Before every season starts, there is first a preseason. Then before that is fall camp. Before that is rookie camp, and that is what starts soon for the Capitals as they look to once again chase a championship.
With the kiddies going back to school and the weather returning to a tolerable temperature, so comes the Capitals' rookies to catch a glimpse at what a NHL camp is all about. These kids will fly in, be subjected to some hard work both on and off the ice, then cap it all off with a rookie game against the Philadelphia Flyers on September 16th.
After that, fall camp progresses fairly quickly as some rooks will be sent back to their junior teams (or back to Europe) and the big boys come back to town to get their work in before the first preseason game on September 22.
Here are a five rookies to keep an eye out for at rookie camp.
#87, David de Kastrozza, Forward - The University of Maine stand out signed with the South Carolina Stingrays after his senior year with the Black Bears. The Toms River, New Jersey native amassed 2 assists in three games played late in the season and only saw four games in the post season and no points. One thing de Kastrozza has going for him is size at 6'3", 205 lbs. It will be his first camp with the Capitals and maybe looked at as a defensive forward. He scored a goal and assists when the Maine Black Bears beat Boston University in the Hockey East semifinal.
#49, Stanislav Galiev, Forward - Another talented puck handler from Russia, Galiev spent last year in Juniors with the St. John Sea Dogs. He was selected 86th overall in the 2010 draft and is not expected to make the team, but he can set up a play or two. In 67 games he set up his team mates with 45 assists, 60 points total. Galiev likes to pattern his play after Alex Semin, but he needs to work on his strength and physical play. Pretty good video on him.
#76, Garrett Mitchell, Forward - A tough kid who returns to his second camp with the Capitals. We caught up with him last year at development camp. He took what he learned and doubled his points when he went back with his hometown Regina Pats. He improved his point production from 15 to 31 in a year. He also got some love in Hershey playing one game for the Bears. While he is on the short side, Mitchell is definitely a sand paper type player. Amassing 110 PIMs last year he hasn't been shy about picking a fight or two.
#45, Zach Miskovic, Defense - While not really considered a rookie (he played a full year with Hershey), this is an important camp for the 6'1", 185 lbs. defenseman. If John Carlson and Karl Alzner stick with the big club, Miskovic could be the go to defenseman at Hershey if the Caps run into injuries. On the blue line, he has actually been productive on the back end helping out with 20 assists and 26 points in 59 games played. His hard work ethic will turn heads on the coaching staff.
#31, Philipp Grubauer, Goaltender - Born in Rosenheim Germany, this big calm goaltender has the chops to make it to the NHL. That might be a tough road to travel in the Capitals organization that is full of young talented goaltending. He led the Windsor Spitfires to a second Memorial Cup championship despite being pulled in the third game. He is a quick goaltender that uses his reflexes to swallow up pucks. Technically sound, he could find a spot in Hershey if Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov impress with the big club. However, he will be fighting a few more really good, young goaltenders looking to do the same thing. He is the third German goaltender the Caps have taken in the draft (Robert Meuller and Olaf Kolzig are the others). He was the Caps' 112th overall pick (4th round). Here is a gallery of some pics of him during the 2010 Mastercard Memorial Cup run.
First practice for the rookies is on Sunday September 12th at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The 10:30 am practice is open to the public. They will scrimmage Wednesday at 11:45 am. Rookie camp will end with a game against the Philadelphia Flyers rookies on Thursday at 3 pm.