Chuck Gormley: Oates 'feels like he belongs here'
News and notes as the Capitals wrapped up their annual weeklong development camp at Kettler Ice Arena:
Contract update: Restricted free agent Marcus Johansson is expected to continue contract negotiations on Monday in hopes of finalizing an extension.
After being sidelined by a concussion early last season, Johansson played well on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, finishing with six goals and 16 assists in 34 games.
Johansson, 22, is believed to be seeking a contract north of $2 million but he does not have arbitration rights, which could weaken his bargaining position.
Burakovsky’s plans: Left wing Andre Burakovsky, taken by the Caps in the first round [23rd overall] of the 2013 NHL Draft, said he will decide later this week whether he will play for the Erie Otters of the OHL or return to Sweden.
Burakovsky said it took him a few days to adapt to the smaller rink at Kettler. The Caps would probably prefer that he plays in the OHL next season to get a better feel for the North American game, but George McPhee said he’ll support whatever decision Burakovsky makes after conferring with his agent and family. McPhee added that Burakovsky will need to work on his strength before he’s able to get to the NHL.
Life of Riley: Right wing Riley Barber, taken in the sixth round [167th overall] of the 2012 draft, was one of the most polished forwards in camp, creating and finishing as well as anyone on the ice.
Barber led all NCAA freshman in goals last season with 15 for Miami-Ohio.
“He seems to get better every year,” McPhee said. “He progressed a lot. He’s heavier. He’s a real opportunist. Real smart away from the puck, smart when he gets the puck and he can score goals. We like to have guys like that. He has a chance to be a National Leaguer.”
Carrick impresses: Defenseman Connor Carrick, a fifth-round pick of the Caps last year, also had a strong camp, defending against Plymouth Whalers teammate Tom Wilson for much of the scrimmages.
Carrick, 19, is a puck-moving blue liner who finished last season with 12 goals and 34 assists in 68 games.
“I think he’s really upgraded from last year,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “He looks a lot stronger and a lot more poised and more involved in all aspects of the game.”
Local kid does well: Potomac’s Sam Anas was the smallest player at development camp but Oates said he was impressed with the shifty forward, who was given a free-agent invite.
“He’s played very well,” Oates said. “He skates great. It’s hard to figure everybody out in a three-day [scrimmage] process but he’s done fine.”