Caps Sign 5 / Analysis of Scrimmage #2

July 15, 2010 | Ed Frankovic

Caps Sign 5

The Washington Capitals continue to show confidence in the players from their own organization and today they inked five skaters who helped the Hershey Bears win their second straight Calder Cup this spring in Andrew Gordon, Jay Beagle, Patrick McNeill, Andrew Joudrey, and Zach Miskovic. Below is the text from the official press release from the Caps outstanding PR department:

The Washington Capitals have signed right wing Andrew Gordon, center Andrew Joudrey and defensemen Patrick McNeill and Zach Miskovic to one-year contracts and center Jay Beagle to a two-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Gordon, 24, appeared in two games for the Capitals last season. The Halifax, Nova Scotia, native spent his third season with Hershey in the American Hockey League (AHL) where he scored 37 goals in 79 games. His 37 goals ranked second on the team and tied for second in the league, while his 71 points ranked third on the team. Gordon played in 17 playoff games, recording 20 points (13g-7a) to help the Bears win the Calder Cup championship. He was the Capitals’ seventh-round choice, 197th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. In his career, Gordon has 74 goals and 167 points in 217 games for the Bears.

Joudrey, who turns 26 today, spent his third full season with Hershey in 2009-10. He recorded 19 assists and 34 points in 78 games and two assists and three points in 21 playoff games to help the Bears win the Calder Cup. The 5’11”, 185-pound Joudrey has 54 assists and 89 points in 218 games with Hershey and eight assists and 10 points in 58 playoff games with the Bears, including two Calder Cup championships.

McNeill, 23, had 27 assists and 35 points in 62 games with Hershey last season, almost doubling his point total from the previous season. His 27 assists and 35 points ranked second on the team among defensemen behind John Carlson. The Strathroy, Ontario, native potted three goals and six points in 11 playoff games to help Hershey win the Calder Cup. McNeill was the Capitals’ fourth-round choice, 118th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He has played 156 games collecting 55 assists and 67 points in three seasons with the Bears.

Miskovic, who originally signed with Washington as a free agent in March 2009, recorded 20 assists and 26 points in his first professional season with Hershey. The 25-year-old Miskovic notched a goal and an assist in six playoff games for the Bears en route to the Calder Cup. Miskovic played four seasons at St. Lawrence University where he ended his collegiate career with 27 goals and 73 points. He had 16 goals his senior season leading all NCAA defensemen.

Beagle, 24, appeared in seven games for the Capitals last season and scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 23 at Ottawa. He played in 66 games for Hershey and potted 16 goals and 35 points. Beagle played in 21 Calder Cup games, notching seven assists and nine points as he helped lead Hershey to the Calder Cup championship. The Calgary, Alberta, native has played 10 career games for the Capitals netting one goal, one assist and four penalty minutes and played four Stanley Cup games with Washington during the 2008-09 season.

COMMENTS: I sure would like to see both Gordon and Beagle make a push to make the Caps out of training camp this season. Both are the type of players who will go to the net to score the more difficult, but crucial goals, something that Washington will need more of in the post season in 2011. Joudrey is a top pair penalty killing specialist for the Bears while McNeill really improved his offensive side of the game from the blue line in 2009-10.

Analysis of Caps Development Camp, Scrimmage #2

The Thursday morning crowd at Kettler IcePlex had the arena about 75% full for scrimmage #2 of Capitals Development Camp, but the hockey was just as intense as Wednesday afternoon’s tilt. Once again the game featured lots of goals, some sloppy play, and high energy. I didn’t see a whole lot to change my thoughts on many of the players from scrimmage #1 and it was clear to me that Evgeny Kuznetsov continues to stand out more than any other player through day 4 of this week long summer camp.

After Wednesday’s 4-4 tie, the White team jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first period thanks to some great plays by Northeastern junior Wade MacLeod and 2010 3rd round choice (86th overall) Stanislav Galiev combined with some shaky goaltending by Taylor Nelson. But South Carolina Stingray forward Jake Hauswirth scored the first of his two goals after a goal mouth scramble in front of Braden Holtby to make it 3-1 late in period one.

Then things got interesting in the middle stanza as Stefan Della Rovere, who showed nice speed to go with his seemingly relentless tenacity and fire, banged home a rebound of an Anton Gustafsson shot to make it 3-2. On the ensuing shift Kuznetsov bumped into Holtby as the man slated to start in net for Hershey in 2010-11 was out playing the puck. The biscuit went right into the slot for an easy goal for the Red squad to knot things at three. The young Russian showed his inexperience as he skated behind Holtby and appeared to taunt him prompting the 2008 4th round choice to hammer #48 with a two-hander to the left ankle (which was already bugging Kuznetsov). The 2010 first round draft choice fell to the ice and after appearing to be in some pain, he got up, went to the bench, and came out for his next shift.

The Red team would pull ahead but 2009 1st round choice, Marcus Johansson, scored on a nice one timer from the right wing circle early in the 3rd period. Little Gus would then beautifully set up Chris Forfar for a goal to give Red a 5-4 advantage but a defensive breakdown occurred with 2009 2nd round draft choice Dmitri Orlov on the ice to allow White to make it 5-5. A late power play for the White team failed but instead of the game staying a tie, the rules were changed on Thursday and a shootout ensued. Galiev scored on the only successful attempt to give the White club a 6-5 victory.

Overall, it was still the Kuznetsov show but Johansson was more noticeable for his team. I was encouraged by the improved and more physical play of Gustafsson and it will be interesting to see if he can finish the week strong and then make it through what appears to be a very competitive training camp. Cody Eakin, who finished his 2009-10 season, his first in the Capitals organization, with a Calder Cup title, had a much more impressive outing contributing offensively after looking rusty on Wednesday.

Dustin Stevenson was probably the defensemen who impressed me the most after playing a strong contest on Wednesday. He continues to move the puck well and play sound positionally. The 6′ 5″ 220 lbs d-man, who was praised by McPhee after the first scrimmage, was singled out by Caps Coach Bruce Bourdreau in his presser (see Caps365 for the video & audio). In goal, Holtby seemed to be rattled after his run in with Kuznetsov leaving Philipp Grubauer as the top netminder on Thursday. The 2010 Memorial Cup winning goalie for the Windsor Spitfires made some flashy glove saves eliciting some cheers from the Kettler crowd.

After MacLeod, another unsigned invitee that was impressive was #9 Patrick Cullen, a local DC product who is a sophomore at RPI. Cullen skates well and seems to have very good hockey sense. He did a good job of killing penalties (power plays replaced penalty shots on Thursday, for the most part) and he seemed to have a knack for the net in the offensive zone. Once again, if you check out Caps365, you will hear Boudreau praise both MacLeod and Cullen.

Notes: Day 5 of Development Camp will not feature a game (drills at 930am and 1115am). Camp concludes with a scrimmage on Saturday at 10 a.m., the highlight of Fan Fest that day will also include autograph sessions, interactive games, street hockey, a free public skate, the team’s annual equipment sale and an appearance from current Capitals forward Brooks Laich, so I suggest you get there early because it promises to be a mob scene.