This weekend we are taking a closer look at who will be attended the Capitals' development camp. This year's Development Camp starts on Monday, July 13. Included on the list of 24 players released are three players that were never drafted. One made a huge splash last summer and he is first on our list today of players to watch at Kettler Iceplex next week.
Jake Hauswirth impressed the Caps management and fans alike in his brief stint in last year's camp. He was slated to go to his father's college, Michigan Tech to play. But instead he stayed on with Omaha Lancers in the USHL and tallied 28 goals (52 pts) in 58 games played. It was not long before the Caps followed up their interest with a contract. While he was a virtual unknown last year, he will return to Washington better known with fans and media and with a chance to play for the Caps farm club in Hershey.
Zach Miskovic played in every game through his four years in college. Last year he led all defensemen in goals with 16. Miskovic was not drafted by the Capitals, but was signed as a free agent to the club. He was a first team All-American player for his efforts at St. Lawrence.
Trevor Bruess (pronounced BRISS) is another college star that did not go through the draft and was signed by the Capitals as a free agent. He played the last three seasons at Minnesota State and led the team in penalty minutes.
It is not out of the normal for the Caps to sign college free agents as five of those players have made an impact for the club. In fact, five former college free agents have played in a Capitals sweater last season: Jay Beagle, Sean Collins, Graham Mink, Brian Pothier and David Steckel.
Joining the non-drafted at development camp are this year's drafted prospects. While the first rounder, Marcus Johansson, decided to stay in Sweden to train with his Swedish elite team for a preseason exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings. The rest will be seen at Kettler next week. The rest of these players are all of the Capitals picks after the first round in the '09 NHL Entry Draft. They are listed in the order or round they were selected.
Dmitri Orlov was slated to be taken in the first round in a lot of mock drafts. Instead, he was taken late in the second round by the Capitals. He is a defenseman that played in the KHL last season. He was named as one of the top three Russian performers for the under-18 World Championships. Orlov is a fast puck moving defenseman who has great offensive skill.
Cody Eakin was taken in the third round, but he was an unknown until his play at the CHL-NHL top prospects game. He played right next to the number one overall pick John Tavares and impressed many scoring a pair of goals and finished a +2 and he would be named the team's most outstanding player. Eakin is a fast skater and is an Alex Ovechkin fan following the Caps through the playoffs. “They're amazing guys to watch," Eakin told reports after he was drafted. "I watch the Capitals all the time, especially in the playoffs. They had a great run. You can't say anything more about that team that hasn't already been said. They have an unbelievable organization and I'm super-excited for it.”
Patrick Wey was taken in the fourth round and hails from Pittsburgh PA. We will be sure, if he is a fan, that he burns any Penguins paraphernalia he might have. Wey is the second defenseman the Caps have taken from the USHL (John Carlson also played in the USHL). Wey played for Waterloo and was the seventh leading scorer among defensemen in the league with seven goals and 27 assists.
In the fifth round the Caps picked Brett Flemming. Another defenseman that is known for being a hard worker. He played for Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the OHL and had three goals and 25 assists in 64 games played. Flemming and Stephan Della Rovere are coming into camp with a bit of history as Flemming's team ousted Della Rovere's team in the OHL playoffs.
Garrett Mitchell (besides having a great first name) was the seventh round pick in this year's draft for the Capitals. He comes to camp as a 17 year old and a chip on his shoulder. Mitchell registered 140 PIMs with the Regina Pats in the WHL (his hometown as well). He had 14 fighting majors included a scrap with fellow camp attendee Joel Broda.
Last but not least, the Capitals took Benjamin Casavant in the seventh and final round of the draft. He averaged over a point a game with Prince Edward Island in the QMJHL. A high scoring left wing, he tallied 39 goals and 41 assists in 68 games played last year. But don't think he is a player that scores on the pretty play, a large amount of his goals happen in front of the net on rebounds and crashing the net.
Tomorrow we clean up the list with the rest of the field that includes a prospect that has some fine Capital lineage and another prospect that has his own blog.