On Wednesday the Washington Capitals announced their roster for this year’s rookie camp, which is set to begin on Thursday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. One name that made the roster may not be that familiar to most Capitals fans, but there’s a good chance that by the end of September they will be.
Simon Motew met momentary disappointment following the conclusion of this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The right-handed defenseman’s name was never called. However, the disappointment didn’t last long, as his phone immediately began to ring from team’s calling trying to fill their development camp rosters. The Capitals placed their call to Motew and he was in Washington a day later for the team’s development camp.
According to The Record, Washington has been high on Motew since the winter.
“They just kept in contact and showed they really wanted me there and it was great,” said the 19-year-old, who attended Nashville’s development camp last year. “I just really tried to make a name for myself while I was there and show that I deserved to be drafted. I thought I fit in really well.”
Motew indeed fit in and impressed Capitals coaches at the development camp. So much so he was invited to take part in the team’s rookie camp this week and main camp later this month.
According to Elite Prospects, Motew has a number of high-end skills:
“His hands and skating are very clean. Hip pocket handling, exploding into gaps, transitioning constantly. Motew defends 1-on-1 situations relatively well, especially off the rush where he matches the speed of attackers and forces them to dump the puck before the blue line.”
However, It may be Motew’s recent offensive outburst that caught the eye of the Capitals scouting department. Looser pandemic restrictions in the U.S. allowed Motew to play 21 games for the Chicago Cougars in the United States Premier Hockey League in 2021. Motew recorded 16 goals and 29 assists in those 21 games. Impressive numbers for a defenseman.
We’ve seen players go undrafted simply due to draft timelines not aligning with a players natural development – a “late bloomer” if you will. We saw this most recently with Clay Stevenson. A late uptick in his development made him a highly sought-after undrafted free agent earlier this spring. The Capitals were fortunate to win his interest.
The pandemic could be another factor, as it made playing time for players scarce and NHL scouting a challenge. So much so, we could begin to see a few players emerge on NHL rosters who simply slipped through the draft cracks because of the pandemic. Simon Motew could be one of those players.
The Chicago native chuckled when asked if he’ll suit up in the stall next to NHL superstar Alexander Ovechkin.
“I don’t think I’ll be speaking with him,” he told The Record back in July. “He’s too big time for me. But it will be cool to see him. I’ve watched him in the NHL since I was about five years old.”
Capitals rookie camp begins on Thursday with off-ice activities. The players will hit the ice and begin meeting with the media on Friday.
By Jon Sorensen
Capitals Release Roster And Schedule For 2022 Rookie Camp