Yeah yeah we know what you’re thinking about this spotlight “but he plays for the Caps.” Well that is true- but what is also true is that Jakub is on an entry-level contract from when he was drafted in 2014. If you do the math you would think his contract were up already, the reason it isn’t is something called an entry-level slide.
This term refers to what happens to an ELC when a player has not played at least 10 games in the NHL in a season. The contract will then “slide” each season until this occurs. Jakub did not do that until the 2016-17 season which means his contract is good through the 2018-19 season. If the Caps do not ink a new deal before his contract expires he will become a restricted free agent and will also be ineligible for arbitration for another two seasons.
You all know how incredible Jakub Vrana is- from his play on the ice to his partying in the streets of DC. But just how good is he? And where did he come from?
Jakub was born in the Czech Republic in 1996 (22 years old) where he played for the majority of his early career prior to being drafted. He also put in a few years in the Swedish League from 2012-2014 with Linkopings HC where he earned the titles “Most Goals by a Junior” and “Most Points by a Junior” in his final season. He came to Hershey late in the 2014-15 season and played only three regular season games and 10 Calder Cup games. In those 10 games he scored two goals and four assists; impressive for a player straight off the plane from the Playoffs in Sweden. Jakub only lasted in Hershey for one full season (2015-16) before being snagged by the Capitals. In that season he made every single one of his 36 games played that season count (16 Goals, 18 Assists).
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Jakub Vrana. We told everyone we knew from the beginning that this kid was something special and that he as going to break out… and break out he did. His AHL totals are at 88 games, 35 goals, and 40 assists. He has played 94 games in the NHL regular season and has 33 points in the regular season, but has also played 23 Stanley Cup Games and scored a total of three goals and eight assists in the quest for this years Stanley Cup… which they WON!!!! Sorry not sorry for the #ALLCAPS…
Needless to say Jakub’s game is continuously developing and his moves are as slick as they come. Jakub reminds us A LOT of a young Ovechkin and we see his speed and sneaky shots taking him far in this league. We hope Vrana has the stamina to make it many years in the NHL and we get to see him flourish with the Capitals for seasons to come.
Today’s Hershey Player Spotlight turns to Travis Boyd, a 24 year old (25 in September) centerman who has more than earned his spot in the lineup. Apparently GMBM thinks so too after yesterdays two-year contract extension- Congrats to you Travis!!
Travis comes from a full four years in the University of Minnesota program which also produced the likes of Nate Schmidt (they were roommates), Erik Haula, Phil Kessel, and Kyle Okposo. As you can tell the pedigree of players from the university really speaks for itself.
In 2011 prior to playing college hockey Travis was drafted in the 2011 NHL Draft in the sixth round 177th overall. At the time he was playing in the USHL for the US National team and was scoring an average of 5-8 goals per season accompanied by 10-13 assists. Low numbers by NHL standards but it was a start. Travis’ numbers continued to rise the longer he played for Minnesota, beginning with one goal in his freshmen year all the way up to 19 in his senior year.
Though he only played two games for the Bears in the 2014-15 season he managed a goal and an assist. The upward trend continued for Boyd in 2015-16 season scoring 21 goals and 32 assists, showing that he has excellent passing skills and knows how the get it to the net, while being a team player. Boyd reminds us a lot of Nicklas Backstrom in this respect. Although Boyd’s numbers seem to be sliding ever so slightly in regards to goals, his assists are still sky rocketing with 47 in the 2016-17 season and 32 the following year.
Travis has now had the opportunity to play a few games in the NHL recording his first point in March of this year and playing one game in the Stanley Cup Finals 2018.
All this to say that Boyd is the kind of guy you want to have on your line every night and in the locker room. We have had so many great experiences with Travis in Hershey, he is always willing to sign for fans and take a picture too.
The Capitals concluded this year’s development camp with a high-paced game in which some players really stood out. Kettler Capitals Ice Plex was packed for the game, although some fans braved the heat for a chance with the Stanley Cup – more from our team later.
The group was divided into Team Red and Team White. Out of play today were Lucas Johansen and Kristofers Bindulis.
The goalies were also split between the two teams with Mitchell Gibson, Peyton Jones, and Frank Marotte in the net for White while Ilya Samsanov and Logan Thompson protecting the net for Team Red.
Scrimmages are short bursts of play and the prospects have a limited time to show their skills to coaches as management. Watching from rafters were the new Caps coach Todd Reirden, Olie Kolzig (professional development coach and former goalie goalie mentor), Blaine Forsythe, Mitch Korn, as well as GM Brian MacLellen. Not that that added any pressure to the guys hoping to get to the show soon.
The game was full of lots (we mean LOTS) of hits between the guys. And some decent scoring too!!!
Goal makers today included:
Eric Florchuk (Red)
Mark Simpson (White)
Sebastian Walfridsson (White)
Shane Gerish (Red)
Chase Priskie (White)
Final score 4 – 2 Team White!
We had a few favorite standouts today and we will dive deeper into their play and potential in a few features later this summer. For now, let’s take a look at some of them:
Connor Hobbsis our number one player from camp and the scrimmage. He is everywhere on the ice, reading where the puck goes and getting there quickly. Everyone we spoke with today mentioned him. And there is something different in his play. A definite level of confidence we haven’t seen in previous camps.
Cooper Zech, a defenseman who at 5’9″ and 161 pounds was a real powerhouse. We liked him from day one and he confines to impress us in the scrimmage.
Shane Gerish is the real deal. He has fast feet, good hands control, great in the corners, and lots of control. Oh and he can score too! He had a goal and an assist today. We can’t wait to see him at training camp!
Jonas Siegenthalerhad full control today. He has a new maturity in the ice. Today we saw a nice move forward and a backhand pass that looked effortless for him. Like Hobbs, he seems to have a new-found confidence in his performance.
Chase Priskie was outstanding- including that sweet goal late in the second period. There is something about his style we like. You know he is there, and yet he can skate under the radar and make a play like he did today. He is one to keep an eye on.
And we just have to mention Patrick Giles. He was one of the three youngest players at camp this year. He is a local guy and his family and fellow teammates came out today to watch him. It was fun seeing their excitement for their buddy! Giles wasn’t drafted but he was invited to camp. He will be off to Boston College and we hope we get to see him back at camp again.
We will cover more of the players, especially those heading to Hershey and those drafted by the Capitals. It can take a while for the dream to come true, but this crew has a lot of potential.
Next up for the Caps? Capitals Training Camp in September.
For a while it looked like it was the Ovi vrs Schmidt Show, as old friend Nate Schmidt did his best to keep Ovi off the score board. It worked pretty well for the first period which ended with a couple of pings off the post but no goal by either team.
The second period heated up with a couple of power plays, including one brought on by chief Golden Boy Marc-Andre Fleury:
Ovi finally shook off Schmidt and scored! It was a thing of beauty!
And then there was Kuznetsov, who the Knights tried to take out in game two, only to have him return to skate and score a jaw-dropping goal!!
What an incredible feeling to be there and see this what team can do when all the pieces fall in place. They now take the series lead 2-1.
Next game is Monday at 8pm. Fall Out Boy will be performing on the street before the game. Come down to watch in the street if you don’t have tickets inside. We will have more coverage inside and outside for you!
After today’s practice the boys were set to leave for Las Vegas in hopes of bringing home a two game series lead. But before they could leave on their five hour journey across the country Caps fans had to give them a proper send-off and that is exactly what we did. Two hours and a very red photographer later we ended up with some great photos of the boys that we KNOW you will love. So without further adieu;
Early risers got a quick but vocal practice from the Washington Capitals. With game time at 5pm, practice was set for 9am at Kettler. Goalies out around 840am Kuzy, Orlov & Vrana all out early too.
Smiles were abundant along with lots of communication work when digging the puck out of their own end behind the goal. Some shaved their mustaches (Tom Wilson), others kept theirs.
Face-off practice between Beagle & Smith-Pelly got intense & Ovi did push ups while skating before practice.. (show off)
and tonight’s starting goaltender will be Phillip Grubauer…who has yet to get a win, #winitforgrubi Grubi’s dad was in attendance for practice and Phillip’s birthday is tomorrow.. maybe some magic in the air for Grubi tonight!
Fans got pictures and autographs from some of the Caps today too! Aaron Ness & Nathan Walker both stopped after practice in full gear to sign and take pictures with their fans, Jay Beagle & Braden Holtby stopped for fans outside of kettler on their way to their cars.. with it being a holiday for most there was a good sized crowd waiting for their favorite player.
Caps canine calendars are available for purchase starting today, they are for sale a Kettler &Capital One Arena. Caps players are taking to social media to advertise how the calendars benefits Homeward Trails shelter. I got mine today & it’s really a great calendar with awesome pictures of your favorite Caps players, some with their own dogs and others with dogs available for adoption. Go get your today Caps fans!!
This game was a little dull at points, making Caps fans wonder if this would be a night of celebration or another disappointment. As you know by now the Caps pulled out a 3-0 victory over the Canucks and Braden Holtby played a huge part in that. He was Stellar in net and looked more solid than in his past few appearances. Goals came from the likes of Ovechkin, Williams, and Wilson. Holtby earned his 25th NHL shutout,