The Washington Capitals did one thing unbelievable this summer time throughout free company. They acquired a bunch of fellows who had been already pals with one another.
“It is type of humorous,” Dylan Strome stated in his introductory information convention with the Capitals media. “It looks like everybody Washington signed or traded had already performed.”
Capitals common supervisor Brian MacLellan added: “A few of our gamers already know a few of these guys. I believe it must be fairly simple for us to get them into the lineup.”
There’s additionally one participant who appears to be the Kevin Bacon of the bunch: Tom Wilson.
Connor Brown and Dylan Strome performed on the identical junior hockey crew.
Probably the most notable connection is between Connor Brown and Dylan Strome, who performed for the Erie Otters through the 2013-14 season. Strome was a 16-year-old must-see prospect enjoying his first season within the OHL, whereas Brown was a second-year captain enjoying his third and ultimate season with the crew. Celebrity Connor McDavid and former Capital Andre Burakovsky had been additionally members of the electrifying membership.
“I bear in mind enjoying with Stromer,” Connor Brown stated. “He was solely 16 years outdated. Solely a extremely expert participant, good fingers, might rating. I believe he’s nonetheless standing out within the league. He is a brilliant participant. Good gamers usually get higher and higher as they become old and start to determine how to achieve success. I am excited to play with him once more. He is an important man.
Brown scored 128 factors (45g, 83rd) in 68 video games, main the CHL in scoring and incomes OHL MVP honors, whereas Strome had 39 (10g, twenty ninth) in 60 video games as a rookie that 12 months.
“He is an important competitor,” Strome stated of Brown. “He likes to win. I bear in mind my first sport in junior. I did not know what to anticipate. I used to be very younger, simply discovering my approach. We misplaced our first sport of the season in additional time and he got here off the ice and he was upset, pissed off that we misplaced. That was my first expertise. I believe he is a good chief. So he was the crew captain. He is a good hockey participant. It was enjoyable to look at that 12 months. We had a extremely good entrance row that I received to see somewhat bit. They made lots of factors and lots of objectives. Wanting ahead to being on his crew once more. I used to be speaking to him a bit final week. We’ve not been on the identical crew for a very long time (9 years), however we’re excited.”
The 2 are additionally long-time pals on Instagram and sing in the identical vein as Tom Wilson and Michael Latta. For instance, Brown posted a photograph of his Toronto Marlboros AAA crew the place his father was the pinnacle coach.
Connor Brown and Dylan Strome are longtime pals with… Tom Wilson!
Brown and Strome have 4 issues in widespread with Capitals ahead Tom Wilson. They grew up in Ontario, they’re good at hockey, they performed within the OHL, they usually’re all about the identical age (28, 28, 25). Naturally, they’ve related over time and adopted one another on Instagram effectively earlier than this 12 months’s offseason.
“Tom Wilson reached out to me,” Dylan Strome stated. “I labored with him for a few years. Clearly pleased to be on his aspect of the ice this time as an alternative of enjoying towards him. I am wishing that it arrives.”
Strome participated in BioSteel Camp with Wilson, an annual gathering named after the league’s latest sports activities drink that provides gamers one final huge push earlier than Coaching Camp.
“I do know Tommy Wilson,” Connor Brown stated throughout his information convention. “We grew up enjoying towards one another our entire lives within the Toronto space since we had been very younger. We’ve at all times been rivals in a pleasant approach and now we have identified one another for all of the years”.
The 2 incessantly performed towards one another within the OHL, as Wilson was the backup captain for the Plymouth Whalers in 2012-13, whereas Brown was in his first 12 months as captain with the Otters. I checked and not one of the gamers have ever fought one another earlier than.
A fast have a look at Instagram reveals that Wilson has favored Brown’s Instagram posts since 2013.
Dylan Strome performed with Darcy Kuemper in Arizona
The Washington Capitals shed their two younger goaltenders through the offseason, Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, in favor of a extra veteran crew. The Capitals’ greatest goalkeeping acquisition was 32-year-old Darcy Kuemper, who had just lately led the Colorado Avalanche to the 2022 Stanley Cup.
Previous to his time in Denver, Keumper performed components of 4 seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. One in all his teammates there? Dylan Strome!
“I performed somewhat bit with Darcy Kuemper in Arizona,” Strome stated.
The 2 Canadians performed components of two seasons collectively (2017-18, 2018-19) within the desert. Strome performed 41 video games for Arizona throughout these two years, whereas Kuemper made 65 appearances. Kuemper’s breakout season within the NHL was the 2018-19 marketing campaign, the place he made a career-high 55 begins, going 27-20-8 with a .925 save proportion.
Connor Brown performed with Darcy Kuemper on the Canada nationwide crew
Connor Brown and Darcy Kuemper turned pals and teammates as members of Canada’s 2021 IIHF World Championship crew, which performed in Riga, Latvia.
“Darcy Kuemper, I performed him on the World Championship,” stated Connor Brown. “I believe he’s a extremely decisive goalkeeper. I liked enjoying with him and I favored him as a boy.”
Canada went on to win the event. Kuemper, the crew’s starter, went 5-2-1 in eight video games, averaging 2.17 objectives towards and a .916 save proportion. Brown contributed 16 factors (2g, 14th) in 10 video games.
Goalkeepers Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren have the identical agent
Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren would be the new battery of the Capitalinos in objective. They signed one after one other throughout free company, however they don’t seem to be finest pals. Sarcastically although, they’ve the identical agent: Ben Hankinson.
“I’ve by no means actually met [Lindgren] earlier than,” Kuemper stated. “I heard that he’s a tremendous man. Nice within the locker room, everybody loves him. Tremendous excited to satisfy him and begin our partnership there.”
Lindgren spent a part of final season with the St. Louis Blues after being a member of the Montreal Canadiens group from 2015 to 2020.
Dylan Strome performed with Henrik Borgstrom and Erik Gustafsson in Chicago
Dylan Strome was one in every of three Chicago Blackhawks gamers the Capitals signed as a free agent over the summer time. The opposite two had been striker Henrik Bogstrom and Erik Gustafsson. Borgstrom performed 52 video games for Chicago, contributing seven factors, whereas Gustafsson was in his second stint with the crew. The defender performed with the crew from 2015 to 2020 earlier than returning final season.
Erik Gustafsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk used to play collectively in Chicago
Gustafsson and TVR had been teammates at Windy Metropolis through the 2015-16 season. They performed 23:22 minutes collectively in 5 on 5 collectively that 12 months.
Was buying so many gamers who knew one another a grasp plan by Caps GM Brian MacLellan, or simply an unbelievable coincidence? Hopefully, this familiarity ought to construct chemistry early within the season, the place the Capitals will wrestle to determine a brand new lineup with out injured ahead six Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.
“I’m very, very excited in regards to the additions that [the Capitals] accomplished,” stated Connor Brown. “I am excited to be part of this and I am excited to see what I can convey to the desk and what I might help the crew seeking to push the restrict.”