The Washington Capitals drafted Andrew Cristall with the 40th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, acquiring a prospect that many had billed as a potential first-round pick in a deep draft class of talent.
Cristall, 18, recorded 95 Points (39 G, 56 A) in 54 Games Played with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2022-23 and signed his entry-level contract with the Caps at the conclusion of the team’s 2023 Development Camp.
“I think going down there [to the Caps’ practice facility in Arlington, Virginia] right after the draft was definitely a pretty cool experience”, Cristall said in a recent interview with WHL Communications, “I never really knew when it was going to come [signing his entry contract]…but I’m pretty grateful that they saw something in me to put a contract on the line and let me sign that. Kind of shows the trust in me and I’m ready to work…”
Cristall, who was one of a number of prospects to attend the team’s annual prospect camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, arrived in the DMV on July 4 and after his first taste of Washington, was particularly complimentary of his time with the organization earlier this summer.
“Going down there, meeting all the staff, and everybody surrounding the organization and the prospects, it’s first class, and I can’t wait to [get back] there.”
Although he is likely still some time away from making his NHL debut, the Capitals’ commitment to their prospects is key to the future of these young players. Assistant General Manager Ross Mahoney highlighted Cristall’s need to improve on gaining size and speed at the conclusion of Development Camp, and Cristall has already begun working on exactly that.
“There’s definitely been a lot of time in the gym and on the ice”, said Cristall, “Always on the ice, working on my power skating has been a big thing for me this summer.”
“Then again, doing skills work…I’m doing a little bit of everything right now.”
To hear Cristall’s full comments, see the video HERE