‘Make a noise and impose a situation in which you have to stay’

Washington Capitals have made it clear for some time now that young players are not secure in their positions. General Manager Brian McClellan He said a lot in his closing book of free agency in July.

“It’s a competitive situation,” McClellan said at the time. “I don’t think we are coming to ensure that youngsters are in the squad. I think, you know, you have to earn it to a certain degree.”

Coach Peter Laviolette On the first day of the training camp, Thursday, he was asked about the youth’s participation in his team this season and about his message to them about the camp and preparing for the season.

“They come here to try and earn something,” Laviolette said. That was the message for everyone. Try and win the exhibition game. If you win a show game, you have a chance to show what you can do. Try and earn more ice time than where you were last year. Try and get a job in Washington, in Hershey, South Carolina. Try to earn yourself a place somewhere. This is a training camp year after year. You have a chance to do something, try to make the most of this opportunity so that you can show what you can do.”

Some of the young talents who would be expected to fight for the nominees lists include Conor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre, Alexi Protas, Brett Leeson, Axel Johnson-Vigalbe, Joe Snellie, Henrik Burgstrom and Lukas Johansen. All of these names, with the exception of UFA-signed Borgstrom, spent varying amounts of time in the NHL with last season’s caps. Six of them scored their first goals in the National Hockey League.

“Come here and try to make some noise,” Laviolette said of players like Lapierre and Brutas. “Forcing a situation where you played very well, you have to go on or you have to advance in the squad or you have to get more minutes. Whatever it is.”

The 2021-22 season saw many young players take advantage of some of the early injury problems the team is facing. Both Lapierre and McMichael appeared in their season a little earlier than many previously thought. A similar situation is facing the hats this pre-season with names like Niklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Karl Hagelin.

“Those are two big pieces, but I feel like some of the pieces we picked up this summer can help cover that,” Laviolette began. “I feel the growth and development of some of our young players can help with that. I feel the depth we showed and used last year with some players trying to compete for a job on our team, we can cover those positions with that as well.”

McMichael in particular managed to get a job out of camp last year and stick with it for the entire season. Although sometimes It was honestly statistically dominant at five out of fivestill finds it difficult to get regular ice time.

“I think there’s a natural progression,” Laviolette said. There is an evolution in maturity, physical growth and experience. All of these things are now, in my opinion, another year for good. Young players enter the league and that first year is usually not their best year. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying there is always growth. As you go from 19 to 20, from 20 to 23, and from 23 to 26. You get stronger and more physical, you’ll be experienced, you understand the league better, you understand the competition, you understand how to become a professional. All of these things are the growth of young players.

“McMichael is no different for us,” he continued. “We’re going to look at him in camp this year to earn more and want more. Training camp is here. Make some noise, earn something. That goes for Lapierre, that goes for Conor McMichael, that goes for Strom. Push yourself to the top of the list, earn more, want more.” .

The Capitals’ first pre-season game on September 25th at Capital One Arena against the Buffalo Sabers is where good impressions should be made.

Screenshot across capitals

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