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Capitals Rookie Camp: Iorio A Brick Wall, Suzdalev’s Hands & More From Day 1



Washington Capitals Vincent Iorio and Hendrix Lapierre

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio are going up 1-on-1 in drills to open Washington Capitals rookie camp. The two close friends keep things light off the ice, but that was left behind once the whistle blows. Iorio ends up chasing Lapierre down and slamming him into the boards, eliminating his scoring chance. A quick pat on the head and all was forgiven as they made their way back in line to go again.

That wasn’t the only time Iorio was physical on Friday. In fact, that hard-hitting mentality lasted, and he was relentless as he and several others stood out to open Day 1 of the mini-camp ahead of next week’s training camp for the 2022-23 NHL season.

The day started with a small session for the goalies, as Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund took the ice for some work. After that, the rest of the rookies hit the ice and got to work.

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Moving forward, the day consisted of 1-on-1 and 2-on-1 drills, as well as a mini-game in the neutral zone and shooting work. Among all defensive invites, Iorio perhaps stood out the most on Day 1. Iorio went through his opponents and didn’t let up, using his 6-3, 200-pound frame to his advantage. He also tracked the puck well, played with confidence and displayed good gap control and skating. His first pass out of the zone was also impressive, along with his wicked shot.

Only five defensemen are at camp. On Day 1, Iorio made the biggest statement, followed by Simon Motew, an undrafted free agent who showed he can play a shutdown game.

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As for the forwards, Lapierre again set himself apart, and it came down to his strength on the puck and skating. He was moving his feet, making the right reads and also taking good care of the puck.

When it comes to hands, though, Alexander Suzdalev made his mark. He was making great plays, from spin moves to dekes to quick passes. He used his high hockey IQ to his advantage several situations, and it’s no wonder that he does well with Connor Bedard; he’s an excellent communicator who can think on the fly and doesn’t shy away from being crafty with the puck.

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In addition to Suzdalev, fellow 2022 third-rounder Ludwig Persson also showcased his skill and made some great offensive zone plays. He has a great shot and good vision, and his bardown goal early on was among the highlights from Day 1.

Here are other notes and takeaways from the opening day:

  • Haakon Hanelt looks fast out there. He’s coming off an impressing performance at World Juniors and a strong development camp earlier in the summer. Barring any more injuries, expect a strong Year 2 from him in the QMJHL.
  • Peter Laviolette III has worked on his skating and hands and fit right in with the rookies as he returns to camp.
  • Jake Karabela showed some growth as he prepares for a strong post-draft year.
  • Bjorklund has upgraded to a Capitals mask and some D.C.-themed gear.