This is the first of our regular monthly recaps for all of the Washington Capitals’ prospects. It’s important to note that it’s just the beginning of the season for the majority of these players, so current performance may not mean much. Just because a player is killing it right now doesn’t necessarily mean they will all season and vice versa. So with that, lets review.
You can find an analysis on all of these prospects from June here.
Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, LW, Drafted 7th Round in 2017, 18-years old
Marthinsen is a very intriguing prospect because he is a pure goal scorer. He’s one of those players I love because he always has more goals than assists. That’s something the Caps need: a shooter. When he was 15, in the Norway18 league he had 24 goals and 18 assists (42 points) in 29 games played. When he was 16, in his J18 Elit league, he had 12 goals and nine assists (21 points) in 21 games. Then, between his 16 and 17-year old seasons he potted 17 goals and 11 assists (28 points) in 22 J20 Elit League games. And he currently has 11 goals and four assists (15 points) in 11 J20 Elit league games. Those 11 goals are tied with the lead for the whole league. Another way to look at it, is from 16 to 18-years old, Marthinsen scored 28 goals and 10 assists (38 points) in just 33 J20 Elit games, he just turned 18 over the summer. He’s definitely a kid to keep an eye on.
Axel Jonsson Fjallby, LW, Drafted 5th Round in 2016, 19-years old
Fjallby is getting his first full season look at the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), the top-tier hockey league in Sweden, and considered the best hockey league in the world after the NHL and KHL. He isn’t exactly off to a hot start, with three goals and two assists in 14 games. But it’s important to take into consideration that he is the second-youngest player on the team at 19-years old, which means he might not be trusted as much as other players. It’s also important to note that his fifth points are good enough for seventh on the team. The six players in front of him are aged, in order from most points to least: 29, 35, 29, 21, 28, and 23. So his five points actually looks quite impressive. In fact, only four players in the whole SHL in the under 20-years old category have more points than Fjallby in this early season. Two of them are top prospects in the upcoming draft: Rasmus Dahlin and Isac Lundestrom. The other two are Elias Pettersson, the fifth overall pick last summer by the Vancouver Canucks, and Tim Soderlund, a fourth-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks. That’s some good company to be a part of. Keep an eye on him in this year’s World Juniors U20 Tournament.
Damien Riat, LW/RW, Drafted 4th Round in 2016, 20-years old
Riat, the feisty Swiss winger, is basically in the same boat as Fjallby. He’s one of the youngest guys on his team in the National League (the top league in Switzerland and the fourth-best league in the world behind the SHL) so he probably isn’t getting the most time on ice. But his one goal and five assists are good enough for the sixth-most points on the team. The five players in front of him are aged, in order from most points to least: 30, 24, 28, 28, and 37. So to be a 20-year-old and have the sixthmost points on your team is quite impressive. His point totals also lead all 20 and under players in the whole NLA. That’s a great start for Riat.
Tobias Greisser, LHD, Drafted 4th Round in 2017, 18yo
Greisser shares a lot with fellow Capitals defensive prospect Jonas Siegenthaler. Both are from Switzerland with similar qualities: big players with great mobility. Neither are exactly offensive dynamos, but can be relied on for their defense that can get the puck up ice. Through 17 games in the NLA, Greisser has three points (third on the team in defensive points). Again not mindblowing, but he is the youngest player on the team by nearly two years! He’s 18-years old playing against men, and in less than one week, he’ll be the only player under 20-years old. He’ll more than likely make the World Junior U20 tournament this year, where we’ll get a better look at him.
Kevin Elgestal, LW/RW, Drafted 7th Round in 2014, 21yo
In the summer I wrote Elgestal probably won’t ever make the jump to North America. He would need to have a great year to earn it and so far this season he hasn’t shown much. He’s still stuck in Allsvenskan hockey league, which is like the AHL for the SHL, at the age of 21. He has two assists in 12 games.
Sebastian Walffridsson, LHD, Drafted 5th Round in 2017, 18yo
Not too much to say about the recently drafted defensemen. He is in the same league as Elgestal and is off to a decent start with one assist in six games, while being the third-youngest player on the team. But offense isn’t his game. He’s a rare, feisty Swedish player that’s known for his physical defensive game. He just received an invitation to the World Juniors U20 tournament this year, joining countryman Axel Fjallby, which can only be a good thing.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Drafted 1st Round in 2015, 20yo
Coming off the best season for a 19-year old in KHL history, Samsonov is off to a bit of a rough start with a 2.80 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. But there are two reasons for this. First, Samsonov had hernia surgery over the summer, which hindered him from working out for months. That is probably why he had a poor start in his first four games, posting a .889 save percentage. But after that, over his next eight games, he posted a .929 save percentage, and that includes doing quite poorly his last three games. The second reason for the not so stellar stats is the defensemen in front of him. Over the summer his team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, lost three key defensemen: Viktor Antipin to the Buffalo Sabres, Alexai Bereglazov to the New York Rangers, and Chris Lee to the Los Angeles Kings. Those moves eviscerated the Metallurg defense. The good news is the team was able to recently get Bereglazov back and is working on getting Lee back as well, as he did not make the Kings roster. Those moves would really help the team and Samsonov as well. Still, even with the rough start, Samsonov stands as being one of the best, if not the best goalie prospect not in North America
AHL – Hershey Bears
Quick note on the Hershey Bears: basically they have some growing pains to get through. They have started their season 3-5-0, losing their first three games. There are two big reasons for this. First, the Bears are without either of their starting goaltenders in Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek, who both are injured. The good news is one or both should be back by this upcoming weekend. Currently, the crease is being held down by two ECHL goalies, Parker Milner and newbie Adam Carlson. The second reason there’s a struggle in Hershey is because the vast amount of new faces. Not only do they have three brand new players on the team, but they have SIX AHL rookies. Add that to playing ECHL goalie, and it’s understandable why there has been a struggle. Once they get their goalies back and the new faces learn the Bears’ style of play, they should be competitive again.
Travis Boyd, C, Drafted 6th Round in 2011, 24-years old
Boyd has continued his dominating ways since he’s entered the AHL. In his first two AHL seasons, he has the eighth-most points among the whole league. So far this season, he has one goal and eight assists in nine games. I can go on and on about Boyd, but one thing is for sure, he needs to be in the NHL soon.
Chandler Stephenson, C/LW, Drafted 3rd Round in 2012, 23-years old
Stephenson got off to a hot start with the Bears, scoring five goals and one assist in six games. That’s not his forte, as he’s usually a setup man. It has since earned him a call up and he’s playing on the third-line for the Capitals, with whom he scored his first NHL goal. He has looked good: he’s quick and defensively reliable. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his spot once Andre Burakovsky and Tyler Graovac return from injury.
Colby Williams, RHD, Drafted 6th Round in 2015, 22-years old
Another Bear that’s off to a bit of a hot start with one goal and four assists in nine games. Though that might not sound great, it is for Williams, who is known more for his defense than offense. He scored all of 16 points last season in 60 games played, so to hit nearly a third of that in just nine games is impressive. If he played just 60 games again, he’s averaging 33 points, more than double last season’s total. But, it is only nine games into the season, and he has to do a lot more to prove it isn’t a fluke.
Lucas Johansen, LHD, Drafted 1st Round in 2016, 19-years old
Johansen is being thrown into the deep end without any floaters down in Hershey. He is the youngest player on the Hershey Bears and as a rookie is starting on the top pair. That says a lot about what head coach Troy Mann thinks of him. In just eight games, he has one goal and three assists. Considering he’s playing against other teams’ top players who are much older and holding his own is very impressive. Of all the Capitals’ defensive prospects, Johansen has the highest ceiling, and so far, so good for him.
Riley Barber, RW, Drafted 6th Round in 2012, 23-years old
Barber had a fantastic rookie year and was hoping to improve upon it last season, but was met with a huge injury and was only able to play 39 games. In nine games this season, he has one goal and three assists. Certainly not great, but there’s some things to consider. First, Barber has 29 shots on goal in nine games and only one goal to show for it, so it sounds like he’s been a bit unlucky. One has to think he’s about to burst out and start putting up some numbers. Another note about his shot totals is he’s on pace to hit 243 shots in a 76-game season. Last year’s highest shot total in the AHL was 232. Too small of a sample size to say that will happen, but a good sign nonetheless. Another reason why he might be struggling points-wise is he has John Albert as his center. No offense to Albert, but he isn’t exactly a Travis Boyd. Either way, look for Barber to improve his game and hopefully get some NHL games this season.
Connor Hobbs, RHD, Drafted 5th Round in 2015, 20-years old
After his historic season in the WHL last season, Hobbs is making his debut in the professional game. Starting on the bottom pair for the Bears, Hobbs is tasked with improving his defensive game. Everyone knows he has the offensive skills, but he knows he has to fill out his all-around game to reach a new level. He has one goal and one assist in eight games played. As the season goes along and the more comfortable he gets, expect those numbers to jump. But again, it’s more important he learns his defensive side than just putting up numbers. It is the same game plan Christian Doos went through when he first entered the league and look what happened to him.
Jonas Siegenthaler, LHD, Drafted 2nd Round in 2015, 20-years old
This will be Siegenthaler’s first full season in the AHL. He probably doesn’t need much more seasoning before being ready for the NHL ranks. A very reliable defenseman that has been tasked with second-pairing time in Hershey, he has put up one goal and one assist in nine games. Again, don’t expect big numbers from him. His strength is being defensively smart and he has the skill to get a good pass up the ice and join the rush. Depending how this season goes, he could be pushing for a spot next season on the Capitals’ roster.
Tyler Lewington, RHD, Drafted 7th Round in 2013, 22-years old
Much like Siegenthaler, Lewington isn’t going to blow you away with his offense, as he is a pure defensive defenseman, which shows in his zero points in nine games. Still, he had 17 points last season, so you would like to see at least a couple points by now. Lewington has to prove what few can do: a defensive defensemen that doesn’t hurt his team. He doesn’t have to put up points, but he has to make sure he isn’t the cause of his team getting shellacked with scoring chances because of him. He looked really good in the NHL preseason, but has yet to show himself off in the real thing.
Kristofers Bindulis, LHD, 20-years old, Mason Mitchell, LW, 23-years old, Hampus Gustafsson, C/LW, 24-years old
I’m clumping these three rookies together. All three were signed as college free agents in the spring and have been in and out of the lineup to start the season as they find their game. Combined they have nine games and zero points. They’ll be worth updating more as they find consistent time.
ECHL – South Carolina Stingrways
Tim McGauley, C/LW, Undrafted, 22-years old
After signing with the Capitals as a free agent in the WHL, McGauley’s last two seasons have been derailed by injuries. Luckily, he has stayed healthy for the Stingrays, putting up five assists in four games. Surprisingly, he has played some games at wing when he’s a natural center. He has great skill, but he needs to stay healthy and stay consistent to hit that next level. He could get a Hershey Bear call up this season, which is worth keeping an eye on.
Adam Carlson, G, Undrafted, 23yo
As stated in the AHL section, Carlson has been up with the Hershey Bears to start the season. Considering the rough patch they are going through his .910sv% in 3 games is pretty good. Still, he isn’t quite ready for the AHL and could use 1 more season in the ECHL before making the jump. Still, if one of Vanecek or Copley get hurt again through out the season he should be the first called up.
Parker Milner, G, 27yo
Milner isn’t a Capitals’ prospect but he started the season with the Bears so it’s worth mentioning. In 6 games he posted a .865sv%. He was just sent back down to the Stingrays where he’ll be more at home.
Benton Mass, RHD, Drafted 6th Round in 2017, 18-years old
Probably the most surprising stat presented in this article is Mass, the second-youngest player on the roster at University of New Hampshire and just a rookie, leads his whole team in points. He has zero goals and nine assists in seven games. That’s something else. Obviously, a seven-game sample size shouldn’t be looked into too much, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. If you want to find something to knock on Mass, it’s probably the fact he only has nine shots in seven games. Would like to see that number kick up some, but I can’t find out exactly how much time he is given or what pairing he’s on. If he’s on the bottom-pairing it could explain the low amount of shots.
Steven Spinner, RW, Drafted 6th Round in 2014, 21-years old
Spinner is off to a great start in his Junior year of college at Nebraska-Omaha. He has three goals and four assists in six games, which ties him for the team lead in points. The two players he’s tied with are 23-year old seniors. A good sign for Spinner is his shot totals. Last season, he had only 65 shots in 39 games. So far this season, he has 16 in six games, which in 39 games could equate to 104 shots, nearly 40 better than last season. So far, it’s good for Spinner.
Shane Gersich, C/LW, Drafted 5th Round in 2014, 21-years old
Last year, Gersich had an amazing Sophomore season, potting 21 goals and 16 assists (37 points) in 40 games, turning a lot of heads. But so far, it’s been slow for Gersich, who only has two goals and three assists in eight games. But if you remove the first three games he has two goals and three assists in five games. Still, there’s two big reasons for this and their names are Tyson Jost and Brock Boeser. Those are two high-end talents that left for the NHL, leaving Gersich as the go-to man for North Dakota. This means opponents can focus on the speedy skilled winger a lot more than last season. But I wouldn’t get too worried, Gersich acknowledges the difficulties and plans on getting to a new level. But the biggest concern for the Capitals is: can they get him signed before he decides to hit free agency? We’ll see.
Chase Priskie, RHD, Drafted 6th Round in 2016, 21-years old
After a great Sophomore year in which Priskie notched seven goals and 19 assists in 38 games, Priskie was selected as team captain. He was even talked about one of 20 NCAA players that could get a call to the Olympics (Brian Pinho and Gersich were also discussed). Unfortunately, it seems he suffered an injury early this season and has only played four games, but he does have two goals and one assist in that time. He’s a good two-way defenseman that can skate and quarterback a powerplay. Hopefully he stays healthy and continues leading his team.
Brian Pinho, C, Drafted 6th Round in 2013, 22yo
Just like Priskie, after having a stellar season, Pinho was selected as captain of his team. He had 12 goals and an astounding 28 assists (40 points) in 39 games last season. But so far this season, it’s been less than stellar for the setup man. He only has one goal and two assists in seven games. He will need to step up his game because whether he signs with the Capitals this offseason or another team, he will be need to show he’s worth the roster spot.
Garrett Pilon, C, Drafted 3rd Round in 2016, 19-years old
The small skilled center is off to a good start with five goals and eight assists in 15 games. But probably the most notable part of Pilon’s game is his shooting stats. He has 63 shots in 15 games, that’s over four shots a game. Pilon is not known for his shooting, but his passing. He made comments in the summer on how he wanted to be more of a shooting threat to round out his game. So the fact he’s doing just that is promising. And you would have to think his 7.9 shooting percentage will have to rise a bit.
Beck Malenstyn, LW, Drafted 5th Round in 2016, 19-years old
After putting up an astounding 32 goals (and 24 assists) in 70 games last season, Malenstyn has zero goals and three assists through four games. Sadly, he has been out with an injury and has missed about 10 games. Hopefully he heals up soon and gets back to his goal scoring ways.
Dmitri Zaitsev, LHD, Drafted 7th Round in 2016, 19-years old
A quiet, steady defensemen, Dmitri is proving his defensive prowess so far this season. 15 games into the season he has zero goals, seven assists, and a is a plus-13. I hate the +/- stat, but without watching him it’s the best I have on him. Much like Lewington, he needs to prove his defensive play severely outweighs his lack of offensive production.
By Luke Adomanis