ARLINGTON, VA - The Washington Capitals Summer Development Camp got underway this morning with two practice sessions. The sessions were led by new Capitals head coach Adam Oates. Still without assistant coaches, Oates was assisted by AHL Hershey Bears head coach Mark French and ECHL Reading Royals head coach Larry Courville.
The first group was highlighted by Capitals 2010 3rd round pick F Stanislav Galiev and 2012 first-round pick F Tom Wilson. Stan Galiev still has nice hands, but he was pushed around a little bit on the ice, reinforcing his need to bulk up and develop in the AHL next season. The group also featured D Max Iafrate, son of former Capital defenseman Al Iafrate. Ironically, Max was wearing Reebok gloves even though his dad was a sales rep for Warrior.
The second group featured 2012 first round pick F Filip Forsberg, 2012 7th round pick D Christian Djoos, and free agent signee D Cameron Schilling.
In practice, Schilling showed he was a man among boys. The 6'2, 196 lb defender showed he has man-size and man strength, confidence bordering on arrogance, and good stick skills. He has a good shot selection, with pace and elevation on the forehand, backhand, and slap shot; he even broke his stick on a 1-time slap shot in a shooting drill. He showed excellent 1-on-1 defending ability, using his body well, but also displaying a good stick when necessary. His weakness appeared to be his zone defending ability. On 2-on-1 drills, he shadowed over to the man with the puck too much instead of taking away the pass, relying on his ability to out-muscle younger, smaller players. That may have worked in college, but it won't work against the best and strongest hockey players in the world in the NHL. Schilling made his pro debut with the AHL Hershey Bears this past spring, playing 7 regular season and 4 playoff games in chocolate. Bears coach Mark French applauded Schilling's defensive ability and his hockey IQ, echoing George McPhee's comments that he could make his NHL debut this season, but that he would do well to spend more time in the AHL next season.
Filip Forsberg did not have too many chances to show off his passing ability, but in drills he displayed good hands, a solid wrist shot, and the ability to take a pass from his skates to his stick in stride.
Christian Djoos showed he still has a ways to go before he's ready for the pro ranks. He has an excellent stick and solid positioning, but needs a little work on his backwards mobility still and needs to learn to play the body more.
Follow Andy Green on Twitter here.