Thursday evening, the Capitals announced that they re-signed restricted free-agent Chris Brown to a two-year, two-way contract. That leaves goaltender Braden Holtby and forward Marcus Johansson, who both elected arbitration last week, as the only RFAs the team has left to sign.
During the summer, MacLellan has talked about how Brown, who the team acquired from the Coyotes for Martin Erat, will have every opportunity to make the team’s bottom six out of training camp.
“We’re going to give Galiev a shot,” MacLellan said to Mike Vogel. “Chris Brown is going to get a shot. [Goaltender Philipp] Grubauer is going to get a shot and [Nate Schmidt] is going to get a shot. We’ve got some guys who have put in some time development-wise [at AHL Hershey], and it’s going to be up to them to perform. They’ll all have chances to make the roster.”
A few dozen kids attending a hockey camp at Ashburn Ice House in Virginia got a big surprise today when they ran into Capitals defenseman Connor Carrick.
Carrick was skating at Ashburn for a change of scenery in his summer training schedule. As he was leaving, a bunch of kids preparing to take the ice for a Summer Fun Ice Skating Camp noticed him and asked for autographs, so he stuck around.
When the Capitals drafted Ilya Samsonov 22nd overall at last month’s NHL Draft, many people were surprised that the team, already stocked with goaltending talent, would select another netminder. In spite of conventional wisdom, the Capitals insisted that they always draft the best player available. In this case, Samsonov was the best player available.
“Our scouting staff as a whole, individually and as a whole, were more than happy to be able to call his name,” Capitals assistance general manager Ross Mahoney told reporters at the draft. “We’ve always talked in the past about trying to draft the best player that’s available to us and for sure we thought he was our best player that we could take with that pick, so we went ahead and took him.”
Despite a contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk that runs for three more years, the Capitals planned on Samsonov’s attending their development camp in July to work with goalie coach Mitch Korn.
“He has a contract, but we’ve had players in the past, some Russian players that we’ve drafted and they were able to come over,” Mahoney said. “We have tremendous confidence in our goalie coaches, being able to help this young man develop his game and bring it to a level that’ll get him to succeed in the NHL.”
That, however, never happened. While the Capitals first claimed Samsonov was missing camp due to a visa issue, he was actually attending Metallurg’s training camp as first reported by our own Ian Oland. Despite the mix-up, the Capitals didn’t purport to be concerned when they addressed the issue last week.
On July 1st, the Caps signed Justin Williams, inking the top-six forward to a 2-year, $6.5 million deal. Peter included Williams’ HERO chart in an earlier post, but here it is again in case you need a refresher.
Over the past three seasons, Williams has clearly been a top-six forward. While he’s soon to be 34, so concerns about him slowing down are valid, it’s reasonable to assume Williams will at least be a serviceable top-six forward for the next two seasons. This is a boost to a Caps forward corps that needed an upgrade.