NHL lands in Seattle…& it’s not just about grunge anymore.

grunge-vs-image-2

OK- identifying Seattle only with the grunge alternative music movement of the early 90’s widely credited with “killing” 80’s hair metal  is selling the fine Pacific Northwest city short, but today, the NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to grant Seattle a franchise, making it the 32nd city in the NHL- to begin playing in the 2021-22 season.

That will be 20 years after the San Jose Sharks became the league’s 22nd team in the 1991-92 campaign, starting a wave of expansion that saw the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Florida Panthers all join the NHL in 1992 and 1993.

Back then, grunge (defined as a fusion of punk rock and heavy metal with a characteristic “dirty” or “fuzzy” sound) was in its heyday- the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains all taking the music mainstream. To a lesser extent, Seattle bands like Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr., Screaming Trees, Green River, 7 Year Bitch (more punk than grunge probably, but from Seattle), Skin Yard, TAD to name a few helped keep the movement popular throughout the decade of the 90’s. It’s also interesting to note that of the “Big 4” of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is the only frontman still alive (see what I did there?) and even so, he succeeded Andrew Wood, the former lead singer of Mother Love Bone. MLB was the band that essentially became Pearl Jam after his death to a drug overdose in 1990, with guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament  teaming up with Vedder, Mike McCready and drummer Dave Krusen to launch the group who is arguably the face of Seattle grunge (but you can certainly make an argument for someone else).

The city is no stranger to hockey, as the Seattle Metropolitans existed from 1915-24, and won the 1917 Stanley Cup, the first U.S.-based team to capture the silver hardware. You can read up on Seattle’s history of pro hockey teams in a pretty good Seattle Times piece here. More recently, the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds have been in existence since 1985, succeeding the Seattle Breakers (1977-85) after the team sold to new ownership, who instituted the name change. They play at the ShoWare Center in Kent, some 20 miles south of downtown Seattle. The franchise has won a single WHL title in its existence and has never captured a Memorial Cup as champions of the Canadian Hockey League (major junior).

Notable T-Birds alumni include: Glenn Anderson, Mathew Barzal, Ken Daneyko, Tim Hunter, John Kordic, Brooks Laich, Patrick Marleau, Petr Nedved, Chris Osgood, Turner Stevenson and Ryan Walter.  Former Bruins who played for the T-Birds: Zdenek Blatny, Matt Hervey, Jamie Huscroft, Jeremy Reich, Rob Tallas and Nate Thompson.

The Seattle NHL team has a full slate of franchise-building ahead, starting with a name and then all of the foundational work that will go into creating a full front office, plus the hockey operations and business staffs. Hey- anybody looking for a Midwest USA-based amateur scout? Anyone? Bueller?

And, we haven’t even gotten into what the 32nd member of tbe NHL will mean for divisional realignment, but it will all be sorted out in due time.

Hockey and grunge- the NHL came to the Pac-NW 20 years too late to capitalize on the music craze, but you know the old saying- Better late than never. And given the fact that Seattle has a 101-year-old Stanley Cup champion on record, as the late great Chris Cornell would sing (scream?): “I’ve been away for too long…”

 

Clearing the air on Jake DeBrusk

Editor’s note- I originally intended to include this post on Jake DeBrusk in the 2nd deep dive I did on B’s prospects, but went on several tangents and so as not to create so ponderous a single post on Frank Vatrano, Jakub Zboril, JFK and Malcolm Subban, pulled this entry out to make it a separate post.

I do this for several reasons- one, I want you to stay with it to understand my logic. I can say honestly that this year, the fact that the Bruins passed on Mathew Barzal and Kyle Connor, has been the single most polarizing issue I have had to deal with on Twitter. I realize that there are a lot of folks whose minds are already made up that the B’s blew it and I have to respect that. I hope that those who are in that boat will read this and perhaps at lease acknowledge the other side in this debate. If not, no sweat. For everyone else- this is intended as food for thought. Nothing more, nothing less. Thanks for reading.

Jake DeBrusk, LW

I’m going to say it- I fervently disagree with the criticisms of DeBrusk I see online and in various circles and will leave it at that. This entry will attempt to lay out what I’ve seen from DeBrusk this season and why I have no major problem with the B’s taking him at 14th overall last June.

Context is everything and it isn’t just about pure production when it comes to not only scouting players but making the decision to draft one player over the others. This is the fundamental disconnect that fans who simply read the pre-draft publications and scouting reports have when they approach me on Twitter often times demanding to know why the B’s didn’t draft Kyle Connor or Mathew Barzal.  What the fans don’t see are the interviews, nor are they privy to the discussions that the Boston scouts have with coaches or the discussions that take place behind the scenes that take organizational needs and how well  a player will fit into what the team is doing into account.

Having said that, and in the interest of full disclosure- Barzal and Connor are both having tremendous seasons after the B’s passed on them, so I understand the angst. I took Kyle Connor at 14 for Boston (back when they had just the one 1st-round pick) in a mock draft held by Allan Mitchell aka Lowetide of TSN 1260 in Edmonton, and had Connor not been there, I would have drafted Zboril for Boston, but all of that is beside the point- the Bruins took DeBrusk, so I’m not going to second-guess here. I’ll leave that to others.

In getting back to DeBrusk, a year ago, he scored 42 goals and was one of the big second-half risers in the 2015 draft. Because he was consistently ranked in the 20’s by most public scouting lists and services (at Red Line Report we had DeBrusk at 25th in our 2015 Draft Guide- for the record that was a couple of spots ahead of *both* Zboril AND Connor. Barzal was just inside the top-10 of the RLR final list.) Headed into the draft, the Bruins had finished with one of the worst team offenses in the NHL in 2014-15 and the lack of scoring punch was a major reason for the team missing the playoffs for the first time in Claude Julien’s tenure. However, we’ve learned an important lesson about the NHL and how a team’s strengths and shortcomings ebb and flow from year to year. This season, offense is not the issue but defense is the biggest stumbling block to the B’s securing a playoff spot and then doing anything of substance if they get in.   If the Bruins’ formula for their second of three picks last year was not as much the standard best player available (BPA) and took needs into account as well as fit and how the players came off in the interview process, then DeBrusk makes perfect sense there.

Like Zboril, DeBrusk’s overall numbers are way down from a year ago (he’s at 19 goals and 57 points in 54 games between Swift Current and Red Deer). That admittedly adds fuel to the fire in the debate. DeBrusk missed extended time to a lower body injury (ouch) and wasn’t on his 40-goal pace when he was lost for several weeks. When he returned, he was not even invited to Team Canada’s WJC camp after being there over the summer. Then in late December, he was dealt to the Memorial Cup-host Red Deer Rebels where he started out like gangbusters (hat trick in his third game) only to see his goal scoring production fall off as he got moved around on different lines, away from the red-hot Adam Helewka. But, to point to just the numbers is to miss the larger context which is simple: DeBrusk’s overall game is improved from where it was last year when he was more of a one-dimensional presence.

He’s not a dynamic, explosive skater- which hurts him to a degree because DeBrusk doesn’t wow you the way others do. However, he is one of those players who will suddenly make a key play because he has such a high hockey IQ and has a quick-strike element to his game. I would submit that those who don’t see that in him choose not to see it. The Bruins, however, have recognized it all along. He’s improved his assist-to-60 ratio from what it was a year ago, which is good news even if the goal numbers have plummeted by half. If there is a niggling concern here- we saw a similar drop-off with Jared Knight after the B’s drafted him on the heels of a 36-goal performance only to see him never approach that mark again, even though Knight improved his assist totals and was a better all-around player for London after his draft season. In DeBrusk’s case- the goals drop-off is a valid concern, but it should not be the central driver in the analysis of his overall body of work.

On the other hand, DeBrusk brings the right attitude and effort with him at all times. It’s not difficult to understand why the B’s would have been impressed with him during the interview process. In recognizing the fact that he was trending upwards entering the draft, it’s not just about taking the kid who scores the most or looks the prettiest skating up and down the wing- sometimes the deciding factor is as simple as: do we like this person and can we see him being an ambassador for our organization more so than the other guy who has more bells and whistles? You don’t have to like it, but the game isn’t played by robots and teams are no different than anyone else in life: hard decisions are just that- difficult. Our teams don’t always make the correct ones or at least- the ones we happen to think are right at the time.

Eventually, we’ll know if DeBrusk was a swing and miss or if they were onto something from the get-go. But, as  hard as that seems to be for some to grasp- we don’t know that yet in March, 2016. We just don’t.

Current assessment: DeBrusk is progressing just fine as a more complete winger than he was a year ago. The down scoring is disappointing, but we know one thing for certain: at the end of May, he’ll be playing meaningful games. With the WHL playoffs rapidly approaching, don’t be surprised if DeBrusk takes his goal scoring up a notch and Brent Sutter finds a way to get him involved in the Rebels offense to a bigger degree than we’ve seen. It could be the ol’ rope-a-dope move and I wouldn’t put it past the crafty ol’ Sutter brother to do something like that.

At some point, DeBrusk is going to have to justify what the Bruins saw in him but that time is not now. As good as other players look in comparison, this is a marathon  and not a sprint. Nobody, regardless of how smart or respected they are, is going to settle the debate less than a year after the players were drafted. Jeff Skinner got a lot of buzz in 2010 for scoring 31 goals as a rookie and winning the Calder Trophy in 2011, when Tyler Seguin didn’t, but who would everyone rather have now in 2016?

In a fast food-mentality culture, everyone wants to declare immediate winners and losers. They want to point to an immediate trend and then trumpet that as an undisputed fact now and in the future just so they can say, “See? I told you so!” I get it- this is a product of the Internet and the many keyboard commandos out there who wouldn’t talk to people in person the way they do online. But in DeBrusk’s case, I do think he’s been treated unfairly- much like B’s fans treated Zach Senyshyn in the initial hours after the Bruins drafted him 15th and before he went out and scored 39 goals and counting. Senyshyn is now a prospect darling for a lot of B’s fans these days- but I’d wager a hefty sum that some of the people who are most excited about him now are some of the ones who flooded the internet with “outrage” over what a “reach” he was at 15. It’s the nature of the beast in the modern information age, of course. (wink, wink; nod, nod)

Maybe DeBrusk lives up to what Boston saw in him, maybe he doesn’t. But the jury’s still out. Assuming he plays in Providence full-time next year (and as a late ’96 he’s signed and eligible to do that), we’ll have a better idea of where’s going by this time in 2017.

NHL 2015 rookie camps preview/player watch list- Eastern Conference

With rookies reporting to their NHL clubs for the annual rite of passage before the veterans show up next week to begin the real work of building towards that opening night roster next month, it’s time to take a look at some of the kids who will be competing in prospect tournaments this weekend and may one day contribute to the fortunes of their NHL clubs. Some of them might be doing that as early as this season.

I’m breaking the preview up into 2 parts- each by conference, starting in the East. There is no particular method to my madness other than to focus on players I have more personal and professional familiarity with. That might mean that certain highly-touted rookies don’t get a mention- that will be by design. I can’t cover every single prospect and some that are not highlighted might come off as snubs to some readers- that is not my intent.

This blog attempts to give you my insights based on what I observe and know, not what someone else writes about or observes unless I cite that particular source. If there is a particular player you want to see covered, let me know and I’ll hit up NHL guys I know who will have the firsthand knowledge of those individuals. Unlike other analysts out there who try to cover every player, league and geographic region in hockey, I simply don’t do that.

Thanks for reading- watch for the Western Conference watch list later this weekend.

Boston Bruins

Austin Czarnik, F- Small but speedy and offensively gifted forward was a nice free agent get for Boston last spring after captaining Miami University the previous two seasons and earning Hobey Baker finalist honors as a junior. The Michigander is not going to break on through to the NHL right away, but he could be an instant impact player offensively for Providence in the AHL.

Justin Hickman, F- Rugged power center was another undrafted pickup a year ago in January after shoulder surgery forced him out of his overage WHL campaign as captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds. He had a quietly solid development camp in July, but was not cleared to participate in the scrimmage to further protect that shoulder. A Boston team source expressed optimism that Hickman will surprise at his first Boston NHL camp (he previously attended Winnipeg Jets training camp) and with his heavy game and underrated scoring potential, watch for him to be another Providence youngster who is in line for an immediate role.

Eric Neiley, F- This Pennsylvania native and Dartmouth College product may have just average size and skating ability, but he once put up 40 points in just 10 games (due to injury) as a senior prep player at Phillips-Exeter. He’s a dangerous and creative player with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. If he can do enough to impress, there might be an NHL contract in the offing down the line.

Frank Vatrano, F- The former Boston Jr. Bruins standout missed out on some D1 hockey while working a transfer to UMass, but the wait was worth it as he fired home 18 goals in his only full season with the Minutemen before turning pro. Although short in stature and of stocky build, he worked hard to come to camp with a leaner frame. The end result: he’s quicker, more agile and still has a lethal stick, especially between the hash marks. He’s got 20-goal NHL upside in time if he can stay driven and develop his all-around game.

Linus Arnesson, D- The Swede came over late last season to finish out the year with Providence of the AHL, where he was solid if unspectacular. He’s got fine size and mobility, but isn’t going to wow you in any particular aspect of his game. He’s more of a defensively savvy blue liner who can move the puck out of trouble and does well in puck retrieval, but don’t expect him to join the rush much or put up many points. You win with guys like him, but he’ll benefit from time in the AHL before he’s ready for full-time NHL duty.

Zane McIntyre, G- McIntyre has won top goalie awards at every level from high school (Frank Brimsek- Minnesota), junior (USHL) and the NCAA (Mike Richter). Now, he is entering the pro ranks and it will be interesting to see what the Bruins will do with him in his first year. To maximize his playing time, the ECHL might be the best fit for him, but an excellent camp and exhibition season will make it tough on the brain trust. Depending on what happens with Jonas Gustavsson and his PTO, there probably isn’t enough net for all three of Malcolm Subban, Jeremy Smith and McIntyre, so this rookie tourney will be key to the 23-year-old making a good first impression.

(Good UND-produced video and segment on McIntyre at the 7:00 mark.)

Buffalo Sabres

Jack Eichel, F- The excitement is palpable, as the 2015 Hobey Baker winner and second overall pick left BU after just one year to turn pro. Unless something unforeseen occurs, Eichel is expected to play the season in Buffalo and will energize the town and team with his superb speed, hands and all-around game. Eichel is both skilled and mature enough to earn new coach Dan Bylsma’s trust, and although the vast majority of Sabres Nation was hoping for Connor McDavid, if there ever was a year to have the second pick in a draft, 2015 was it.

Justin Bailey, F- I’ve been tracking with interest this Buffalo native’s since his draft year (2013) when he impressed with his pure potential even if he was (and still is) a raw, developing prospect. The son of a former NFL player, Bailey was raised by his mother, Karen, who infused old school values into his upbringing. Bailey also benefited from being around members of the Sabres like Matthew Barnaby and Daniel Briere, who got to know the family and helped stoke his passion for hockey at a young age. Like Boston’s Ryan Donato, Bailey is living the dream of being a prospect for the team he grew up cheering for and having a personal connection to. With his 6-3 frame, and NHL-caliber tools, he has the makings of an eventual NHL power forward.

Carolina Hurricanes

Noah Hanifin, D- Carolina fans unfortunately will have to wait a little longer on Hanifin, who is not participating in the team’s annual venture to the Traverse City, Mich. Rookie tournament due to injury. Like Eichel, Hanifin left the Hockey East after just one season but several NHL scouts tell me they think he can play in the big show right away. We’ll see if he can put his nagging injury behind him in time to have a strong camp and preseason, but everything about Hanifin to date in his young career indicates he will do just that.

Brett Pesce, D- Former UNH standout and 2013 third-rounder is a rangy defender from New York who didn’t quite elevate his offense as expected, but was a solid contributor to the Wildcats in his three seasons at Durham. He’s a hard-nosed defender with size and underrated puck-moving skills who doesn’t give up real estate willingly and will likely become an effective shutdown presence in the NHL after some minor league apprenticing.

Sergey Tolchinsky, F- Speedy little Russian waterbug was passed over in the 2013 NHL entry draft despite putting up a fine season at Sault Ste. Marie with the Greyhounds, only to earn a free agent contact. He’s so skilled and dangerous, reminding of another little Russian named Sergei- Samsonov- who should have been a bigger NHL star than he was, but never really fully recovered his magical hands after wrist surgery. Filthy move at this summer’s development camp…

 

Columbus Blue Jackets

Sonny Milano, F- The Long Island product switched NCAA commitments from Notre Dame to Boston College, then jumped to the OHL with Plymouth last summer. After a solid first campaign there, he’s shown that his offensive ability is among the best in his peer group, but his overall game still might give his coaches fits at times. He’s a dynamic scorer, but must be more careful not to turn the puck over and guard against taking bad penalties.

Mike Paliotta, D- Chicago’s third-round selection in 2011 went on to captain the University of Vermont, which pulled an upset in the Hockey East quarterfinals last March over favored BC. Sent to the Buckeye State as part of the Brandon Saad trade this summer, Paliotta is a smart defender who isn’t all that flashy but makes good decisions with and away from the puck. He’ll boost the transition game after some time in the minors.

Detroit Red Wings

Dylan Larkin, F- The Wings’ top pick in 2014 left the Wolverines to turn pro and could very well be skating for the big club in October. Skilled and creative, Larkin can do a bit of everything as a plus-skater who is defensively responsible. Given how active and difficult he is to contain on the rush, he has the makings of a perennial All-Star and local that the Motown fans will really get behind.

Florida Panthers

Mike Matheson, D- When it comes to defensemen who are absolute naturals at moving the puck up the ice, Matheson is right up there with the best. The former Boston College star is a tremendous skater who generates top speed but also masters his edges for effortless lateral glide and shiftiness to avoid the forecheck. He can make the crisp outlet and loves to join the rush. He’s not a finished product by any means, but has improved his overall defensive play coming out of college. He was not a major point producer, but does those things for the transition game that the top teams use to great effect.

Colin Stevens, G- After backstopping Union to the 2014 NCAA championship this season was a step back for the New Yorker and former Boston Jr. Bruin. He signed with Florida last spring and with his live, athletic 6-2 frame, he’ll have time to grow into his body and develop at the minor league level. He’s a winner who can steal games for his team and will be a fine netminder in the AHL soon.

Montreal Canadiens

Nikita Scherbak, F- The Habs got excellent value with the big Russian horse out in Saskatoon (since traded to Everett) of the WHL last year. He’s added solid mass to his 6-2 frame, topping out at around 200 pounds entering the season but he’s a very good skater and talented forward who competes hard and brings with him many North American attributes. Like the Bruins with David Pastrnak in 2014, the Canadiens somehow ended up with a promising power forward who should not have been available to them that late in the opening round. Bruins fans will soon know this kid’s name and not in a good way.

New Jersey Devils

Pavel Zacha, F- The stats this last season with Sarnia weren’t much to write home about, but the Devils wasted no time in jumping on the uber-skilled Czech who will likely mature into a more productive player at the highest level. One NHL scout based in Ontario told me that he just oozed talent and potential every time he saw him but for some reason, it wasn’t clicking for him. The Devils desperately need a marketable, exciting young star and they appear to have it in Zacha. He seems to have the tools and right stuff to make the jump to the NHL right away.

New York Islanders

Mathew Barzal, F- I’ll admit it was a surprise to stand there in Sunrise and watch the Bruins make three consecutive picks at 13, 14 and 15 and not once call the undersized but electric Seattle forward’s name. When peeling back the onion a bit with team sources and those outside Boston familiar with him, we’ll chalk it up to concerns about some of the injuries he’s dealt with in the WHL and questions about the kind of fit. However, given how quickly the Isles traded (twice I would add) into the first round to grab Barzal at 16, this is going to be someone Bruins fans who follow the draft and prospects closer than the rank and file do, lament for years to come if he develops into a Claude Giroux-type star in Brooklyn.

Michael Dal Colle, F- He was a treat to watch in leading the Oshawa Generals to the 2015 Memorial Cup championship this season. The playmaking winger is so smart and productive- he’s got a great release and stealthily attacks defenses, getting into prime scoring areas or setting the table with effortless ease. He’s a major part of a dangerous group of forwards that will be coming up to take advantage of the presence of John Tavares in his prime (Speaking of Tavares, didn’t he used to skate for the Gennies? Sho ’nuff he did).

 New York Rangers

Brady Skjei, D- A major offensive threat he is not, but the big and fluid Minnesotan is going to be one of those dependable minute-munching 3-4 d-men who skate in the NHL for years. Coming out of the NTDP there was thought that he might develop more of a scoring punch, but the lack of that element should not sell him short as a premiere defensive player and character leader type who can move the puck and will be someone his coaches trust to send out and protect a lead late in the game. Those players are valuable, even if they don’t always get the respect they deserve.

Ottawa Senators

Matt O’Connor, G- Even with the breakthrough of Andrew “the Hamburglar” Hammond this past winter in Canada’s capital, the Sens went out and signed the best free agent goaltender available on the market. O’Connor’s misfortune in the third period of the NCAA title game loss to Providence aside, he’s got the size, athletic ability and maturity to rebound from BU coming up just short and develop into a solid pro. He doesn’t give shooters much net, and is a competitive gamer.

Philadelphia Flyers

Ivan Provorov, D- The Flyers got their man by standing pat and letting the Russian come to them last June. An interesting story as a kid who left Russia a few years ago and played minor hockey in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before jumping to the USHL and then north to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, Provorov was seen as the best defenseman available in the 2015 draft, ranked by some ahead of Hanifin. With his mobility, smarts and puck skills, he’s a prime candidate to shine in his first pro camp and make a tough decision on the Flyers brass to keep him or return him to junior- he’s poised, mature and polished for one so young.

Travis Konecny, F- Along with Barzal, the Ottawa 67’s captain was one that Bruins fans who follow the draft were hoping the team might jump on with one of three first-round picks. Although undersized and didn’t get off to a great start last season, the Flyers made a move to go and get him. If he gets his development back on track to where it was entering 2014-15, Philly fans will have a lot to cheer about with his speed, offensive upside and energy.

Travis Sanheim, D- Another WHL standout defender who rode the wave a year ago of a superb performance in the Under-18 championship tournament to a top-20 selection in 2014. The Calgary Hitman has all of the key tools NHL clubs want in a defender including a fearsome point drive. He parlayed his success into a spot on Canada’s gold medal WJC squad last winter and along with Provorov and Samuel Morin, might turn the defense position from an area of concern in Philly to one of strength if all three pan out as expected.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Daniel Sprong, F- Arguably one of the 2015 draft’s most pure talents on offense, Sprong’s 200-foot game was lacking and a big reason he fell into the second round. However, put a kid like him on the Penguins and you have the potential for it not to matter a whit because of how dangerous he is when the puck’s on his stick. I didn’t think he was a good fit for what Boston is doing, but he makes total sense in the Steel City. They don’t come much more flashy and slick than this Netherlands product.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tony DeAngelo, D- The tremendously skilled yet undersized offensive defenseman has gotten into trouble for his mouth in the past, but his 25 goals and 89 points in just 55 OHL games speak for themselves. The Philly-area native is a sublime skater with the vision and elite hockey IQ to push the offensive pace. Tampa rolled the dice a bit by grabbing him 20th overall a year ago, but he’s on the verge of paying that decision back in spades.

Adam Erne, F- 2013 second-rounder and Connecticut native was injured when his Quebec Remparts needed him most last spring, but when healthy, Erne has the offensive talent and big body to excel in puck possession. He plays a rugged style but needs to cut down on undisciplined penalties. When at his best, he’s dropping his shoulder and driving hard to the net- he’s a load to contain and is built for the modern NHL. Erne is the kind of player that will make an already difficult team to play against that much tougher.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Mitch Marner, F- This skilled and gritty gamer had a monster season in the OHL with the London Knights, leading the new-look Leafs front office to go with him fourth overall. There is a lot of pressure on him to get the Blue and White back on the road to respectability, but he didn’t average 2 points per game by accident. He plays with the kind of intelligence and all-around savvy that should see him thrive in that organization and embrace the enormous expectations that come with a player of his draft pedigree and background. He’s got some physical maturing ahead, but there’s a lot to like about him- winner.

Washington Capitals

Madison Bowey, D- The latest graduate from the Kelowna defenseman factory out in the WHL, Bowey has it all- size, skating, skill, shot and sense. He’s a poised puck mover who plays the game with some jam and has enough confidence to keep things simple. In hindsight, given how much Bowey’s development has taken off since the 2013 NHL draft, it’s hard to figure how the Caps got him in the second round.