Caps start training camp today

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Updated: September 12, 2013
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The Washington Capitals start their 2013-14 training camp today at Kettler Ice Complex.  The official Caps site released the training camp schedule.

Training camp will last 18 days with the NHL regular season beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 1. This marks the Capitals’ seventh training camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Metro-accessible, inside-the-Beltway practice facility that features two NHL-sized rinks. All on-ice sessions, like every Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, will be open to the public and free of charge.

Notable players that are not on the roster this season are D Jeff Schultz, F Matt Hendricks, and F Mike Ribeiro.  All departed via free agency.  The Capitals recently signed F Mikhail Grabovski, which the Caps are hoping will help replace offensive production from Mike Robeiro, who chose to sign in with the Coyotes.  Grabovski will not be present at the first day of camp today due to VISA issues.

Washington doesn’t appear to have a whole lot of roster battle opportunities.  19 year-old Tom Wilson will look to earn a spot on the roster, but given the amount of veterans in camp, that appears to be an uphill battle.   As for the first two lines, there doesn’t appear to be any battles at this point, barring injuries.  The Caps seem set with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Martin Erat or Brooks Laich, and Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer rounding out the top six forwards.

At goalie, the Caps will bring back the two young goalies that anchored the net last season, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.  It appears entering camp that the main starting job is Holtby’s to lose.

Defensively, three defensemen are pretty much locks:  John Carlson, Karl Alzner, and Mike Green.  After that, there are five polayers vying for three to four spots.  They are veterans John Erskine, Jack Hillen, Steve Oleksy,  and youngsters Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek.  THis will be interesting to watch.  Oleksy and Hillen provided decent, stable play late last season and could be front runners.  Erskine is a battle hardened, gritty type defenseman willing to mix it up on ice.  Orlov is the young darling of the bunch that with a good training camp, could dislodge one of the veterans.