ARLINGTON, V.A. — After getting out of skate testing on Sunday, the Washington Capitals rookies took the ice earlier than expected, the laser gates working this time around. Players lined up to test their limits and times, not off the hook just yet.
In the skate tests, Bear Hughes was among those to impress. He has improved a lot in the speed department as he prepares to join the ranks of the AHL following a strong finish to his juniors career.
Hughes earned the “C” and was the “Players Player” with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs last season, leading the team with 24 goals and 43 assists for a career-high 67 points in 64 games in 2021-22. The Post Falls, Idaho native also added a fight to his resume this past year. His standout performance earned him a contract with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, where he’ll play this season.
And, looking at his camp, he’s already added several aspects to his game that will help him with the transition, including his skating, edge work, shooting and presence.
Another player who took center stage on Monday was Haakon Hanelt. The German forward showcased his quick hands and crash-the-net mentality. He needs to improve his speed, but he certainly showed why he was part of the World Juniors team in August.
READ MORE ON WHN: With Help Of Best Friends Lapierre & Iorio, Hanelt Finding Confidence With Washington Capitals
Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio, meanwhile, continue to set themselves apart by showing they are pro-ready, thanks to quick feet, high hockey IQs and leadership.
In addition, 2022 third-rounders Alexander Suzdalev and Ludwig Persson also made a statement. Suzdalev has been able to add more strength and is doing what he can to be more physical. He holds his own well and stands up in battles, and he can also work his way around the defense and get to the net thanks to his skill. Persson has also put his wicked shot on display, as well as his stellar passing ability and stickhandling.
Dru Krebs has also been a solid presence as well. He is throwing his weight around and showing strong defensive awareness to boot.
Here are some more takeaways from Day 4:
- Ethen Frank’s edge work and speed are impressive. He is coming off a strong year that saw him thrive at the NCAA level with 39 points in 38 games for Western Michigan before playing just five games with the Bears. Frank will certainly be a name to watch as a solid offensive defenseman with Hershey.
- Martin Has should also have a strong season depending on where he ends up suiting u. Looks great out there and more confident.
- Another name to watch: Ryan Hofer. The overager has set himself apart too and is putting in quite an effort on the ice.
- I wouldn’t be surprised to see Peter Laviolette III sign a minor-league deal at some point. He has truly shown a lot of growth in the skating department after working with Wendy Marco and is among the standouts here as well.
- Honorable mentions: Jake Karabela, Julian Napravnik.