Washington Capitals: Fan Guide to 2015-2016 (Part 2)

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Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

On any professional sports team, there are inevitably going to be players that are right on the cusp of making it big. The Washington Capitals are no exception. The following are profiles of several players that we might see come in and out of the roster lineup this year, many likely playing the majority of their seasons in the minor league ranks.

All are likable guys and are easy to root for as they all have promising potential to be superb Capitals in the near and distant future.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Stephenson – #18

Position: Center

Chandler has been on a productive tear under AHL Hershey Bears coach Troy Mann lately. He’s impressed in camp and pre-season enough to make his debut with the big club and could be a bright spot on the roster for years to come. Eventually, we think he’ll play with prospects Riley Barber and Jakub Vrana who are both waiting for their turn to play under the bright lights. The Caps noticed Chandler and he’s currently their fourth line center.

I’ve been really impressed by his hustle and vision, especially during the Estero Rookie Tournament in September. He looked like an integral part of our future offense, so any time for him to develop further is crucial. I love rooting for guys like Chandler.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Latta – #46

Position: Center

Michael Latta came to us as a footnote to one of the most painful trades the Capitals have executed in recent memory, but that’s hardly a reason not to like him. He’s gritty and fresh back from a lower body injury in pre-season. If I’m being brutally honest, I’m not really sold on Latta’s role with the team other than to say that he’s a reliable enforcer and young depth at Center.

What I’d like to see from Latta is really anything that changes that simple opinion. I think Tom Wilson will be egged to pick fewer fights this season, which would leave Latta to pick up the slack, if and when it arises. On the other hand, I would love to see what a year of development under Hershey coach Troy Mann would develop in Michael’s game. Don’t get me wrong: enforcers are important, but they’re also a dime a dozen.

Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Galiev # 49

Position: Left Wing

Stanislav Galiev is one of the bookends of the Washington Capitals current bunch of prospects. Galiev, who is 23 now, is likely on his “last chance” tour with the Washington Capitals. Now too old to really be considered a prospect anymore, it’s put up or shut up time. The forward from Moscow has blossomed recently in the minor league ranks. Perhaps this is the year that Galiev ties together all of the pieces to his pro game.

What I really like about Galiev is his ability to mimic something that another Russian player is quite good at: Ovechkin’s near patented power play one-timer from the left circle. Take a look for yourself. Galiev picked up 26 goals last season with the Bears, many of them on the man advantage in the “Ovi spot”.

If that doesn’t entice you on Galiev, there’s always the fact that he ate a beating cobra heart in Vietnam over his summer vacation.

Stay tuned to Stars and Sticks as we finish up our Fan Guide to the Caps with a look at our team’s defense and a much-anticipated look at what makes the Holtbeast so monstrous!

Next: Caps Jersey Guide

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