Busy Day

Yeah, it’s the middle of summer and not much would seem to be going on hockey-wise, but actually there’s a helluva lot going on hockey-wise.

The 2007-08 NHL schedule comes out today, and Washington will also release its seven-game preseason schedule for this September. Rookie camp started in earnest here this morning, and the Caps announced today that they’ve signed another of their many prominent youngsters. This time, it’s Russian goaltender Simeon Varlamov who has signed an entry-level contract with the Capitals. Varlamov was Washington’s second choice (first round, 22nd overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The pact includes a provision that would send Varlamov back to Russia (rather than a North American minor league club) for the 2007-08 season if he does not make Washington’s opening night roster.

The Capitals have now signed each of their top three choices (forward Nicklas Backstrom and goaltenders Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth) from the 2006 draft and the team has inked 17 of the 36 players it has drafted from 2003-06.

If you’re in the area, be sure to come out to Kettler Capitals Iceplex here in Arlington over the next few days. The 42 youngsters in town for the team’s developmental camp are split into two groups. One group hits the ice from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thu.-Sat. and the other goes on the ice from 10-11 the same days. The two groups will face off in daily scrimmages from 4:30-6:00 p.m. daily Wed.-Sat.

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9 Comments on “Busy Day”

  1. TJ Says:

    Was the provision to send him back to Russia something he requested or something the Caps requested?

    We need to get one of our goalie prospects in Hershey, having Casivvi playing a majority of the games does nothing for our goalies development.

  2. dumpnchase Says:

    TJ,
    The Russian Super League is no slouch when it comes to developing goaltenders. Varlamov would be far better off playing there than in the AHL at the tender age of 19. And Neuvirth is likely going to be better off in the OHL than the AHL at the same age. Nothing wrong with having a proven AHL goaltender like Cassivi in Hershey, especially when you’ve got a lot of young defensemen. Hershey is not the only place to grow goaltenders.

  3. Vlad Says:

    If Varlamov has a great showing at the camp, how seriously would the Caps consider having him backup Kolzig this season, in your opinion? Would this be a good thing for his development (as opposed to playing full-time in the RSL), and what would they do with Johnson, in this case?
    Thanks.

  4. Tomppav Says:

    According to Tarik Varlamov doesn’t have a contract with Russian team. I read reports earlier this summer saying he had re-signed for a one-year deal. Who’s talking the truth?

  5. TJ Says:

    I agree Mike, it takes awhile for goalie prospects to develop. I just would like to have one of our goalies in hershey. Maybe machesney can go there.

  6. dumpnchase Says:

    Vlad,
    If Varlamov proves himself NHL worthy at this age, the team will find a awy to accomodate him on the roster. I would guess that Kolzig’s backup would see 25-30 starts a season, plus facing the likes of Ovechkin and Semin every day in practice. That’s a pretty good way to develop, IMO. That said, I think the odds are long.

    Tomppav,
    I don’t know anything about a deal Varlamov may or may not have with a Russian team one way or another. I only know that he has a deal with the Caps.

    TJ,
    Pretty sure Machesney will be in Hershey, but we’ll see. He’s a good kid and I’m interested to see his progression over the next few seasons.

  7. KP Says:

    Not to nitpick, even though it will seem that way, but wasn’t Varlamov chosen 23rd overall in the 2006 draft? Also, what does this do to the goaltending situations in Hershey and SC? Will Machesny or Mrazek make it to the AHL, leaving the other behind s the starter in SC?

  8. Smitty Says:

    Goalies take a lot longer to develop than forwards or even blueliners, who take a good long while to mature. He was picked high, deserved it, and was a good choice by McPhee, but the kid needs work as do just about all high-promise goalies his age.

    He’ll be up against some fearsome stuff in the Superleague to be sure and I personally don’t have a problem with him spending another year over there, but I do think that he’ll need to play a while in the minors here to adjust to North American hockey.

  9. dumpnchase Says:

    KP,
    You’re probably right about SV being 23rd overall. I’m getting too old to go on memory and should probably look it up before I write, so thanks for the catch. Too early to tell what this does to the goaltending situation at Hershey, but it could mean Machesney is there as Cassivi’s backup. Mrazek has not signed yet, and I’m guessing he’ll be back at Union College this season.

    Smitty,
    You’re spot on. Even after a year or two in the RSL, he is likely to have a long, long road to the NHL and and even longer path to being a starter … if he makes it that far. Many early draft choices are washouts (Eric Fichaud, Brian Finley, Max Ouellet and many others) and others are drafted late or not at all but prosper (Belfour, Hasek, Khabibulin and many others). We’ll know in a few years.


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