Hanalt ready to prove value, ‘make own statement’ with capitals

ARLINGTON, VA – Washington Capitals prospect Håkon Hanelt stands near the glass, staring at the rink in front of him. With a look of wonder in his eyes, as it were, behind glasses and a wide smile, he reveals an NHL dream to himself.

At just 19 years old, Hanault is still just a teenager. Off the snow, he is a fun lover who loves going to restaurants, exploring cities, and watching TV. He is a music fan and acknowledged binge-watcher, having gotten through the entire Lucifer series three times. But at the same time, he is far from the typical teenager; He does well beyond his years, and after really hitting the snow and overcoming adversity for last year’s camp, he’s ready to show what he can do.

“Feels great [to be here]” said Hanelt. “I can finally prove what I am capable of.”

Henelt was born in Berlin, Germany and has always had a passion for the sport. He grew up watching NHL hockey, which was constantly on TV at home. His father also played, and at the age of two, Henault’s mother gifted him his first hockey stick. the rest is history.

“I really loved it. The first time I touched ice was when I was about three or something,” Hanault recalled. “I had a lot of fun.”

Hanault worked his way up the ranks, playing in every single position other than the goalkeeper, insisting with a smile that he would be no good. He takes pride in versatility, having played in centre, wing and defence, throughout his career. His two-pronged ability, vision and hockey IQ shone, and at age 17 he made the pro jump.

In 2020–21, Hainault broke the Eisbahn Berlin (Polar Bears) roster of the DEL to overtake them by 22 games and scored a goal. He competed against the big guys and put himself on the radar in his draft year overseas.

hanelt was NHL Central ScoutingIn 56th place is the international skater. He went to the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiad in the CHL Import Draft, and in July, his NHL dream came to life as the Capitals took him with their fifth-round pick, a potential late steal depending on whether they were in North America. How was the infection?

,[It was] A terrible feeling, ”said Hanelt. “I was so honored to be selected by such a good organization. I have so many friends who love Capitals from the very beginning, a lot of Russian players… I really enjoy being here,” said Hanelt Told.

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After gaining first-ever DC experience through off-ice training and skating for some time toward the end of training camp, Henelt reported to the QMJHL for his rookie campaign with Gatineau. However, he scored just seven games through the season, scoring one goal and four assists, before having surgery due to a shoulder injury in late November. He missed out on months of action, which is tough for any rookie trying to prove his worth after being drafted.

Instead of getting down on his own, he got to work, focusing on as many details as possible while resting on his shoulder. Ultimately, he returned to the ice in April with a renewed campaign to succeed.

“During that time I did a lot of skating work on it, did a lot of endurance stuff,” Hainault said. “I was able to come back for the playoffs which was awesome. And I’m really happy that now that I’ve had surgery and I’m able to be here at development camp and be here.”

Hanault said his shoulder is 100 percent better. He finished the regular season with two goals and eight assists in 16 games and then recorded two goals in six playoff outings. He then made his way to the district for the development camp and it was from here that he really caught the attention of the people.

Showing more speed, quicker hands and an impressive drive, Hunault put up a strong effort during each session. He was outspoken, active and aggressive on the forecheck. The youngster did almost everything, hustling at the backcheck, making strong passes, fighting the – and winning – pucks and acting as a screen in front.

All the while, he continues to improve his shots and awareness on both ends of the ice, and believes there is still much more to do to take the next step in his career than he does in his game. can do.

“When you look at people in the NHL about how they skate and how good they are on their sides, I think that’s the biggest part,” Hainault said. “And I think a big part of me will like working during the summer.”

Hanault is already a big personality and well-liked guy in the Capitol locker room, affectionately known as “Hank”. He has already formed a close bond with Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio, and with both of them, helped lead by example in the camp. And now, he’s taking Team Germany to camp as he gets another shot world juniorsWhich was originally being held in December amid his injury but was canceled due to COVID-19.

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When it comes to his role in the organization of the Capitals, he is ready to play any role like music to the ears of any coach.

“A two-way center would be like the type of guy I would play,” Hanault said. “I am more comfortable in the center role. But if you need me in the left wing or right wing, I will play that too. I also played as a defenseman for two years. So that would be an option; I will play that too. “

But beyond just playing a role, Hanault wants to forge his own path. Leon Draistel, Philipp Grubauer and Tim Stutzl are just some of the Germans who have built their legacy and inspired their home nation. Hennett wants to join that list, but instead of modeling his game after today’s stars, he’s focused on crafting his style and bringing it into the big leagues.

“I just try to play my game, make my statement. That is my biggest goal,” Hanelt said. “Of course, it’s an honor if someone compares you to a really good player in the NHL or something. But to be honest, I’m just trying to play my game.

“It was always my dream to be here and my goal is to reach the NHL. I hope to do it someday.”

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