Ahead of their 1pm matinee against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals made a somewhat surprising recall Saturday afternoon. The Caps promoted center Chandler Stephenson from AHL Hershey.
Unless one of the Caps players is nursing an unknown injury, Stephenson is likely up to provide insurance for the Capitals ahead of their three-game road trip this week. The Caps also play in back-to-back games Sunday (Flyers) and Monday (at Pittsburgh). The Capitals have had 12 forwards on their roster since TJ Oshie returned from injury Wednesday against the Pens.
Last season, Stephenson played nine games in Washington. This is his first call-up since last October. Stephenson has been hot in Hershey lately, tallying seven points in his last eight games (two goals and five assists).
Friday night, the Hershey Bears jumped all over their rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, to the tune of a 5-2 victory. The win extends Hershey’s point streak to ten games and pushes the Bears atop the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
Two quick first period tallies from Australian Nathan Walker and Chandler Stephenson set the tone and the Bears never really looked back from there.
Recently demoted Caps prospect, Zach Sanford got the game-winning goal later in the second period, his second AHL goal. Zach Sill and Garrett Mitchell added the remaining two tallies. Vitek Vanecek earned the win in goal for the Bears stopping 26 shots
Capitals top prospect Jakub Vrana scored again tonight.
Vrana opened the scoring for the Bears with a slick wrister from the faceoff dot. The tally is his seventh goal on the year and second in two nights. The Bears would add two more goals in a span of only fifteen seconds of the second to finish their scoring for the night.
Riley Barber scored on a nice wraparound only 35 seconds after the Bridgeport Sound Tigers took the lead in the second. Chandler Stephenson would give the Bears the lead only 15 seconds later on a rebound in front of Tigers net. Joe Cannata stopped 25 of 28 shots in the game.
The Bears, who went 0-9 on the power play, would not score during the shootout and lose 4-3.
Earlier this week, we took a look at all the Caps’ prospects that didn’t make the top 10. Today, we’re diving into the bottom half of the top 10. Here’s a look at prospects 10 through six.
Save for Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom is the best player on the Washington Capitals – and it’s been that way for some time. Seeing him on crutches, then, after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery in late May was an unwelcome sight for Caps fans. On Wednesday, after four months of recovery, Backstrom practiced with his teammates for the first time since the operation — albeit in a non-contact jersey. Still, the star center who didn’t miss a game last season is likely to miss this year’s opener, though the a quicker return that some feared.
“There’s no timetable,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said when asked when Backstrom might get back into game action or lose the non-contact jersey. “Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready. I consider Nick a franchise player and you never put a franchise player at risk. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready. That will be determined by our medical staff, his doctor and more importantly, Nick himself.”
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
At this year’s Development Camp, the Capitals have shied away from the myriad of scrimmages they held under past regimes, teaching the invitees rather than pitting them against each other.
“We’re doing developing more than we are evaluating,” General Manager Brian MacLellan said. “This has been more education, more development stuff.”
Nevertheless, the team still hosted a big scrimmage at the end of camp, the anchor of the team’s annual summer fanfest. With one big chance to impress Washington’s brass, the players turned in a barnstorming, high-energy game.
One casualty of the chippiness was Chandler Stephenson‘s smile. The third-round pick lost parts of two false teeth when he was high-sticked by Marcus Basara during three-on-three play.
“I didn’t see the stick but just felt my head go back,” Stephenson said. “My front four are already fake. It’s going to be interesting to see what mom says.”
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.
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