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|HPT Training Camp Preview: Washington Capitals|
|Written by Erika Schnure|
|Wednesday, 14 September 2011 21:20|
DID YOU KNOW?
RW Troy Brouwer (17 goals, 19 assists, 36 points), RW Joel Ward (10-19-29), C Jeff Halpern (11-15-26), D Roman Hamrlik (5-29-34), G Tomas Vokoun (22-28-5, 2.55 GAA, .922 save pct.)
KEY DEPARTURESRW Eric Fehr (10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points), C Jason Arnott (17-14-31), C Boyd Gordon (3-6-9), LW Marco Sturm (5-11-16), D Scott Hannan (1-4-5), G Semyon Varlamov (11-9-5, 2.23 GAA, .924 save pct.)
KEY POSITION BATTLESecond-line center is a perennial concern for the Capitals. Last season Jason Arnott was brought in at the trade deadline to serve as the steady center for Alexander Semin. This season Brooks Laich, a natural center who has played most recently on the wing, is expected to return to center. Laich will be battling Marcus Johansson for the position. The Capitals also have several talented centers down the pipeline, with Mattias Sjogren and Cody Eakin also fighting for available center slots.
PLAYER ON THE VERGE OF A BREAKOUT SEASONMarcus Johansson started slow in his rookie season with the Capitals, but eventually scored 27 points centering the second and third lines. Johansson worked hard this offseason, and is coming to camp having put on a lot of muscle. His speed is his greatest asset, and he's likely to score a lot more this season.
PLAYER UNDER THE MOST PRESSURESemin is one of the most polarizing players among the Capitals fanbase. Recently, former teammates made some disparaging comments about him, and his occasional lack of focus can be frustrating for someone so innately talented. He is under contract through the end of the 2011-2012 season. If he doesn't show a better commitment to discipline, he may not see another offer from the Capitals.
PROSPECTS TO WATCHCody Eakin spent the latter half of his last junior hockey season with the Memorial Cup-contending Kootenay Ice, and the 20-year-old center is ready to turn pro. In all likelihood, he'll start the season with the AHL's Hershey Bears, but he's determined to make the Capitals roster. The 2009 third-rounder has phenomenal speed, and has only gotten stronger each year. Even if he doesn't make the big team, he'll probably be one of the first players called up should an injury occur.
HPT is counting down one team each day until the start of training camp. Tomorrow: Winnipeg Jets.
Photos by Getty Images