Andre Burakovsky during last year’s rookie game. (Photo: Chris Gordon)
Preparation for 2014-15 NHL season begins this week as rookie camps kick off around the league. Capitals’ camp will start today, and will end next Tuesday with a 3PM rookie game that has been held every (non-lockout-shortened) year since the Caps’ re-build.
Andre Burakovsky is the best Caps prospect yet to play a game with the big club (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images).
With rookie camp upon us, RMNB presents the new edition of its semiannual prospect rankings.
Prospect rankings factor in a player’s potential, his probability to reach his ceiling (including an assessment of that player’s adaptation to NHL’s style of play), and physical and mental maturity.
The Caps prospect pool is considered top-heavy, with four Caps prospects ranked in top-50 league-wide by both Corey Pronman and NHL.com. However, there’s believed to be a significant drop-off in talent after that. While Capitals management has tried to make their prospect pool deeper, they’ve still got work to do. The Caps are considered thin at center in particular, underlined by auditioning their two top wingers for a center slot.
Washington Capitals’ 2014 Draft first-round pick Jakub Vrana kicked off his season this week with two Champions Hockey League games. After getting kept off the scoresheet as his Linkoping defeated Pardubice 2-1, Vrana, who played on a line with ex-Hershey Bears Jeff Taffe and Jacob Micflikier, scored two points in a blowout victory over Italian team Bolzano, 5-0.
A return to Sweden looks like the likely option for Vrana (Photo: Andreas Froberg/SHL.se)
Capitals 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana is a talented player. The Czech forward put his skills on display at development camp this summer, where he lit up the opposition playing mostly next to another top prospect, Andre Burakovsky, and a free agent invitee, Slovene Olympian Jan Urbas.
Jurcina spent majority of the last season with TPS Turku of Finnish Liiga (Photo: Ilari Isotalo/Suomi Kiekko)
Ex-Caps defenseman Milan Jurcina has signed a tryout agreement with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, according to the club’s official site. The announcement states that Jurcina is on a tryout “for now,” so it’d come as no surprise if he soon signed a full contract.
Last Tuesday, Canada played the Czech Republic in National Junior Team Development Camp in Montreal. Because the Washington Capitals had two top picks from the 2014 draft, forward Jakub Vrana and goaltender Vitek Vanecek, playing, I recorded the game to take a closer look.
Vanecek allowed six goals on 37 shots in Canada’s 6-2 victory. With so much rubber going his way, the 18-year-old Czech had more than enough chances to display his strengths and weaknesses.
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin continues to prepare for the season. After training at an undisclosed facility in (or near) Moscow last week, The Great Eight joined a Russian collegiate ice hockey team out on the Zvezda Ice Hall ice Monday in Moscow. Yes, instead of skating with KHL players, Ovechkin is now training with a bunch of future pilots at the Moscow Aviation Institute.