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Capitals Development Camp: Who Stood Out & Who We Want To See More From

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Capitals prospect Haakon Hanelt

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals hockey returned to the DMV on Monday, as the team’s prospects took the ice for development camp. It was the first time that the team has a development camp since 2019. Considering it was the first camp back from a pandemic — and the first real development camp for several players — there was a lot to prove.

From rigorous skating drills to off-ice sessions to 1-on-1 drills to scrimmages, prospects had several opportunities for prospects to not only showcase their skills but also build on their game and see what it’s like from the pro level.

Here’s who impressed, who still has work to do & everything from a busy week at MedStar Capitals Iceplex:

Lapierre, Iorio Steal Show At Capitals Development Camp

Two of the top prospects in Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio took over camp. The two, who were taken with the Capitals’ first pick of their respective draft classes in 2020 and 2021, took on leadership roles for their fellow prospects. That meant not just being a locker room presence, but also leading the way in several drills.

Lapierre and Iorio were often first in line for the drills and also led their team in mini scrimmages. Both faced off against each other in the intrasquad scrimmage at Capital One Arena to close out camp on Friday, and both put up strong showings.

For Lapierre, this marked his long-awaited return to capital One, and he made the most of it. He stole the show with a nice stretch pass up ice for an assist on a breakaway goal and showed off his hands to score at the scrimmage to boot. The 20-year-old carried over that same success that led him to a 51-point campaign in the QMJHL with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Iorio moved the puck well, was physical and chippy and used his size to his advantage. The 6-3, 200-pound blueliner is coming off a career year in Brandon and is continuing to evolve as a puck-moving defenseman. He has a wicked shot — one even shattered a pane of glass at Capital One — and his skating has gotten significantly better and will serve well as he develops his game.

Capitals Prospects Who Stood Out

One name that looked strong that we truly got to see on the ice for the first time: Haakon Hanelt. The German center, who went in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft, was a full go after sitting out of on-ice activities during last year’s rookie camp and then only being on the ice for a day or two of 2021 training camp. So, this was really one of his big chances to show what he was made of, and he did just that.

Back in action after shoulder surgery sidelined him for a significant part of the 2021-22 campaign, Hanelt showed off great skating and hands at camp. He’s fast, smart and loves to drive to the net. The 6-0, 194-pound forward isn’t afraid to fight for position in front and create screens, and he has a high hockey IQ and makes good passes. He still has to work on play in his own end and backchecking, but he showed a lot of versatility and upside as he played both center and wing. Not only that, but he can play defense if called upon.

Martin Has, who is coming off a stellar year that saw him play top-pairing minutes for the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, also looked good. He showcased great skating and gap control and was also physical while reading the ice well and shutting down opportunities in his own end. The Czech blueliner also made a good first pass out of the zone, something that helped his Cataractes win the President’s Cup.

While Ivan Miroshnichenko didn’t take the ice, the Capitals did get to see quite a few of their 2022 selections take the ice, including Ryan Chesley and David Gucciardi. Both blueliners looked great on defense.

READ MORE ON WHN: Takeaways From Capitals Final Development Camp Scrimmage, Scoring Summary & More

Chesley showed why Washington moved up to No. 37 to take him. He has great hands and skating ability, and pulled off a couple of impressive moves while showcasing his speed, vision and strong two-way play. He is committed to being a “shut down” guy, but also has a lot of puck-moving ability.

Gucciardi also looked great on defense. He showcased his rocket of a point shot during camp, which ultimately led to a goal for him during the scrimmage. He was physical, laid the body, played with speed and had great defensive awareness.

Then, when it came to another seventh-round pick, Chase Clark led the goaltenders. The 6-6 netminder was a brick wall throughout camp, coming up with some huge stops and moving effectively in the net. He read plays well, tracked the puck, had good rebound control and knew how to control the tempo. He will play at Quinnipiac this season and without a doubt, will continue to take his game to the next level.

Other notable prospects: Oskar Magnusson, Bear Hughes, Ludwig Persson, Alexander Suzdalev, Dru Krebs

Same Names Make Statement

There were two guys at development camp whose names looked kind of familiar: Peter Laviolette and Brent Johnson, though only one is related to another key member of the organization.

Laviolette III proved that he was more than just the coach’s son at camp. The 24-year-old wore the “C” at Plymouth State and was a standout on the ice. Laviolette III used his 6-4 frame to his advantage and showcased great skating ability and vision. He scored two baseball-style goals at camp — one in mini scrimmages and one in-game action — that put him in the spotlight. The Division III alum showed that he can keep up with the league’s top prospects and didn’t look at all out of place.

RELATED: Laviolette III shows he is more than coach’s son at Capitals Development Camp

Johnson, meanwhile, is still showing a lot of upside following his No. 80 selection in 2021. He started his collegiate career at the University of North Dakota this past season, picking up two goals, an assist and eight blocks through 23 games. At camp, the 2021 third-rounder was physical and hard to beat on the ice. At 5-11, 161 pounds, Johnson doesn’t have the most size, but he’s not afraid to battle along the boards and play a physical game in his own end. He also takes good care of the puck and was able to make a great first pace up ice as well.

Capitals Prospects We Want To See More From

There were some names that Capitals fans want to see more from going forward. Benton Maass, who will join the AHL’s Hershey Bears on a one-year deal next year, showed off a strong shot and decent passing, but still has a lot to develop to become an effective full-time pro defenseman. The 6-2, 195-pound d-man can use his size more to his advantage and needs to work on his skating. He also needs to get more involved physically and add some strength, and it will pay off big time.

Henrik Rybinski, who joined Washington as a free agent and had 44 points in 79 WHL games this season, also needs to work on his skating and offense. He can do more to be efficient and aggressive on the forecheck, and he needs to show more confidence going forward.

Jake Karabela, who went in the fifth round of the 2022 NHL Draft, showed that he can be versatile and is good along the boards. However, like Rybinski, he needs to be more sure of his decisions in the offensive zone and not be afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. The Guelph center will also benefit from more work on his positioning.

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