The new acquisitions in The Capitals seem to have endless previous connections to each other

Washington Capitals did something incredible this summer during free agency. They got a group of guys who were already men with each other.

“It’s kind of funny,” Dylan Strom said in his introductory press conference with Capitals Media. “Apparently everyone Washington has signed or traded with, I’ve actually played with.”

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan added, “Some of our players already know some of these players. I think it should be easy for us to include them in the squad.”

There is also one player who appears to be Kevin Bacon in the group: Tom Wilson.


Conor Brown and Dylan Strom played on the same junior hockey team

The most notable contact is between Conor Brown and Dylan Strom who played for Erie Otters during the 2013-14 season. The 16-year-old could not pass up the opportunity to play his first season at OHL while Brown was a sophomore captain playing his third and final season with the team. Superstar Conor McDavid and ex-capital Andrei Burakovsky were both members of the Electrified Club.

“I remember playing with Stromer,” Conor Brown said. “He was only 16 years old. Only a player with high skills, a good hand, could score. I think he still plays alone in the league. He is a smart player. Usually, smart players improve as they get older and start figuring out how to achieve success. I’m excited to play with him again. He’s an amazing kid.”

Brown scored 128 points (45g, 83a) in 68 games, leading the CHL in scoring and winning the OHL MVP Awards, while Ström earned 39 (10g, 29a) in 60 games as a rookie that year.

“He’s a pretty big competitor,” Strom said of Brown. “He loves to win. I remember my first game in the rookies. I didn’t know what to expect. I was so young, just found my way. We lost our first game of the season in overtime and he was off the ice and he was upset and frustrated by our loss. That was my first experience. I think he’s a great leader.” He was captain then. He’s a great hockey player. It was fun to watch that year. We had a very good first streak that I have to watch a bit. They scored a lot of points and a lot of goals. Looking forward to getting back into his team. Last week. It’s been a long time (nine years) since we’ve been on the same team but we’re excited.”

They are also old friends on Instagram who tweet each other along the same lines as Tom Wilson and Michael Lata. For example, Brown posted a photo of the Toronto Marlboros AAA team where his father was the head coach.


Ouch!


Conor Brown and Dylan Strom are old friends of… Tom Wilson!

Braun and Strom have four things in common with Capitals striker Tom Wilson. They grew up in Ontario, are good at hockey, played in OHL, and are all about the same age (28, 28, 25). Naturally, they’ve reached out to each other over the years and followed each other on Instagram long before this year’s season.

“Tom Wilson got me,” Dylan Strom said. “I worked with him for two years. He is obviously happy to be on his side of the ice this time instead of playing against him. I am looking forward to it.”

Strom has participated in BioSteel Camp with Wilson, an annual gathering named after the league’s new sports drink that gives players one last big boost before training camp.

“I know Tommy Wilson,” Conor Brown said during his press conference. “We grew up playing against each other our whole lives in the Toronto area since we were really young. We’ve always been friendly rivals and have known each other over the years.”

The two played often against each other at OHL with Wilson being the substitute captain for the Plymouth Whalers in 2012-13 while Brown was in his first year captaining the team with the Otters. I checked and none of the players had fought before.

A quick look at Instagram reveals that Wilson loved Brown’s Instagram posts all the way back to 2013.


Dylan Strom played with Darcy Comber in Arizona

The Washington Capitals have ditched both young off-season goalkeepers, Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanessek, in favor of a more veteran staff. Capitals’ biggest acquisition was 32-year-old Darcy Comber, who most recently led the Colorado Avalanche to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

Prior to his time in Denver, Keumper played four seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. One of his teammates there? Dylan Strom!

“Darcy Quimper played with him in Arizona for a bit,” Strom said.

The two Canadians played innings two seasons together (2017-18, 2018-19) in the desert. Strom played 41 games with Arizona during those two years while Comber played 65 games. Kuemper’s NHL breakout season was the 2018-19 season with his career high at the time 55 starts, going 27-20-8 with a 0.925 save.


Conor Brown played with Darcy Comber in the Canadian national team

Conor Brown and Darcy Comber became friends and teammates as a member of the 2021 IIHF World Championship Team for Canada, which was played in Riga, Latvia.

“Darcy Comber, I played with him at the World Championships,” Conor Brown said. “I think he is a really paw goalkeeper. I loved playing with him and I loved him as a man.”

Canada went on to win the championship. Kuemper, the team player, went 5-2-1 in eight games, scoring 2.17 goals against an average and 0.916 saves percentage. Brown broke 16 points (2g, 14a) in 10 games.


Goalkeepers Darcy Comber and Charlie Lindgren have the same agent

Darcy Comber and Charlie Lindgren will be the new Capitals battery in the goal. They signed one by one during the free agency, but they are not friends. But somewhat ironically, they have the same agent: Ben Hankinson.

“I’ve never actually met [Lindgren] Comber said. “I heard he’s a great guy. Great in the locker room, everyone loves him. So excited to get to know him and start our partnership there.”

Lindgren spent part of last season with the St. Louis Blues after being a member of the Montreal Canadiens from 2015-2020.


Dylan Strom played with Henrik Burgstrom and Eric Gustafson in Chicago

Dylan Strom was one of three players from the Chicago Blackhawks who signed him as the Capital One over the summer. The other two are strikers Henrik Bogstrom and Eric Gustafsson. Burgstrom played 52 games for Chicago with seven points, while Gustafson was in his second spell with the team. The defender played with the team from 2015-2020 before returning last season.


Eric Gustafson and Trevor van Rimsdijk used to play together in Chicago

Gustafsson and TVR were teammates on the Windy City team during the 2015-16 season. They played 23:22 minutes together in five and five that year.


Was acquiring so many players who know each other a master plan by Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan or is it just an incredible coincidence? It is hoped that this familiarity generates chemistry early in the season as the Capitals scramble to discover a new squad without hurting top six forwards Niklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.

“I am really excited about the additions that [the Capitals] Conor Brown said. “I’m excited to be a part of it and excited to see what I can bring and what I can help a team looking to push over the edge.”

Photoshop created via image stored by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

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