Capitals Rookie Tournament Notebook: Player Review

Photo: Al Larson

So who stood out, good and bad? The NoVa Caps team closely dissected each of the three games so that we could provide you a prospect breakdown, game by game, for all three games of the rookie tournament

The Washington Capitals rookies and prospects ended up going 0-3 (outscored 19-8) in the tournament. There were a few bright spots (Zach Sanford, Travis Boyd), and few disappointments (Vitek Vanecek, Adam Carlson, Jonas Siegenthaler, Capitals defense) and a few players that we were hoping might make a big impact, and didn’t do so in the brief three-game tournament (Madison Bowey, Chandler Stephenson).

The Capitals first game was against the Tampa Bay Lightning squad, and was also the first game of the four-team tournament. Tampa Bay won 7-6. A complete game recap can be found here.

Who Was Hot
Zach Sanford – Sanford potted two goals in the opening game of the tournament. He also showed steady net-front presence in the opening contest, which ultimately led to both of his goals for the game. Zach Sanford started the game at center between  Beck Malenstyn and Riley Barber, and would later center Travis Boyd and Jakub Vrana.

Travis Boyd – Boyd would score the prettiest goal of the game, and add two assists. Bear’s coach Troy Mann, who is running the Caps bench, said he thought Travis Boyd had the best game of any player on either team, with Sanford a close second. Boyd spent a decent amount of the game on a line with Hershey teammate Jakub Vrana, which he admitted after the game helped quite a bit.

Who Was Not
Jonas Sieganthaler – Siegenthaler seemed to struggle quite a bit in this game, as did the Caps defensively in general. Considering the team had just a single practice, and Siegenthaler’s lack of familiarity with the North American game, he likely deserves a pass for this performance.

Coach Mann’s Breakdown:

Player Interviews:

Complete Game Video:


Game two for the Capitals took place the following day at 6:00PM. Vitek Vaneck got the call in net for the entire game. Jonas Siegenthaler would sustain an injury in the second period and not dress for the final period. The Capitals would fall to the Panthers 5-2. A complete game recap can be found here:

Who Was Hot:
Travis Boyd – Boyd would notch the Caps first goal for the game his second goal of the tournament. Coach Mann mentioned after the game that he had Boyd play center and the wing position (as he did in the previous game) to showcase Capitals coaching brass Boyds ability to play at both positions.

Zach Sanford – Zach Sanford would score the Caps only other goal. This was Sanford’s third goal in the first two games. Sanford also demonstrated excellent skating skills, and the ability to maneuver around an opponent. Sanford also showed a good understanding of the action on the ice, how and when to front the net, and how to help out on puck battles.

Who Was Not:
Vitek Vanecek – Vanecek gave up a couple of soft goals in this contest. It’s true the defense struggled for this tournament, but the caliber of shots given up by Vanecek in game two was fairly middle-of-the-road.

Coach Mann’s Breakdown:

Player Interviews:

Game Video:


The Capitals defense and goaltending continued to struggle in the final game of the three-game set, as Nashville (0-2) posted four goals in the two periods alone. Vitek Vanecek relieved Adam Carlson in goal after Carlson gave up four goals in a period and a half of play. Carlson was originally slated to play the entire game. Vanecek would give up three additional goals in the third period for a 7-0 final. A complete game summary can be found here:

Who Was Hot:
Not much to speak of here for this particular game.

Who Was Not:
Adam Carlson – Carlson never seemed to find his game in the few periods he played in the tournament.

Vitek Vanecek – Vanecek showed some signs of decent play in the tournament, but again gave up three goals in relief in this contest. The third goal was with less than a minute to play, and no defense in sight.

Coach Mann’s Breakdown:

Player Interviews:

Game Video:


By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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