During last week’s Development Camp, the Washington Capitals took the prospects to a Washington Nationals game. Unfortunately, the game got rained out (so the Nats were spared a beatdown from the Orioles). Before the game was called, Caps 2013 first round pick, Andre Burakovsky wandered from the group and took a photo with George Washington, one of the Nats’ five racing presidents. I cannot tell a lie: this photo is majestic.
Photo: Jeff Zelevansky
On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana to a three-year, entry-level contract. The (adorbs) 18-year-old impressed in Development Camp, showing off exceptional speed, hands, and vision. He authored a nifty shootout goal that got national attention.
The signing does not mean much. Vrana is likely to be loaned back to Linkoping of the SHL for 2014-15 season unless something unexpected happens. The Czech winger was not selected during the CHL Import Draft held earlier in the month, so coming to North America for junior hockey seems unlikely– though he is eligible to play with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. In an interview with RMNB, Vrana seemed unsure if he’d attend Caps training camp during the fall. He is signed to a multi-year deal with Linkoping and the SHL season begins in early September.
Were he to play in the NHL, Vrana would make $832,500 per year. With Hershey Vrana would earn $70,000.
As we learned with fellow prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov however, just getting pen to paper can be an accomplishment worth pursuing. So someone give me a high-five and let’s party.
On March 1st, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin hit another milestone. In the team’s 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins, Ovechkin registered his 800th point, a one-timer goal off a pass from Marcus Johansson.
Photo: Chris Gordon
I attended Fanfest at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday, and it was adorbs as usual. After Team White won 7-4, the prospects headed to the locker room. Hearing his name called by the fans amassing at the railing nearby, first-round pick Jakub Vrana broke from the pack to sign autographs. Nearby, and not needing an invitation of his own, the six-foot, six-inch behemoth Eliot Antonietti walked off the ice and made a bee line to his people.
After being one of the most talked about prospects during the week (due to his massive beard and massive height), The Swiss Chara gave his game-used sticks to fans– including one to a teeny tiny Caps fan.
Earlier Sunday, I documented one fan’s Caps Equipment Sale treasure: Mikhail Grabovski’s misspelled locker room name plate.
Here’s one more. Judy N. went to Fanfest and grabbed some goalie pads. But they were no ordinary goalie pads. She explains below.
One of last season’s brightest surprises on defense, Nate Schmidt, has re-signed with the Washington Capitals on a one-year, two-way deal. Mike Vogel reports that Schmidt will make $625,000 at the NHL level and $110,000 in the AHL.
The goofy-grinned, soon-to-be 23-year-old was probably best among all the fresh faces on the blue line. Spending nearly half of his time with Mike Green, Schmidt put up a positive possession score of 50.6%, a rarity amongst Caps defenseman last season. He has a big shot, a good first pass, and a great attitude.
With the signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, Schmidt will likely be relegated to Hershey– barring injury or something unexpected during training camp. Schmidt is a key part of the Caps’ blue-line depth and should receive the big minutes in Hershey that he needs– including on the power play and penalty kill– to continue his development.
The Washington Capitals misspelled Mikhail Grabovski‘s jersey nameplate a couple times last season (1, 2). It was funny, but not a big deal. With players from countries that use the Cyrillic alphabet, I and Y endings are interchangeable when translated into English. Each player chooses how he’d like it to be translated.
The Caps’ mistake was innocent, but it turns out it wasn’t limited to Grabovski’s jersey. RMNB reader Jacob explains.
There were a lot of wacky contracts given out at the start of free agency. But if you ask 500-goal scorer and very, very articulate NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick, there were none worse than the four-year, $20-million contract awarded to Mikhail Grabovski by the New York Islanders.
“Way to go islanders!!!!” Roenick said in another poorly capitalized and punctuated Twitter rage blackout. “Making a 40pt guy a 5 million dollar player!!! Grabovski?? 5 million??? I’m going back to the gym!! Good god.”
He’s good. He knows it. (Photo: Chris Gordon)
When the Washington Capitals drafted Jakub Vrana with the 13th overall pick, many wondered if the Caps were reaching. Vrana, the U18 World Championship’s best scorer, was called selfish by some scouts. Others said his play away from the puck could use some work.
After tonight, we know one thing for sure: the Czech has a sick pair of hands.
Earlier this week, Fedor wrote an article on Caps Development Camp invitee Eliot Antonietti. We highlighted the fact that Antonietti is a defenseman, Swiss, and really, really tall. Pretty tame stuff if you ask me.
The post instantly became one of our most read articles of the entire offseason, linked on both Puck Daddy and Reddit. Some are now calling Antonietti The Swiss Chara because of his massive height, while others, such as RMNB reader AJ Kaiser, are more fascinated with his majestic beard.
On Tuesday, Kaiser went to Development Camp and something special happened.