Capitals Goaltender Antoine Keller Is Ready For Move To North America And Challenges Ahead

Screen cap: Washington Capitals

It looked as though the Washington Capitals wouldn’t make a single trade as the 2023 NHL draft began to wrap-up in Nashville. But late in the seventh and final round, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan finally made a deal, trading their seventh round pick in next year’s draft to the San Jose Sharks’ for their seventh round pick in this years draft. The Capitals used the additional pick to select Antoine Keller, goaltender for Geneve-Servette in the Swiss League.

Since he was drafted by the Capitals, everything has gone very quickly for Keller. The next day, the goalkeeper of the France U20 team took a plane from Geneva to the capital of the United States, heading for the development camp beginning on July 1.

“It’s where there are all the young players drafted and some players invited by the team. It’s really to know the staff, the infrastructure, the operation, ”explained Keller. “I went to Washington all expenses paid for a week to play hockey, it was great.”

Returning to his home in France just last week, Keller is leaving again this week to prepare for the new season with the Titan Acadie-Bathurst in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

“North American hockey is very different, already the rinks are smaller. For a goalkeeper, it changes a lot of things in terms of position and different games. I think Washington is really going to look at that this year, how I adapt to those rinks. I already talked about it with the goalie coach over there ( Scott Murray ). I like playing in small ice rinks, I had the opportunity to play there during the world championship in Norway and I really liked it.”

Keller, just 18, is added to the bottom of the Capitals fairly deep goaltending depth chart, but he is confident he can eventually work his way up through the system.

“I’m quite confident. I did the season with the pros in Geneva, all training and quite a few matches as a substitute. I followed them throughout the playoffs so I was able to see what professional coaching was like and for sure this experience will be of great help to me in Canada.”

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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8 Responses to Capitals Goaltender Antoine Keller Is Ready For Move To North America And Challenges Ahead

  1. Anonymous says:

    Could very much be a back up for us or another team

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Caps definitely saw something they liked to make late trade for them. They typically know what they are doing when it comes to finding goaltenders.

      • Prevent Defense says:

        Concur, Caps have been a Talented Goalie Factory for many years. That’s why it irritates that Vitek and Sammi were cashiered by HCLAVI … who is now gonzo. The Frenchman is very cerebral, intelligent, well-spoken. Good Size 6-2. Hope he gets his chance in Hershey soon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bergeron just retired. Commentary?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let the kid cook, seems like there is potential there. We do have a lot of possibilities in the pipeline. It is going to be really weird when the Ovie era is over though.

    • hockeydruid says:

      It may be different not seeing #8 on the ice however it will actually be nice to start to play meaningful games, get younger players and pursue the Cup rather than a record.

  4. hockeydruid says:

    Can never have enough goalies in your system.

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