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During the fall, 20-year-old forward Liam O’Brien was given an amateur contract from the Capitals. Back then, his goal was simply to stick around for a few more days. Instead, he became one of the most impressive players during camp, earning a three-year entry-level contract at its completion for his hard work and grit.

On October 14th, O’Brien notched his first NHL point (and first NHL tongue wag) against the San Jose Sharks. Against the Canucks on Sunday, O’Brien scored his first NHL goal on former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller.

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Tom Wilson‘s broken ankle has finally heeled (get it? boo). Tonight he will play in his first game of the 2014-15 season… with the Hershey Bears. Wilson was re-assigned to the AHL earlier this week.

It’s unknown how Wilson will play in Barry Trotz’s new system, but there’s one thing I’m confident of: he still knows how to face-punch good.

Proof: Last week, RMNB’s Amanda Bowen caught John Stamos’s brother-from-another-mother participating in a fake scrap with Michael Latta.

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Photo: @Latta17

Washington Capitals center Michael Latta went to his first Redskins game tonight. Treated by “Uncle @GreenLife52,” Latta joined injured forward Tom Wilson and sorta-injured defenseman Mike Green at Fedex Field.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.

“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”

“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.

19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.

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Photo: Aly D.

On Friday, the Washington Capitals took a break from the norm and traveled up to Navy’s Annapolis campus for a team-building event. The Caps got a tour of the Naval Academy from the university’s hockey team, ate lunch in the dining hall with midshipmen, and even held an open practice at McMullen Ice Arena.

Reader Aly D., a hockey player herself, had the chance to attend practice and see her favorite team skate. After the players left the ice, she met basically the entire team, taking selfies with Mike Green, Braden Holtby, and Michael Latta.

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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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The Michael Latta BioSteel GIFs

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Last week, Washington Capitals center Michael Latta was in Toronto with injured teammate Tom Wilson for Matt Nichol’s Biosteel Camp. The weeklong camp features many NHL stars (and Biznasty) working out with the renowned trainer.

Because the camp is remarkably good at marketing itself, they produced videos from each day’s training session.

Since the videos are #fancy and Latta is in some of them, I figured, hey, let’s GIF!

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Photo: Doug Pensinger

After spending most of 2013-14 with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, Capitals’ center prospect Michael Latta is now poised to gain a full-time roster spot in Washington next season. Acquired at the 2013 trade deadline in the infamous Forsberg-Erat trade, Latta had one goal and four points in 17 NHL games last season but left a good impression, winning 52.2% of his face-offs and playing an effective, physical game on the fourth line. Latta was one of the team’s best players at drawing penalties, leading the team in penalty differential.

After signing a two-year contract on July 1st, Latta is practically guaranteed a roster spot in the NHL next season.

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Photo: @Latta17

New Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has made some polarizing moves on Tuesday. First, he signed Justin Peters to a reasonable deal to serve as Braden Holtby’s back-up. Then, GMBM unloaded a boatload of cash to Brooks Orpik’s door, which he has been roundly criticized because Orpik is old and bad.

Mixed in with those signings, the Caps announced that they have re-upped restricted free agent Michael Latta to a two-year, $1.15 deal. That’s worth celebrating.

Latta, the only remaining gem of the Filip Forsberg trade, is a straight-up good hockey player. Playing mostly with Tom Wilson and possession anchor Aaron Volpatti, Latta managed a better-than-it-seems 48.6 percent possession score. He also tallied four points — including the GWG against Detroit — and drew a ridiculous amount of penalties. The dude can penalty kill. He can also fight (poor Rinaldo). And he is a pest– a good one at that.

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Michael Latta: 2013-14 Season Review

Michael Latta came out of nowhere (Nashville’s farm system) to bring dynamism to the bottom line this season. Latta didn’t get a lot of ice in his 17 games, but should he get another crack at the bigs this fall I think we’ll find that Latta is a legit NHL player.

By the Numbers

17 Games played
7.4 Average time on ice per game
1 Goals
3 Assists
48.2% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
50.0% Goal percentage during 5v5
9.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.7% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

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