Saturday, July 18, 2009

Caps Wrap Up Development Camp

In front of a jam-packed Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Capitals wrapped up their development camp with a scrimmage, with Michael Dubuc scoring twice for the white squad in a 4-2 win to wrap up the week-long audition for consideration for spots in Hershey and Washington next season.

A crowd estimated at more than 1,500 left fans in every corner of Kettler, and got to see some of the potential Caps of the future play one last time before some will be back in juniors, overseas or perhaps in training camp that will open in September.

With the team not needing to put as much emphasis on the NHL Draft with the team picking much later lately, the development camp has become more of the unofficial gathering spot of the summer for fans, becoming a small dose of hockey in the four-month stretch between the team's playoff exit and the upcoming camp that will open in less than two months in Arlington.

As for the action on the ice, after a good stint in the Calder Cup with Hershey and a good showing at camp, John Carlson may challenge for one of the spots on the blueline.

One of the weak spots during the second-round loss to the Penguins, now with all the defensemen returning with Schultz, Morrisonn accepting their qualifying offers as well as Brian Pothier now healthy enough to skate, it will be a tight battle with Karl Alzner and Carlson garnering serious consideration for a spot on the roster. The only loose end on the blue line is the outcome of Milan Jurcina's arbitration hearing on July 28th, but Washington is bringing back all of last year's blueliners with some of the prospects looking to displace some of the incumbents.

Dmitri Orlov also might be in a Capitals sweater in the near future, as the Russian second-rounder impressed with his skill, with his stock dampened with the lack of a transfer agreement with the KHL. He played well this week, and certainly will be worth keeping tabs of his progression.

Joe Finley will certainly get a look as well, as the 6-foot-7 defenseman was pretty solid, and most likely will be in Hershey to begin next season with a chance to move up - depending on the logjam on the Caps' blueline.

Up front, Dubuc certainly was the star, scoring seven goals in three games after spending the season with the Stingrays (and scoring 35 goals in 49 games), and his eye-opening performance certainly will earn him a good shot at the AHL club this fall.

Mathieu Perreault, who spent most of the season with Hershey last year, certainly showed his extra seasoning in the AHL, and he certainly hopes that he can get a shot at the big club sometime next season.

With the team nearly at the salary cap, and only Milan Jurcina's arbitration hearing to come this month, it figures to be much quieter for the next couple of weeks before some of the veterans start to return back to town and begin workouts before camp officially kicks off in September.

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