Friday, July 10, 2009

Who To Keep An Eye On

Over the next three days, PHT will be taking a closer look at the kids coming into town over the weekend for the Capitals' development camp. Some players we will be seeing for the very first time while others may look at next week's development camp as old hat. Either way, the Capitals have invested heavily in their draft picks and their scouting. Camps like these give the Capitals' organization and the fans a chance to see the fruits of that labor.

First let's take a look at some of the returning crowd to Kettler.

John Carlson is rated number 3 on the list of top prospects in the Capitals' system according to This will be his second stint in development camp. The first time around the coaching staff have the defenseman some critiques and when training camp started a month or so later, he didn't let those constructive comments go to waste. He spent last season with the OHL's London Knights (former Cap Dale Hunter's team) then was sent to Hershey when the Knights were eliminated from the playoffs. Not only a top prospect for the Capitals, he will also attend the U.S. national junior evaluation camp in August. He was a first round pick, drafted 27th overall in the '08 NHL Entry Draft by the Caps.

Mathieu Perreault played his first full season with the Hershey Bears last year. He also was featured in 21 playoff games in the Bears' march to a Calder Cup Championship. He tallied two goals and six assists in that playoff run. If you can remember, Perreault was the scoring champ in the QMJHL with a 114 points, he led all Hershey rookies in points and was 10th overall in the AHL. He was chosen 177th overall (6th round) in the '06 Entry Draft.

Also returning is Francois Bouchard (pictured right), who was Perreault's line mate for a majority of the season along with another Cap prospect Oskar Osala. Bouchard is a creative forward who dazzled Caps fans last summer with a spin-o-rama move to score. According to the Capitals PR release:
The move looked familiar, as it is the same one his brother (Minnesota Wild's Pierre-Marc Bouchard) has used successfully against Chicago and San Jose in NHL shootouts. You may think that Francois picked up the move from his older brother, but it is the other way around. After Pierre-Marc debuted the move in 2006 he was quick to credit Francois for coming up with the idea and showing it to him first.
Bouchard registered with 15 goals and 20 assist in 64 games with the Bears last season. He was the Capitals 35th overall (2nd round) pick in the '06 Entry Draft.

If there was ever an up and coming pest in the NHL, it could be Stefan Della Rovere. The 5'11", 196 lbs. forward is a pure agitator that other teams love to hate. He makes his second appearance at the Capitals' development camp. He spent last season with the OHL's Barrie Colts and was apart of the World Junior Championship gold medal winning team Canada. He racked up 149 PIMs in Barrie, but also nearly had a point a game with 51 points in 57 games. Della Rovere was picked 204th overall (7th round) in the '08 Entry Draft.

Braden Holtby (pictured left), a prospect goaltender, surprised many in last year's camp. But his good play at camp didn't end with training camp last summer. Holtby started in 61 games for the Saskatoon Blades and was one of two goaltenders to hit the 40 win mark by season's end. Holtby practiced with the Bears during their playoff run and may play a bigger role in Hershey's goaltending depth next season. He was picked 93rd overall (4th round) in the '08 Entry Draft.

If Josh Godfrey's name sounds familiar, it's mostly because of his defensive partner Karl Alzner as both were on the '08 gold medal team for Canada (they were also partners on the Calgary Hitmen squad). The pair worked together for their country, but Godfrey was hampered with an injury last year. He spent a majority of it not with Hershey, but with the South Carolina Stingrays (who were also champions last year, defeating the Alaska Aces for the ECHL's Kelly Cup). Godfrey shows how talented and deep the defensive core is for the Capitals. He was the Capitals' 34th pick overall (2nd round) in the '07 Entry Draft.

The Capitals' biggest prospect (literally) would be Joe Finley. The 6'7", 240 lbs. defenseman has been to a Caps development camp before, but he has missed the previous two due to his college obligations (college players can attend a NHL camp, but NCAA rules stipulate they must pay their own way to the city and for their own accommodations). He suffered through an injury last season, but Finley has been a rock on the blue line for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Most will remember Finley as a tough guy who once punched a guy in the line to shake hands and he also went after a visiting team's mascot. He was an '05 draft pick.

Also returning is Dan Dunn (pictured right), a big goaltender who spent last year with St. Cloud State. But he may be looking for work this year as he played second chair to junior Jase Weslosky, who was drafted by the Islanders. Dunn only started 5 times last season and played in nine games. It will be an important camp for him. He was selected 154th overall (6th round) in the '07 Draft.

Tomorrow we will look at a few more prospects that will grace our presence at the Capitals development camp, included a pair that were not even drafted.

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