Going Camping

Photo from KG’s District

Monday morning, the newly minted main sheet at Kettler Capitals Iceplex will welcome the 2012 edition of Washington Capitals Development Camp.  This annual summer showcase allows fans, media, and the Capitals brass to evaluate players that have spent the previous season playing in Major Junior, the NCAA, the USHL, or a foreign professional league.  You know the biggest names that will be at this year’s camp: Stan Galiev, Filip Forsberg, and Tom Wilson among others.  But below, I take a look at some of the unheralded players that will be on hand this week – and could eventually make an impact in Capital red.

Patrick Wey, D – Wey, who spent last season playing for the National Champion Boston College Eagles, is a big defenseman who was picked in the fourth round by the Capitals in 2009.  The 6’3”, 210-lb Pittsburgh native played in every game he was able to this past year for head coach Jerry York; he unfortunately missed time earlier in the season with a bad ankle injury.  Overall, he posted two goals and five assists in 32 games while registering a plus-17 rating.  Wey is farther down on the depth chart organizationally, but certainly has the talent and physical tools to one day make an impact at the NHL level. He has been named an alternate captain heading into his senior season at BC.

Thomas Di Pauli, C – One of four United States Development Program players selected by the Capitals in June’s Entry Draft, Di Pauli is one of the most interesting.  Born in Italy, he moved to the States with his mother to pursue his hockey dream in his middle school years.  Playing last year for the Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he played in 55 games and posted 11 goals and ten assists for the U-18 World Champions.  He profiles as a two-way center who is aggressive on his skates.  “Nobody works harder,” says his former coach Matt Greason of USA Hockey.  “Tommy is a warrior, he just plays extremely hard,” added Danton Cole, his current coach.  “He’s a talented kid, he’s probably one of the best faceoff guys that we’ve had come through.  Just very tenacious, the kind of kid that you win championships with.” Di Pauli is committed to the University of Notre Dame.

Cameron Schilling, D – Signed as a college free agent by the Capitals in late March, Schilling played his college hockey at Miami (OH) and played in 144 career games for the Redhawks, posting 57 total points in four seasons.  After Miami’s season ended, he went to Hershey and played out the end of the year with the Bears, where he was held pointless in seven games and posted a minus-three rating.  Overall, Schilling profiles as a steady defensive defenseman who is smart in coverage.  He isn’t a very good passer, but can shoot well and could evolve into a shutdown partner for a guy like Dmitry Orlov.  It is also important to note that George McPhee mentioned his development as one of the reasons that the team let Dennis Wideman go.

Connor Carrick, D – Another product of the National Team Development Program, Carrick is an offensive defenseman.  Last year in 57 games in Ann Arbor, he posted eight goals and 21 points as well as 46 penalty minutes; he had two goals and two assists in the U-18 World Championships.  “He’s got sick skill,” says former coach Greason.  “He always went first in our shootouts, and that’s saying something.”  An NCAA scout compares him to Dennis Wideman, but with a “bit more upside; Carrick likes to hit and be physical.”  “Really good feet, extremely strong, moves the puck real well,” said Cole.  Carrick recently altered his commitment to the University of Michigan for next season, and will instead play for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers to develop his game in Major Junior instead.  I doubt this will have a significant impact on his NHL ETA, but it seems in the early stages like the Capitals may have gotten a steal here.  He should be very fun to watch in camp.

Group A hits the ice for their first skate Monday at 9 AM. I will be at Kettler for all your needs.

Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here.