So Many Hershey Bears in Virginia

The Capitals players are showing up little by little in Ballston, Virginia for an unofficial conditioning camp. Added to the pack are a few fellas from Hershey to show off their Bear talent. Continue reading “So Many Hershey Bears in Virginia”

Hershey Bears Spotlight: Lucas Johansen

We know the first thing that comes to mind when you hear his name. “Is he related?” Well the answer is yes. Lucas Johansen is the younger brother of Ryan Johansen; centerman for the Nashville Predators. Although Lucas is not yet at the level of his older brother he has a lot of positive qualities. For one his speed is something to see, he was one of the fastest on his skates this season for the Bears. Second he always seems to weave in and out of tight spots where some of the bigger guys aren’t able to get.

It has now been two years since Lucas was drafted by the Caps in the first round. So where is he?

We really didn’t get much of a chance to see Lucas in action during this Caps development camp due to an injury but what we did see of him was someone who is growing but not quite there yet. We are hoping we get to see more of him this year in Hershey to see his game develop into something great that the Caps can use.

In his first season in Hershey, Lucas scored six goals and 21 assists and finished the season with a -13 rating. The points total, combined with a negative rating, leaves something to be desired. But we will chalk it up to first year jitters, and will wait to truly analyze him until after this season and seeing him in action in Hershey. We don’t think he is quite NHL ready yet.

Let us know your thoughts about Lucas and what you would like to see from him this year below in the comments.

Capitals and Their Fans: Photo Review of Season

Throughout the summer of 2016 and the entire 2016/17 season, Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy captured Caps fans and season ticket holders around the area. They also caught the Capitals doing their best on the ice and interacting with the fans and the Washington DC community. Here are some of their favorite photos. ENJOY!img_7681

Continue reading “Capitals and Their Fans: Photo Review of Season”

Caps Prospect Jakub Varana: Ready for the NHL?

 

The Washington Capitals are looking at prospect options as they consider which players to sign to new contracts and which players to release. Jakub Vrana was called up for the first time at the end of November and played his first game in a red sweater December 1 against the NY Islanders. Although he didn’t score that game, he did manage to get off four good shots. Vrana would eventually play 21 games and recorded three goals and three assists; one each on a power play opportunity. He played his last game in a Caps jersey on March 16.12-07-10

Varana got his start playing hockey in the Czech Republic, becoming part of the Sweden’s Linkoping’s team in the 2011 season. He would continue to play in the Czech World Junior hockey tournaments until he was picked by the Capitals in the first round of the draft in 2014. By April 2015 he was replanted to Hershey, Pennsylvania to play for the AHL Bears.

As a Bear, the left winger has proven himself in his first two full seasons (2015 and 2016) with 34 and 36 points respectively. This season he played only 49 games with the Bears because of the time spent with the Caps. Even with the shortened games played, he still ranked eighth on the team in points and fourth in goals scored, Coach Troy Mann commented at the end of the season that Vrana’s play was somewhat inconsistent, in large part because he went back and forth between Hershey and DC. He believes that with more consistency, his game will improve. It wasn’t clear though if that would be in DC or back in Hershey.DSC_0018

It has been widely reported that Vrana is on track to become part of the third or fourth line with the Capitals this summer. He would most likely fill the gap left should the Caps not sign Justin Williams. We question if Vrana is ready for the big show yet. We know that he has the potential to become part of the next generation of “young guns” for the Capitals, although that time may not be this season. The last thing the Caps need to do is add a player to the mix who isn’t prepared for the challenge and rigor of the NHL. At 21, Vrana has time to grow into the player we can come to see great things from.

With development camp around the corner we will have a chance to see Jakub up close and compare him to other prospects in the run for a spot with a red jersey. We’ll look more closely at players like:

Lucas Johansen, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler