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CAPITALS: Filip Forsberg Eager To Show Off At Development Camp
ARLINGTON – With a shake of the head and a curl of his upper lip, Filip Forsberg knew he missed an opportunity to make a lasting impression.
The first of the Washington Capitals’ two first-round draft picks, Forsberg tore up the ice on a breakaway and faked a shot to Brandon Anderson’s right, pulling the goaltender away from the left side of the net. His wrister was high, and it clanged off the crossbar and shot skyward, falling harmlessly in front of the end boards.
It was only a meaningless drill Wednesday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex – one portion of a two-hour practice on the third day of the team’s six-day development camp. It’s also an opportunity for players to show off for the coaching staff, and the 17-year-old left wing doesn’t want to return to his native Sweden this weekend without having played his best.
“It’s good to be here competing against all the other good guys and getting to know the staff and also the other players,” Forsberg said. “I’m really enjoying this week.”
In all, the Capitals invited approximately four dozen players to the camp – draftees, free agents, college players, and even some in on a tryout, skill-building basis.
It’s the only opportunity for the Capitals to see some of the players, including Forsberg, up close. He’s under contract to his Swedish team, Leksands IF, in the second-division HockeyAllsvenskan for one more year, which will cause him to miss training camp in September, and he’ll investigate the possibility of playing in the Capitals’ system during the next offseason.
The future for Washington’s other first-round pick, Tom Wilson, is nearly as ambiguous. A physical, 6-foot-4, 205-pound wing, the 18-year old will be at training camp, but he’s also likely to return to Plymouth, his Canadian junior league team, this season.
“I’d be happy to play [in Plymouth], and to stick around in Washington, it’s obviously a great spot, so it’s gonna be a plus for me, a positive either way,” Wilson said.
Ross Mahoney, the Capitals’ director of amateur scouting, said Forsberg “has the potential to be a top-six forward,” though he hesitated to agree completely with Forsberg’s assertion that his game is similar to that of Anaheim’s Corey Perry, the 2010-11 Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player.
“He has some of that,” Mahoney said. “He’s strong in the corners, he’s got very good hands. He’s good around the net, can score. He’s scored at every level he’s played at. I can see how he could draw comparisons of himself to Corey Perry.”
Whether Forsberg’s evaluation is true won’t be known for at least three years. Patience, then, is key, both for he and the Capitals.
“We’ve always been very patient with our young draft picks,” Mahoney said, referring specifically to the delayed debuts for fellow countrymen Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, whom Forsberg has not yet met. “They didn’t play ‘til they were 20 years old. … We’ll let them develop at a pace we think they should develop that, and there’s no need to rush that.”
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