Capitals announce dates for development camp, cancel annual convention


Brian MacLellan (left), Barry Trotz and Dick Patrick have a busy summer schedule. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

The Washington Capitals have announced dates for their 2014 developmental camp, to be held from July 7-12 at their practice facility in Arlington, with an open scrimmage and Fan Fest activities scheduled for the final day.

The six-day event will, as usual, feature practices for the two squads of prospects and culminate in a scrimmage on Saturday, July 12, at 10 a.m. Everything is open to the public. A more detailed schedule and rosters are typically released in early July, once the NHL draft ends, free agency gets underway and developmental camp draws closer. According to a team release, an autograph session and equipment sale are also planned for the Fan Fest.

Coach Barry Trotz will help run and oversee developmental camp in his first season with the Capitals, though the status of his coaching staff remains up in the air. Since he was introduced in late May, Trotz has spent the past several weeks reaching out to players, coaches and other members of the organization, and recently traveled to British Columbia with his family, where they regularly vacation during summers.

Far more pressing than developmental camp, though, are the personnel matters and internal decisions to be made in the upcoming weeks. The Capitals need to find an assistant general manager to replace Brian MacLellan, who was promoted to general manager after Washington declined to renew George McPhee’s contract. They have to decide whether to use their second and final compliance buyout, though assistant GM Don Fishman told CSN that he doesn’t expect Washington to do so.

The head coaching position in Hershey also remains open, the NHL draft begins June 27 in Philadelphia — where trade rumors always buzz about — and free agency kicks off on July 1. Teams can begin interviewing potential candidates on June 25. Washington only has two unrestricted free agents and of them, the team is expected to pursue only center Mikhail Grabovski, who made $3 million last season and could command more on the open market. (There is also the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas later this month, where Alex Ovechkin will accept his second consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the NHL in goals. The star forward tweeted Tuesday that he will attend.)

According to a team spokesman, the team will also forgo its annual Capitals Convention this season, instead dedicating resources toward hosting the 2015 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The most likely venue for the outdoor game remains Nationals Park in Southeast D.C., though logistics still have to be worked through before the final announcement. The volume of work required for hosting caused the Caps to cancel their yearly fan event, which last season included panels, autograph sessions and a cooking event with defenseman Mike Green.

“This season we are thrilled to be hosting the 2015 Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2015, and have many exciting events and experiences planned around the event to help celebrate our fabulous fan base,” director of communications Sergey Kocharov said in a statement. “Due to this big event, we will be focusing all of our efforts on the Winter Classic and will not hold a Caps Convention.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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