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After a long summer that saw many departures, the Washington Capitals had to re-tool their roster. Instead of signing many free agents to fill roster spots, the Capitals filled most of their holes through “in-house” competition.
The internal competition the Capitals had in training camp is beginning to pay off, and the Washington Capitals are back to their winning ways they have been accustomed to over the last few years. Most of the Capitals newcomers have been drafted and developed inside the organization, and now their development is paying off with the big club as the new year approaches.
Which newcomers are making the biggest difference for the Capitals? Who are the young players that are the future stars of the club? Let’s look at who is making a big impact for the Capitals right now.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 15, 2017
It has been a bumpy road for Vrana as he continues to grow his game. Vrana has 10 goals and 14 points in 32 games for the Capitals. In his games, he has shown flashes of great speed and power to get to the front of the net. The 2014 1st round pick of the Capitals has a ton of skill, and he could be on the verge of scoring right around 20 goals in his rookie campaign.
The 2012 3rd round pick of the Capitals has also taken the long road to the NHL, but Stephenson is showing that he belongs. Stephenson is not the biggest or strongest player on the ice, but he has shown that he has a good set of hands as he has a unique ability to create great passes for his teammates. Stephenson has 9 points in 23 games this year, and will likely hit 20-30 points before this season is over with.
MADISON BOWEY AND CHRISTIAN DJOOS
The pair of young defensemen are showing a lot of promise for the Capitals on the blueline this year. Bowey, 22, is a right-handed shooting defenseman that is more of a stay-at-home defenseman. He has played third pairing minutes most of the season, and has done well in that role. He has 7 points in 27 games.
Djoos, 23, is a tiny defenseman with a good set of hands and strong skating ability. The 2012 7th round pick of the Capitals has strong puck moving ability and he has displayed plenty of creativity in the offensive zone. While his physical frame needs to fill out some more over time, he has strong hockey IQ and he has been given a strong load of minutes by the Capitals coaching staff.
DRAFTING AND DEVELOPING IS PAYING OFF FOR THE CAPITALS
Vrana, Stephenson, Bowey, and Djoos have all been drafted and developed by the Capitals. While their developments have taken some time, there is still plenty of room for each player to grow their respective professional games.
These young Capitals have shown that they can contribute and produce at the NHL level. The Capitals have done a wonderful job grooming these players in their system over the last number of seasons, and the patience of the club has paid off. Drafting and developing players is the key to long-term success for any professional sports franchise.
By: George Foussekis