michal-cajkovsky

“Where dis puny reporter?!”

Every year ahead of Washington Capitals training camp, the organization invites its best prospects early to compete in a six-day camp. This year’s session, led by new Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann, sees the prospects run drills, perform strength and conditioning tests, and on the final day– compete in a scrimmage against the Philadelphia Flyers.

On Saturday, the Capitals released an artsy video of what has transpired over the last few days. Among those featured in the video is Hershey Bears defenseman Michal Cajkovsky. The 6-4, 229 pounds Czech defenseman is shown testing his vertical and HOLY TABERNACLE BATMAN – he just jumped entirely out of the screen!!

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Washington Capitals Prospect Rankings: Summer 2014

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.

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Jakub Vrana

Photo: Peter Jigerstrom/Corren

As Capitals training camp looms, speculation about how the pieces might fit begin. Rarely, however, does that speculation come from inside the organization.

Except that’s the case this time, as Caps Swedish scout Mats Weiderstal had some interesting things to say when talking with Per Bergsten of the Linkoping-based newspaper Corren about the future of Caps prospect Jakub Vrana. Here are the quotes, as translated by friend-of-the-blog Matilda Wrigsjo.

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jakub-vrana-preseason-goal

Photo: hokej.cz

After scoring his first goal of the season in the Champions Hockey League game, Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana found the net in a preseason game as his Linkoping beat Vasteras 5-3.

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jakub-vrana

Photo: Andreas Froberg

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.

That also included one siiiiiiiick goal.

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vitek-vanacek

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.

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jakub-vrana

Back in early July, Washington Capitals first round pick Jakub Vrana displayed his sick hands during Development Camp. The 18-year-old Czech had the most talked about play of the week, scoring during a scrimmage with a wild shootout move. In an interview with RMNB after camp concluded, Vrana said that the move was spur of the moment, something he thought of as he skated in towards the goalie.

On Thursday, Vrana, playing with the Czech Republic as part of the National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, tried again to get super creative against Canada. After taking a pass behind the net, Vrana attempted to scoop the puck up with his stick blade and score like a lacrosse player.

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According to CapGeek and Renaud Lavoie, the Caps have signed second-round pick Vitek Vanecek to a three-year entry-level contract. Vanecek will carry a $775,833 cap hit.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Capitals complete the 2014 Draft by picking three players in the last three rounds: Shane Gersich, Steven Spinner and Kevin Elgestal. Let’s recap their late-round activity.

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Photo: Washington Capitals

The Capitals have traded up again to get a pick in the third round back, moving the 104th and 118th overall picks for 89th overall selection. They then selected Australian forward Nathan Walker from the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

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