I’ll come back to Dynamo. This is life.
Nauris Enkuzens is a goalie. A Latvian goalie. Just like Arturs. Hmm. Enkuzens is only 21-years-old, and he didn’t participate in the 2009/10 KHL season. He’s pretty unknown, but Irbe doesn’t do anything just to do it; so Nauris must have caught the goalie coach’s eye somehow. We’ll research Enkuzens deeper, but it might not matter…
We’ll have another development camp report from Addison later. Ian, Peter & Neil will be at KCI tomorrow as well, so come say hi if you see us.