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Capitals work out Forsberg at rookie camp

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Sports,NHL,Capitals,Brian McNally

17-year-old Forsberg at Caps' rookie camp

For the first time, Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg will have a tangible sense of his bright future this week at the organization's rookie development camp at Kettler Iceplex.

The 17-year-old Swede, selected No. 11 overall in June's draft, is one of the world's best players in his age group and had expected to go much higher. Some scouting agencies rated him as the second-best player in the draft.

Forsberg gathered with 46 fellow prospects -- undrafted college free agents, current college and Canadian juniors stars -- to test themselves in a weeklong camp before new Caps coach Adam Oates and the organization's minor league staff.

"I would hope that when you're a young kid that you're excited about coming into the big building," Oates said. "This is the home of the Caps. The pro atmosphere. Even just the video session today, they're in a real theater room. It's all pro here."

Forsberg, a 6-foot-1, 187-pounder, plays in the Swedish second division for Leksand and will do so again this season after his club just missed qualifying for promotion to the country's top division.

"I've got the opportunity and hopefully I can make a good season over in Sweden, and then we'll see if the Caps want me to come over," Forsberg said. "It's kind of cool knowing that maybe someday you will be here."

That should be sooner than later. Forsberg, who turns 18 on August 13, will be a star player on Sweden's World Juniors team this winter and help it defend the gold medal it won at last year's event. By the spring, he and the organization will have a better idea if he'll be ready for the NHL in 2013-14.

Forsberg has played wing in Sweden. As for comparisons, he named Anaheim's Corey Perry, the 2010-11 NHL MVP, as an influence -- another right winger with size, a wicked shot and good hands. The skating is still a work-in-progress, but there's time yet.

"I'm very happy to come to an organization like the Capitals where they're already a good team," Forsberg said. "Hopefully I can be part of that in the coming years. That's all I focus on right now."

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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