The Washington Capitals’ top draft pick in the 2021 draft was Vincent Iorio, a defenseman from the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings. He’s one of three players from that 2021 draft class at this year’s Rookie Camp.
Iorio has spent the past three seasons with the Wheat Kings and in his latest campaign recorded 12 points in 21 games. He hopes to be involved in the Caps main training camp that starts later this week.
The big, mobile defenseman is focused on getting better and listening to coaches’ feedback at Rookie Camp. There is “nothing better than being here right now,” he said in an interview on Sunday.
A short Iorio highlight from Rookie Camp on Saturday (#28 in white) pic.twitter.com/kPwmr3aG4M
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“Obviously the pace is a lot faster here so they really want me to adjust to it well and I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job so far with that,” Iorio said. “First and foremost as a defenseman when you get the puck up top you don’t have as much time as you usually think you do, so dusting the puck off, really just eliminating those extra stickhandles is going to be really important for me and really taking away time and space for the forwards, especially if I do get the chance to play at the main camp.”
Iorio says there’s one star player on the Capitals in particular that he’s trying to learn from and be like.
“Obviously, I emulate my game after John Carlson,” Iorio stated. “From what I’ve heard he’s an excellent guy, he’s a great person so hopefully I get the opportunity to chat with him. I’m just gonna be in a little bit of shock seeing guys like Ovechkin, Oshie, and Kuznetsov, so it’ll be really good.”
Team Canada held a National Junior Summer Showcase in early August and Iorio joined fellow Caps prospects Hendrix Lapierre and Garin Bjorklund in attendance.
“It was another really hard camp,” Iorio remarked. “We were expected to do a lot of things and I think that’s why Hockey Canada is Hockey Canada. You play to represent the country you’re from and the crest on the front of your jersey so for me it was just really taking everything in. I learned a lot even from the guys that were there, the coaching staff there as well. All these bits and pieces that I’m taking from different people is what’s going to help me develop for the future.”
Iorio knows that to take the next step he still has work to do.
“Lower body strength is one thing that I really needed to work on and I still need to work on,” Iorio said. I do need to work on everything but really breaking down certain things and making sure that I stay low throughout my whole shifts and making sure that I maintain the perfect amount of efficiency when I skate.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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