When the Washington Capitals opened their annual Rookie Camp on Sunday, fans were given a glimpse of the future of the organization. Several of the club's top prospects, including Cody Eakin, Stanislav Galiev, Dmitry Orlov, and Mattias Sjögren, were in attendance.
That camp ended this afternoon with a game against the rookies from the Philadelphia Flyers organization. The meeting was the fifth straight time the two teams had faced off. The games have generally been dominated by the Caps, who up to this year boasted an incredible prospect pool with the likes of Marcus Johansson, John Carlson, Karl Alzner, and Braden Holtby leading the charge. The team was also hurt by the absence of top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who's season has already begun in the KHL. On the contrary, the Flyers, who recently have had a comparatively very weak pool, improved drastically this offseason with the acquisition of Brayden Schenn and drafting of Sean Couturier.
The teams headed into the game evenly matched, and it showed from the outset as they traded blows early on. The Capitals opened the scoring at the 10.40 mark of the first period, with free agent invite Garrett Ross snapping in a wristshot after a nice feed from Stanislav Galiev. Cody Eakin had the other assist. Ross has impressed so far in Rookie Camp, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Caps reward the 19-year-old Saginaw Spirit winger with an invitation back to Training Camp.
The Flyers dominated the second period, with Tyler Brown, Blake Kessel (brother of Toronto forward Phil), and Tomas Hyka scoring to turn the tide and make the score 3-1 in Philly's favour. The first two goals were given up by starter Philipp Grubauer, while Brandon Anderson was in net for the third. Anderson impressed in the game, showing some of the potential that made the Caps sign him as a Development Camp invitee last summer. That period included three much anticipated fights, with Dustin Stevenson squaring off with Campbell Elynuik, free agent invite Reid Edmondson taking on Derek Mathers, and Danick Pacquette battling with Tyler Hostetter. Pacquette, who was acquired along with a fourth round pick for current Winnipeg Jets forward Eric Fehr, has compared himself to the likes of Sean Avery and Matt Cooke in his playing style, and it was only a matter of time before he dropped the gloves.
Heart and soul forward Garrett Mitchell closed the deficit to one goal at the 4.09 mark of the third, with assists coming from Taylor Stefishen and Stevenson. It wouldn't be enough to eliminate the lead and defeat the Flyers.
Full Capitals Training Camp opens on Saturday the 17th at 9.15 am. Several of the Caps rookies will be back in action.