Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman has been traded to the Calgary Flames for D Jordan Hendry and a 2013 5th round draft pick. The Flames promptly signed Wideman to a 5-year contract worth $5.25 million per season. Wideman had been set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.no comments
Alex DeYoung is a goaltender representing the United States with the Team USA Junior Men's Inline Hockey Team in the 2012 Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) World Championships in Bucaramanga, Colombia from June 30 to July 14. Alex is a high school student in Northern Virginia, and the only member of the 16-player team from Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area. Over the next few weeks, he will be writing about the tournament from his perspective.
I arrived in Miami after a three hour flight from Washington. It took me quite a few tries to get my goalie gear bag under 50 lbs so it could be checked on the plane. My dad enjoyed laughing at me when he boarded first class and I had to wait in a very long line to get onto the plane. When we were boarding the shuttle to the hotel in Miami, the driver insisted on putting my gear bag with the other luggage for me. I told him it was very heavy, and he said not to worry about it. He sounded like he was passing a kidney stone when he tried to lift my equipment bag into the shuttle.
When I got to the hotel, the team manager Jeff Weedman gave me my room key and had his son, Carl, take me to a banquet room full of equipment from our sponsors. I got Team USA gear of various sizes. I wonder how I ended up getting a 2XL polo shirt and a medium t-shirt. I got tons of shorts, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jackets. The skaters got gloves from Alkali, helmets from Bauer, pants from Mission and Reebok, and two a.i. 9 sticks from Reebok. Carl and I are getting Reebok goalie equipment when we get home. They unfortunately couldn't make our pads in time for the competition.
When I walked into my room I met my roommate, Kyle DeVault. He seemed like a nice guy at first, but when I heard he was from Pittsburgh, I feared the worst. (Note: DeVault is from Greensburg, PA) My fears became reality when I asked him what his favorite NHL team was, and he said the Penguins. Looks like I'm going to need to pull up highlights from the 2011 Winter Classic when he puts his Penguins t-shirt on.
We have team dinner at 4, and then at 5 we get on our bus that takes us to Deerfield Beach Inline hockey arena for practice.
As first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger, the Washington Capitals have named Adam Oates to replace the resigned Dale Hunter as head coach. Oates played for the Capitals from 1997-2002, and was a team captain under George McPhee. He takes this job after being an assistaint in New Jersey and being behind the bench for the Devils' Stanley Cup Final run this spring.
Andy Green of this site successfully predicted this...over a month ago.
Kostento saves a shot against the QMJHL All-Stars this winter. (Photo by QMJHL)
In the last three NHL Drafts, the Washington Capitals have selected European goaltenders past the fourth round. In 2010, it was German product Philipp Grubauer. In 2011, it was Norwegian Steffen Soberg. This year, it was Russian Sergei Kostenko.
Washington selected Kostenko, who grew up playing with current Capital Dmitry Orlov in their hometown of Novokuznetsk, with the 203rd overall pick on Saturday. Kostenko, 19, spent last season playing with Novokuznetsk’s minor league team, where he posted a 2.47 GAA and .897 save percentage in 40 games. So what did that Capitals like about him?
“Very athletic, very competitive, we have seen him before in the past,” said Director of Amateur Scouting Ross Mahoney on Saturday. “He played well with Russia’s under 20 team when they came across and did the Subway Series, basically ending up as the third goalie on the World Junior team. We’ve been tracking him for three years.”
“They [the scouts] just saw something there, they think he can be a National Leaguer,” George McPhee said. “He wasn’t on the list, for central scouting, and we got him on the list at the end of the second round. They had to research him to make sure he would be eligible for drafting. We got him approved before the seventh round and then we took him. Sergey [PR Director Sergey Kocharov] had a conversation with him yesterday, really vouched for his character, said he would love to come over. We thought it was well worth the pick.”
The Capitals have had great success drafting goaltenders outside of North America in the past, as Olaf Kolzig, Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth were born overseas. Grubauer, who has yet to play one game for the Capitals, was stellar in his first professional season this year, posting a 2.22 GAA and .918 save percentage for South Carolina in the ECHL. Grubauer’s performance earned him a selection to the all-rookie team in that league and verified his selection, as goaltending coach Dave Prior had him near the top of his rankings during the 2010 draft.
Even more encouraging is the fact that Kostenko seems to want to come over to North America as soon as possible and get ready to compete in the different style of game – something some of the Capitals’ other Russian prospects, like Evgeny Kuznetsov, have not.
With Washington still deep at the goaltending position organizationally, this pick seems to be just another addition to the stockpile that has a chance to work out. At the second most important position on the ice, you can do a lot worse than continually adding low-risk, potentially high-reward goaltenders - especially raw, athletic ones that simply need to be honed.Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals and the NHL Draft for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here. no comments
With the 167th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals selected forward Riley Barber, an 18 year old from the United States Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One of four USNTDP players selected by Washington in the middle rounds, Barber was just as happy as his teammates on now being a Capital.
“It was great, I was at home on the couch with my family and I got a call from my agent saying I was drafted,” Barber said in a phone interview Sunday. “Then I saw it on TV. It was great, a great feeling and very surreal to see your name up there with an NHL team you watched so many times.”
So what could Barber bring to the Capitals down the road? Only 18, the Pittsburgh native played only one season in Ann Arbor but is scheduled to play next year for the Miami (OH) Redhawks – a storied NCAA program that most recently made the National Championship game in 2010. And Barber, whose father played professionally, lacks no confidence.
“I think I have the potential to do whatever my team needs me for my team to win,” he said. “I can put pucks in the net, I can kill penalties, I can block shots, I can be an all around player that all teams need. Second line, third line, fourth line, whatever the team needs. I’m a team guy.”
Danton Cole, who coached him this past season, spoke to some media on Saturday in Pittsburgh, and raved about a player who he only got to see for one year but still made an impression upon him.
“Riley joined us after one year, this is the second year and he tied for leading goal scorer on the team,” Cole said. “He’s got a pro shot, another kid with a real high compete level and hates to lose, his battle level is real good. He does a lot of things, he’s kind of a pro winger, he gets pucks out, he understands the subtleties of the game, he’s got a good physical aspect to his game. As I said, he’s got an NHL shot, he’s a goal scorer.”
“He’s heady, finds net,” texted Matt Greason, another former coach of Barber’s at the USNTDP. “Love him. Gritty two way center. Blood and guts captain material and thinks the game like a pro.”
But like any draft pick, especially one in the 6th round, the 18 year-old has some work to do in order to be able to contribute at the NHL level. Greason says that he needs to get a little more “jump” to his game and work on his skating. However, it seems at the early stages that the Capitals may have gotten a steal at this position so late in the draft.
Specifcally, Barber wants to do whatever he can do make the team as soon as possible – despite that fact that he’s from Pittsburgh – because he thinks that he has been drafted into an organization that has their sights set on winning, all the way down.
“I think about the owner, and George McPhee, they loves to win and they will do anything to win,” he said of his new franchise. “That’s what I model my game after. I want to win, I hate losing. The fact that they drafted me, I think it’s a perfect fit. They are a very skilled team, and I think I’m pretty skilled. They like to score goals but they also have those grinders that like to hit every shift, and make plays and score goals. It’s a great team overall that I am very happy to be drafted by.”
“I watched the Capitals down the stretch and I think that they were great,” he added. “Dale [Hunter] had to do what he had to do. You know, all he wanted to do was win. And I think the guys that they drafted, I know we are all hard workers and I know that we all love to win. I think it was great for the Capitals to pick us up.”
The Capitals and their fans will get their first look at Barber and his American teammates at Development Camp in about two weeks, which Barber confirmed he would be attending Sunday.
Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals and the 2012 NHL Draft for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here.no comments
Austin Wuthrich shakes hands with Capitals brass after being selected 107th overall. (AP Photo)
PITTSBURGH – In their prior history, the Washington Capitals had selected two players total from the United States Development Program. They tripled that number in rounds four through six of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Saturday, picking four players out of Ann Arbor to help replenish their prospect pool.
Thomas Di Pauli, Austin Wuthrich, Connor Carrick, and Riley Barber all heard their names called as part of four consecutive Washington selections through the middle rounds. And for every member of that team that was present at the CONSOL Energy Center, the moment was one of almost unspeakable joy.
“Unbelievable,” beamed Di Pauli, who moved to the United States from Italy in middle school to chase his NHL dreams. “At first I didn’t hear, but my mom stood up to congratulate me. Best moment of my life. I was starting to get a little nervous and shaky, so I couldn’t believe it. Dream come true. Incredible.”
“It was just as good as I imagined,” echoed Wuthrich, his voice audibly trembling. “Great feeling, and I’m just really happy that the Caps drafted me. Right around the end of the third round, my mom started to get a little nervous, which made me nervous, so I mean it’s always nerve racking, but I’m just really happy and excited right now.”
“I guess I’m just honored,” Carrick agreed. “The Capitals are a great organization, and being among some of the names of that are getting called today, it’s pretty special. You think about something like this for a long time, and it’s been a really good experience so far.”
The selection of so many American players, particularly in a row, was a change of pace for McPhee and director of Amateur Scouting Ross Mahoney. One look at the Capitals’ lineup shows a heavy reliance on European and Canadian players, with just two Americans, Matt Hendricks and John Carlson, on the current roster. In addition, as mentioned before, the Capitals had only picked two players from the USNTDP in their history prior to Saturday – winger Greg Burke in 2008 and center Travis Boyd in 2011. But Mahoney and his staff loved what he saw this year from Ann Arbor, and the selections prove it.no comments
PITTSBURGH - Below is the transcript of the draft day interview with Capitals' third-round pick, Chandler Stephenson.
Image courtesy Washingtoncaps.com
What’s your initial reaction on finally coming off the board and going to Washington?
Just excited, you know. The whole week, just kinda anxious about where I’m going. I talked to Washington and wasn’t really sure about their thoughts, so it’s an honor to go there.
You talked to them a few times?
Talked to them at the combine and during the season a bit. It was kind of unexpected, I guess.
How familiar are you with the organization? Do you know anyone in the organization who played for the Pats?
Yeah, Garrett Mitchell. My rookie year with Regina, he was captain of our team. He is a great leader, and I know he’s going to be talking to me. He said [Washington] is a great place to play and obviously I’m really excited to play there.
How would you describe your game?
As an offensive forward, I’d like to see, but I’m trying to change to two-way forward, fix the defensive part of my game.
What would you say is your path for the next few years?
Just still developing in Regina, still learning a lot with the WHL. I’m just going to take a lot in there, and just kind of develop and move on and follow the path of my career.
Do you still keep in touch with Garrett Mitchell?
I’m sure you’ll talk to him about the organization and I would assume you’ll be at Development camp in July.
Yeah. Probably he’ll be talking to me and I’ll be talking to him. We both are on the same team now, and before that, I knew him, and he’s at the same agency as me.
How would you best describe the way you play?
I don’t know, an offensive forward, like I said. Skating is probably my #1 attribute.
What was the meeting with the Capitals like before the draft?
It was really good.
Do you see yourself as a center moving forward?
I played center this year and played left wing, just whatever the coach wants me to play.
What’s your idea when you think Capitals? What first comes to mind?
Alexander Ovechkin. He’s exciting to watch. Growing up, he’s always been the top player, him and Semin.
Did you have a big crowd here today?
Just my family, my dad’s buddy, and my agent.
How old were you when you first started playing hockey?
I went to register for hockey when I was 4, but you have to be 5. So I played ringette for a year and when I was 5, I played hockey.
Did your dad play, too?
No. My dad was a ball player.
Position: Left Winger/Center
Born: 04/22/94, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
NHL Central Scouting Rank: #33 North American Skater
Player Pages: NHL - EP - HF - WHL
The 77th overall pick, Chandler Stephenson is an offensively-minded center with good speed. He was voted his junior team's most gentlemanly player, as he is not prone to taking penalties. He displays good creativity in the offensive zone, he has good hands and good hockey sense and is willing to play with a physical edge. He is not very large, but he is very strong and has a powerful slap shot. He is working to improve his all-around game, but he is able to control play in the offensive zone well enough for his defense not to be an issue most of the time.
Though he missed 14 games with a sprained knee, Stephenson still managed 22 goals and 42 points in 55 games as the fourth-best scorer on the Regina Pats of the WHL. He finished the season with a -1 rating and just 24 PIM, but perhaps most impressive was the fact he had just 2 powerplay goals, meaning his production should take off with more special teams time next season. In the WHL playoffs, Stephenson finished tied for third in team scoring with a goal and 4 points, but the more impressive numbers might have been his team-leading +4 and 0 PIM.
If Stephenson continues to play center, he projects to be a playmaking center, probably a second- or third-liner because of his size. He will take several seasons to develop into that type of role, but he has a good brain for hockey and a good starting skill set. His NHL upside will be limited if he does not improve his defense, though. He should be well motivated and coached with three cousins who play professional hockey.
Plans for next season:
Most likely, Chandler Stephenson will follow the path of another speedy, 5'10 center the Caps drafted, Mathieu Perreault. After his draft year, Perreault played two more years of junior and a full season in the AHL before making his NHL debut in hist fourth year after the 2006 Draft. Then Perreault was a part-time center for the Capitals for two seasons before making the team for good in year 6. Stephenson will need to continue developing in the WHL for at least one more season, probably two, where he will be expected to take on a larger role for Regina. He should get the chance to develop in the AHL in 2014-15 before getting the chance to make the NHL roster in 2015-16.