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Capitals Dev. Camp: Iorio Leads Intense 1-on-1 Battles & More From Day 2

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Capitals camp

ARLINGTON, V.A. — On Tuesday morning, the Washington Capitals prospects weren’t on the ice for too long — just under an hour, to be exact — as their day started with mainly off-ice activities. Then, when the clock hit 3 p.m., the group of 34 split into two and got to work on both rinks at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on yet another rigorous day.

On one side, there was puck work. With Brooks Orpik and other coaches leading the way, the Capitals worked on rushes, transitions and 1-on-1 battles. And a couple of players stood out big time.

Vincent Iorio was perhaps the most notable out there. The 6-3, 200-pound defenseman was poised, kept up easily with the play and didn’t shy away from the rush. Then, he took things to the max and brought the boom in battles. He delivered a huge check on Nicholas Zabaneh that rattled the boards and caught the attention of many. Both exchanged a pat on the back afterward.

In fact, in these drills, there was no holding back. It appeared that players weren’t afraid to get aggressive and battle against each other. Not only did Iorio lay a big hit, but Ryan Chesley also had a strong takedown while protecting the net in front.

On the forward side, Haakon Hanelt, a 2021 fifth-rounder and only forward Washington took in that draft class, maintained good puck control and speed and worked to use his 6-1 frame to his advantage.

This is Hanelt’s first development camp and his first time on the ice for an extended period of time in D.C. While he was at 2021 rookie camp and training camp, he didn’t take part in on-ice activities for rookie camp. He did briefly take the ice at training camp, but the Capitals assigned to the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques on Sept. 28. The German center is also coming off shoulder surgery that sidelined him for a majority of the season.

Ludwig Persson, the 80th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, also looked strong in the 1-on-1 drills. He maintained good control and still got a good shot — and goal — off under pressure. Goaltender Clay Stevenson also came up with quite a few big saves between the pipes.

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Meanwhile, on the other rink, Wendy Marco led more skating drills, where players continued to work on edge work, balance, timing and control. Players used agility ladders on the ice, going through drills reminiscent of football practice, while also balancing on pucks, skating to the beat of the metronome and much more.

Hendrix Lapierre, of course, was a standout as he continues to impress over the course of camp, and defenseman Martin Has also looked confident on his blades. Jake Karabela had a strong showing through the tests, to boot.

The action didn’t stop there as both groups took a breather before switching sides.

Earlier in the day, the prospects also broke into separate groups by position, with forwards working on one side and defensemen on the other. There, they were able to focus on different aspects of their game and prioritize their position.

“Quick passes on and off the tape. No dusting the puck, and we were working on that today actually as a D-corp,” Iorio described. “Little things like that.”

Wednesday, which also marks the start of NHL Free Agency, will be the busiest day yet. Goalies will take the ice at 9:30 a.m. on one rink. On the other, skaters will take part in on-ice testing at the same time. Then, from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., there will be a 3-on-3 tournament, and later in the day, the Capitals prospects will tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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