Established players such as John Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris have already been in and out of Verizon Center to work out with Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Chris McCullough, all of whom will head up the summer league roster in Las Vegas.
Free agency opens July 1 and while that goes on coach Scott Brooks and his staff will focus on mini-camp to prepare for the summer event.
Except this year instead of holding it at Verizon Center they’ll hold mini-camp at Las Vegas before playing their first game July 8 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.
President Ernie Grunfeld took the first step to reshaping the roster with acquiring Tim Frazier for the No. 52 pick in last week's draft to address the backup point guard need behind Wall.
Here's what needs to be addressed:
--Qualifying offers. They’ll need to extend them to keep Otto Porter and Bojan Bogdanovic restricted free agents. Grunfeld will qualify both which basically gives the Wizards the first right of refusal in the market. But will he re-sign them immediately to take them off or allow them to bring back an offer sheet that he’ll have 48 hours to match? It’ll likely be the latter because the Wizards can exceed the cap to retain their own players exercising their Bird Rights.
--Minicamp. Before summer league begins, there usually are a few players who won't make the final roster. Some are cut for performance, others leave because they're not receiving guaranteed money and found another option and are given release. It'll change a little.
--A shooter. There needs to be a reliable one behind Beal – a much better option than Marcus Thornton a year ago – but this player has to be acquired, it appears, in free agency. The trick is the Wizards don’t have a lot of cap room, especially after it is projected to lower from $102 million to $99 million.
--Contract options. The Wizards have to decide by October if they’ll pick up 2018-19 on McCullough and Kelly Oubre.
--Men in the middle. Marcin Gortat made his feelings known about his role in the offense and pondered out loud if he should/would play elsewhere. Grunfeld made it clear that he expects Gortat to remain. But the Wizards still have to figure out how to have him co-exist with Ian Mahinmi or is it redundancy? Neither is comfortable being out on an island constantly defending stretch bigs on switches.
--The schedule. The league will release it for all 30 teams in the first or second week of August. Training camp begins the following month. The Wizards likely will be in Richmond again on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
This year’s development camp for the Capitals will not include some of the bigger-name prospects such as Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey or Christian Djoos. There is only so much the team can learn from players competing against other prospects making multiple return trips unnecessary.
The storylines for those players will play out in Caps' training camp in September and October. But, this camp still provides plenty of players for fans to keep an eye on.
Shane Gersich, F
Gersich enjoyed a breakout sophomore season at North Dakota last year with 21 goals and 37 points in 40 games. He was in the conversation for the Hobey Baker Award for the top college player in the nation through the first half of the season and highlighted his skills with an overtime goal off an incredible spin move. As a fifth-round pick, not much was expected of Gersich, but perhaps he showed last season that there is more untapped potential in him than once thought. Was last season an anomaly or evidence that the team may have something here?
Jonas Siegenthaler, D
The Swiss defenseman is one of the more highly touted prospects in the entire organization. He always seems to dazzle in international play, including the 2017 World Junior Championship, but his play has been spotty whenever he has comes to North America. Whether he can adjust to the North American game may be the biggest question facing his NHL potential. Siegenthaler dealt with a family issue in Washington's training camp last season which seemed to affect his play. The team will no doubt feel better about his NHL future if he can shake that off and show what he can do on this side of the pond this week.
Connor Hobbs, D
Hobbs turned a lot of heads last season with the performance he put on in the WHL. He tallied 31 goals and 85 points in 67 games as a defenseman. That’s an incredible rate of production. He can utilize both his booming slap shot and sneaky wrist shot from the blue line to score or set-up the offense. His defensive acumen needs some work, but he has clearly and quickly established himself as a high-potential player.
Lucas Johansen, D
The Caps’ first-round pick from last season, the team remains very high on Johansen and is also in serious need of some help on the blue line. Barring a miraculous performance at training camp, Johansen will likely not going make it to the NHL to start this season, but development camp should give us a glimpse of whether he has surpassed the talent of the young prospects and if he could be ready to make his NHL debut sooner rather than later.
Tobias Geisser, D
Do not underestimate the damage a lost draft can cause. Washington had only four picks in this year's draft which concluded on Saturday. The first player the team took was Geisser in the fourth round with the 120th overall pick. Just to put that in perspective, in 2012 the Caps made five selections before 120. The Caps need value to emerge somewhere from the four players they drafted and Geisser seems the most likely. He has great mobility for his size and is good on the transition which should translate well in today’s NHL. How he performs against fellow NHL hopefuls this week will show the team a lot about his potential.
CSN will be your source for the latest development camp coverage as our reporters and cameras will be on hand all week to report on the action. Be sure to check out our development camp show on CSN on July 20 as we recap all the action and give our insights into what the future may hold for the team's prospects!
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