Ross Mahoney Provides His Takeaways From 2023 Capitals Development Camp

Screen cap: Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals officially wrapped up their annual development camp on Wednesday. There were plenty of storylines and lots of positives during camp. It seemed a lot more competitive and physical than in years prior, likely due to the amount of high-end talent that participated.

Assistant general manager Ross Mahoney was very pleased with all of the players that participated. However, there were a few that stood out to the Capitals’ management. The most hyped name coming into camp was 2023 first-round pick Ryan Leonard. It’s safe to say that he lived up to the hype, especially with his shot.

“He showed why we were so pleased to get him. Strong. Explosive… his shot was on display here at this development camp we had. It’s not only accurate, not only does he have a quick release, but it’s such a heavy shot,” Mahoney said. “He is very competitive. He’s not afraid to take the puck to the net to score goals and those tougher areas.”

Another player that the Capitals were looking forward to seeing in action was Ivan Miroshnichenko. This was his first time participating in on-ice activities for Washington due to his cancer diagnosis. He is now cancer free and looked solid this week. His shot release was outstanding and he looked stronger.

Building strength was a point of emphasis in Mahoney’s press conference. 

“I’m really happy for him. Look where he was about 13 or 14 months ago,” Mahoney said. “He had cancer treatments and see where he is and then perform like he did this week as really good. He could shoot the puck and he also plays hard.”

The 19-year-old has a legitimate shot to play in the Capitals lineup at some point during the season. That is if he lives up to his hype in Hershey.

Alexander Suzdalev was another guy that stood out in camp. He really shined in the three-on-three tournament, going bar down a couple of times. Earlier in camp, the No. 70 overall selection said he also needed to get stronger heading into this season. He has the option to go back to the WHL, or report to Hershey. 

“He played really well. He started to get stronger. Obviously he came off a really good year with Regina last year. He had 86 points,” Mahoney said. “A lot of people thought it was because he was with [Connor] Bedard, but he actually didn’t play with Bedard a lot five-on-five. From watching him last camp and watching this camp, you can see he’s getting stronger and more confident.”

One player that does need to get bigger, and especially improve his skating, is second-round pick, Andrew Cristall. The Capitals signed the 18-year-old forward to a three-year, entry-level contract on Thursday.

“In talking with the strength coaches, they’re gonna give him a plan to work off the ice to improve his leg strength, which will probably help him with his overall speed,” Mahoney said. “He’s got really good edges and so you can really turn and change directions really quickly and he’s got a really good chance of pace. It’s just a matter of that top-end speed, but he’s very young too. I think building that leg straight will help him become even faster. You can see how agile he was in the three-on-three, in addition to the hands and the sense.”

The Capitals begin their rookie camp on Sept. 16 through Sep. 19 at Medstar Capitals Iceplex.

By Jacob Cheris

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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Ross Mahoney Provides His Takeaways From 2023 Capitals Development Camp

  1. Prevent Defense says:

    Good Morning Jon & Co! A proposition for NovaCapsFans statistical analysis staff:

    On the site there is strong disagreement and dispute between the “Roster-centered view” folks and any view that emphasizes coaching / leadership acumen and skill. I’m a Leadership-matters guy all the way — and I’m taking a beating on the site! But all these viewpoints are fair game for debate. Fair enough!

    I would like to see y’all take a stab at statistical examination of a familiar population (like the NHL Metropolitan Division!) with regard to Coaching. Perhaps “whole leadership” is a better measure, but that’s too many variables. How about this: ** Statistical analysis of “Expected wins for” or something similar for each Coaching Staff in the Caps’ METRO division **.

    It’s a long, hot summer — with lots of “down” and “fill-in” time while we wait for training camps to open! Stat analysis of coaching, with “expected” emphasized, is in order! Such analysis of candidate executives is standard procedure in the Corporate and Government world. Even the military does it. Many of us have participated, either on the evaluation side or the evaluated side!

    The finest collection of player talent – in any sport – will fail in the hands of an incompetent leadership staff. May the Best Staff win!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would be shocked if Miro got more that 2-3 games with Caps, more as an introduction to fans. He only played half a season last year and couldn’t stick at the KHL level, played in juniors. He’s still a teenager – don’t rush him Caps!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Very good point, I agree with. He returned from cancer recovery in December, and spent the majority of the season in Juniors. Also, if you check his game by game stats, his scoring dried up, even in juniors, which tells me he may have been a bit tired by season’s end. He needs at least a full year in Hershey, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a game or two in DC, just to introduce to fans, like Lapierre a couple of years back.

  3. Prevent Defense says:

    Speaking of leadership: AGM Ross Mahoney loudly gives credit and attaboys to his talent evaluation staff. In the above interview he praises Caps’ talent evaluators and scouts. I like it.

    • Prevent Defense says:

      Mahoney even refers to his junior coaching staffs, trainers and goalie coaches as “elite” [about 2:30 in the interview]

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Capitals prospect pool has come a fair distance in the last three years, but it still has a ways to go.

  5. novafyre says:

    “He has the option to go back to the WHL, or report to Hershey.”

    So, what do you all think, WHL or AHL this fall?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      MacLellan said they will decide in training camp. I think it will come down to if he can add a few pounds this summer. I know he’s been working hard in gym. If I had to bet, I’d say he’s in Hershey this fall.

    • Rich427 says:

      Fyre, I think he had a helluva year at the WHL level. Great points, a few Rookie of the month awards. Not sure he needs more time to develop there. I prefer for him to be in Hersey.

    • dwgie26 says:

      I hope to see him in the AHL for two reasons:
      1. I think he has accomplished what he needs to in WHL
      2. He is going to need a year or two in Hershey so why not accelerate that

      We are now getting a good cupboard of talent in Hershey that has trajectory to the NHL when Backstrom, Oshie, Mantha, and even OV move on. So we need to accelerate the Hershey development with grown men now so in 2 and 3 years we have those players in Washington.

Leave a Reply