The 2021-22 season is finally kicking into gear. The Washington Capitals begin their formal preparations for the upcoming season with a development camp for many of teams prospects. The camp will begin this Saturday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and run through the start of the Capitals regular training camp, which begins Wednesday, September 22.
A total of 20 players (10 forwards, eight defensemen, two goaltenders) are scheduled to take part in this year’s rookie camp, including 13 Caps draft picks. Hershey Bears head coach Scott Allen and his coaching staff will oversee this year’s camp.
All on-ice sessions will be open to the public and free of charge. Fans attending Caps practices will be required to comply with all applicable regulations and recommendations issued by the Arlington County health authorities.
Fans will be required to wear masks for all Capitals practices at MedStar Capitals Iceplex regardless of vaccination status. In addition, per the current NHL and NHLPA protocols, players will not be permitted to participate in interactions with fans, including handshakes, photographs and autographs. For the latest information on Arlington County guidelines, visit https://www.arlingtonva.us/covid-19/.
The Capitals will officially open their 2021 Training Camp on Thursday, Sept. 23 at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. All Capitals players, coaches and management will be available to the media. Additional information on media availability and in-person access will be announced at a later date. Similar to previous years, MedStar Capitals Iceplex will be closed to the media on Wednesday, Sept. 22 – the day Capitals veterans conduct physicals and off-ice testing. The complete training camp schedule and roster will be announced at a later date.
Saturday, Sept. 18
1 p.m.: Goalies on ice (Capitals rink)
1:20 p.m.: All players on ice (Capitals rink)
Post-practice.: Media availability
Sunday, Sept. 19
10:10 a.m.: Goalies on ice (Capitals rink)
10:30 a.m.: All players on ice (Capitals rink)
Post-practice: Media availability
Monday, Sept. 20
1 p.m.: Goalies on ice (Capitals rink)
1:15 p.m.: All players on ice (Capitals rink)
Post-practice: Media availability
Tuesday, Sept. 21
Wednesday, Sept. 22
NHL players physicals/testing- no media availability
Thursday, Sept. 23
2021 Caps Media Day, MedStar Capitals Iceplex
*All practice times and media availability sessions are approximate and subject to change.
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Capitals Rookie Camp Notes
Roll Call – Three picks from the Capitals 2021 NHL Draft will attend this year’s rookie camp, which includes defenseman Vincent Iorio (55th overall), center Haakon Hanelt (151st overall) and defenseman Dru Krebs (176th overall).
Quick Studies – Connor McMichael made his NHL debut last season on Jan. 24 against the Buffalo Sabres. McMichael additionally led Hershey in goals (14) and points (27) in his first AHL season, appearing in all 33 of the Bears’ games in 2020-21. The 6’0″, 183-pound center tied for second in goals and sixth in points among AHL rookies and ranked first in game-winning goals (8) and tied for fourth in power play goals (6) among all AHL skaters. McMichael was named to the AHL North Division All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie Team, becoming the first Capitals prospect to receive the honor since John Carlson (2009-10). An additional five players in attendance for the 2021 Rookie Camp appeared in a game for Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, during the 2020-21 regular season (Kody Clark, Brett Leason, Aliaksei Protas, Hunter Shepard, Riley Sutter).
Eye Oreo – Vincent Iorio, the Capitals’ first selection (second round, 55th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft, will attend his first Rookie Camp with the organization. Iorio, 18, was ranked 27th among North American defensemen by NHL Central Scouting. The 6’3″, 191-pound defenseman registered 12 points (5g, 7a) in 22 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2020-21. The Coquitlam, British Columbia, native ranked third among Wheat King defensemen in points this season, and his 0.55 points per game was the highest of his three-year WHL career. During the 2017-18 season, Iorio won the WHL Cup gold medal with Brandon. Additionally, Iorio played two seasons with Shattuck St. Mary’s hockey program, which has included former players such as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise.
Model Behavior – During the 2020-21 season, Hendrix Lapierre was named one of the QMJHL’s Scholastic Players for the month of December 2020. Lapierre ranked eighth in the QMJHL in points per game (1.48) in 2020- 21, recording 31 points (8g, 23a) in 21 games with Chicoutimi. Lapierre, the Capitals’ first-round choice, 22nd overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft, led Chicoutimi in assists and ranked second on the team in points. The 6’0″, 178-pound forward recorded nine multi-point games, including a career high four points (2g, 2a) vs. Shawinigan on Oct. 2. Lapierre also recorded 12 points (5g, 7a) in nine playoff games. He was traded to the Acadie- Bathurst Titan from Chicoutimi on June 23.
Oh Canada – Both center Hendrix Lapierre and defenseman Vincent Iorio took part in Canada’s 2021-22 National Junior Team Summer Showcase. Iorio was one of just seven defensemen in attendance who was eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. Additionally, Connor McMichael took part in the World Junior Championship for Team Canada for the second year in a row, recording eight points (4g, 4a) in seven games, earning a silver medal.
Breakout Year – Aliaksei Protas played the second-most games during the 2020-21 season (74 games) among Capitals’ prospects, only trailing Capitals’ 2018 first round draft pick (31st overall) Alexander Alexeyev, who played in 77 total games. Protas began the 2020-21 season on loan to Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he recorded 18 points (10g, 8a) in 58 games before re-joining the Hershey Bears, where he finished with seven points (2g, 5a) in 16 games. Protas, a native of Belarus, played for his country in the Olympic Qualifying tournament, recording an assist in three games.
Free Agents – Seven players invited to the Rookie Camp were acquired via free agency, two of which signed with the Capitals as free agents (defenseman Bobby Nardella and goaltender Hunter Shepard). Of the seven free agents, four were never selected in the NHL Draft (Nardella, Shepard and Matt Maggio), but three were original draft picks of other NHL teams. Goaltender Ryan Bednard, who signed an AHL contract with Hershey on Aug. 13, was originally selected by the Florida Panthers in the 2015 NHL Draft in the seventh round, 206th overall. Defenseman Patrick Holway, who signed with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL on Aug. 23, was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2015 NHL Draft in the sixth round, 170th overall. Defenseman Jake Massie, who signed with the Stingrays on Aug. 19, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Draft in the sixth round, 156th overall.
Homegrown – The Washington Capitals were one of 19 teams in the NHL this season to have at least 13 drafted players on their roster (Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Connor McMichael, Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Garret Pilon, Brian Pinho, Ilya Samsonov, Jonas Siegenthaler, Vitek Vanecek, Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson). Capitals draftees accounted for 47.9% of the team’s goals, 50.6% of the team’s assists and 49.4% of the team’s points last season.
Age Differential – Haakon Hanelt (born June 1, 2003), drafted by Washington in the fifth round, 151st overall, in the 2021 NHL Draft, is the youngest player attending this year’s rookie camp. Hunter Shepard (born Nov 7, 1995), signed as a free agent to the Hershey Bears this summer, is the oldest.
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