This is the third installment of NoVa Caps’ monthly reports on Washington Capitals’ prospects. The report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of December and provides an overall “Trending” rating for each player. We also provide a Top 5 prospect ranking for each primary position at the end of the report. You can checkout our previous prospect updates here: November, October.
Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, LW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Marthinsen only played one game in his J20 Elit League in December so there isn’t much of an update. He did score a goal in that one game though, bringing his totals to 18 goals and five assists in 17 games. His 18 goals still lead his league by two even though he’s been absent for seven games. The reason he only played one game in his league in December is it looked like he was loaned to two other leagues but he didn’t record any points. Not too worried about it because it’s doubtful he’s getting much time. Hopefully for January he gets back to J20 and continues to dominate.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Fjallby has opened eyes with his play in the 2018 World Junior Championship at the end of the month. His blazing speed on the ice is most notable, but he also shows excellent ice awareness and the ability to create plays. Fjallby”s contract with his SHL team, Djurgardens, runs out this spring, so look for the Caps to potentially make a move in signing him in the near future. Fjallby has one goal and two assists in the WJC. Axel registered one assist in seven games in December, bringing his total to four goals and four assists in 28 SHL games this season.
Damien Riat, LW/RW, Drafted in the Fourth-Round in 2016, 20-years old
After a relatively poor start to the season, Damien Riat had a rebounding month, scoring six goals and five assists in the month of December. Riat now has seven goals and 10 assists in 33 games played this season. His point total leads all 20-and-under players in the NLA and 6th in 24-and-under players. His point total is good for 5th on his team and of the four guys ahead of him the closest in age is four years older.
Tobias Geisser, LHD, Drafted in Fourth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Tobias Geiser has one goal and three assists in 24 games played for EV Zug in the NLA, which is a relatively low season total for the two-way defender. However, we should restate that at 18, Geisser is the youngest player on his team. Geisser wrapped-up the month of December playing for Team Switzerland in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships. Geisser and Team Switzerland beat Team Belarus 3-2 in Switzerland’s opening matchup where Geisser recorded three shots on goal and finished second on the team with 22:07 of ice time.
Kevin Elgestal, LW/RW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2014, 21-years old
Elgestal added a goal and an assist to his totals in December. He now has two goals and three assists in 30 games played for the season.
Sebastian Walffridsson, LHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Walkffridsson has been splitting his season between the SuperElit League and Allsvenskan. His point total for both are two points in 13 games and 3 points in 21 games, respectively. A feisty defensemen that plays a defensive style, he’ll need to grow his offensive game.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Drafted in the First-Round in 2015, 20-years old
Ilya Samsonov has had a bit of a rough go as of late. He had a long break between games, playing in no games between November 22 and December 21. His first KHL game in nearly a month took place on December 21 when Metallurg Magnitogorsk traveled to Moscow to play CSKA. This game was a 4-1 win for Magnitka where Samsonov made 34 saves out of 35 shots. On Christmas Day, the team traveled to Saint Petersburg where they played SKA. This time the game did not go as well for Magnitka as they lost 4-0. Samsonov saved 36 of 40 shots. Two days later he faced Moscow Dynamo. This game was a 5-1 victory for Magnitka where Samsonov had 33 saves in 34 shots. Overall, his KHL statistics for the month of December were 103 saves out of 107 chances for a save percentage of .963. His overall save percentage for the season is now .916 with a 2.67 GAA in 20 games. It’s tough to pinpoint the exact issues facing Samsonov. He’s been relegated to a backup role that has him seeing very little action. In many cases the defense has hung Samsonov (and Metallurg’s starting goalie) out to dry. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan met with Samsonov on December 12th to discuss a future contract. There is a report that a verbal agreement is in place.
AHL – HERSHEY BEARS
Travis Boyd, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2011, 24-years old
Travis Boyd continues to impress on a number of levels. He was called up to the Capitals on December 3 and played in two games for Washington. Although he didn’t make it on the scoring sheet, Boyd looked fairly comfortable and confident on the ice with the Capitals. He was re-assigned to Hershey on December 7. Boyd scored four goals and two assists in 13 games for the Bears in December, including a pair of goals in a 5-2 win over Binghamton on December 23. He has seven goals and 19 assists in 34 games so far this season. Boyd remains second on the Bears in points this season with 26. Look for Boyd to possibly be the next forward callup to the Capitals.
Colby Williams, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2015, 22-years old
Colby Williams continues to have a decent 2017-2018 campaign. Williams registered one goal and on assist in 14 games during the month of December, giving him two goals and nine assists on the season. He is third amongst all Bears defensemen in scoring this season, behind Ness and Johansen. He is currently on pace to surpass last year’s scoring totals by a small margin. As we have previously noted, like Lewington and Siegenthaler, scoring will never be a primary focus of Williams’ game. Williams also raised a few eye brows during Capitals training camp in September, and could,get a long look this coming fall.
Lucas Johansen, LHD, Drafted in the First-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Lucas Johansen continues to have a pretty good rookie season. The Defenseman tallied two goals and an assist in the month of December. Johansen now has five goals and 10 assists in 34 games this season, and remains the leader in points among all Bears defensemen. He is fifth overall on the team in points. One stat to keep an eye on is his shooting percentage, which is currently at 12.8%, the highest on the team by almost four percentage points. He is second on the team in total shots. If his development continues at this pace, it’s not unthinkable that Johansen will be ready to challenge for a roster spot next fall.
Riley Barber, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2012, 23-years old
Barber continues strong play at the AHL and remains one of the top forward prospects for the Capitals. Barber registered three goals and five assists in 14 games in December, giving him nine goals and 11 assists in 35 games this season. Barber scored his 100th AHL point on December 23 against Binghamton. Alternating linemates are testing Barber’s ability to adapt to varying players styles and games, and will be key to his success during the remainder of the season.
Connor Hobbs, RHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2015, 20-years old
Hobbs only played two games in November before suffering a serious upper-body injury. Hobbs returned to action on December 21 and has no points in three games played. He has one goal and one assist in 13 games played this season. January and February will be important months in Hobbs development progress.
Jonas Siegenthaler, LHD, Drafted in the Second-Round in 2015, 20-years old
After a somewhat slow and shaky start, Siegenthaler appears to be settling into the American brand of hockey. Siegenthaler showed inexperience in one-on-one play and puck battles during the early going of the season, but has since began to slowly figure things out. Siegenthaler scored two goals and no assists in the month of December, and continues to lead all Nears defensemen in shots on goal.
Tyler Lewington, RHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2013, 22-years old
Tyler Lewington added four assists to his season totals in December. He now has one goal and five assists in 34 games this year. He is on pace to match last season’s scoring totals, but as we previously noted, scoring will never really be Lewington’s game, as he offers more of physical, sandpaper game.
Mathias Bau, LW, Undrafted, 24 years-old
After a sizzling November (six goals) Bau cooled off a bit in December, but is still an offensive producer for Hershey. Bau is currently sixth on the team in total points. He scored three goals and two assists in 14 games for the Bears in December. Bau was one of the last cuts from the Capitals 2017 training camp roster, and should be considered among the top forwards for some day possibly making the leap to the big club. Bau has an excellent net-front game at the AHL level, and at some point the Caps will likely see if he can translate that to the NHL level. Bau is under contract with the Bears and not the Caps, so if he continues his strong play, Caps may need to consider extending an offer.
Liam O’Brien, C/LW, Undrafted, 23 years old
After being called up by the Capitals in November, O’Brien has done pretty well since being re-assigned to Hershey on November 11th. Liam O’Brien had five goals and one assist in 14 games in December, giving him eight goals and five assists in 31 games this season.
Mason Mitchell, LW, Undrafted, 23-years old
Mason Mitchell remains a part-time starter at Hershey. He registered no goals and two assists in the eight games in the month of December. He now has one goal and three assists in 19 games played this season.
Nathan Walker, LW, Third round, 2014, 23-years old
Nathan Walker’s December update is more of a travelogue than a hockey update. Walker was waived by the Capitals on December 1st and subsequently claimed by the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers would waive Walker on December 20, when he was once again claimed by the Capitals. Walker was re-assigned to Hershey on December 28. As for actual hockey in the month of December, Walker played two games for the Oilers with no points and wrapped up 2017 appearing in two games with the Bears where he registered one assist. The second half of the season will be important for Walker, so that he gets significant playing time. He may be back in Washington at some point.
Although not really a true prospect, we needed a place for Graovac and his monthly analysis. Graovac was waived by the Capitals on December 7 and reported to Hershey. Since arriving in Hershey, Graovac has registered three goals and four assists in 10 games played.
Pheonix Copley, L, Undrafted, 25 years-old
Pheonix Copley is essentially in a position battle with Vitek Vanecek since Vanecek’s return from injury, as the two split time in between the pipes in December. In 16 games this season he has a 3.26 GAA and a .885 save percentage
Vitek Vanecek, L, Drafted in Second-Round in 2014, 21-years old
After starting the season on the injured list, Vitek Vanecek was busy in December. He played in nine games for,the Month. In 11 games this season, he has a 2.40 GAA and a .908 save percentage. Vanecek and Copley are essentially battling for playing time at this point, so it will be interesting to see what the spring has in store for the duo. Who is next up after Philipp Grubauer is essentially at stake, until Ilya Samsonov arrives in Hershey.
ECHL – SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS
Tim McGauley, C/LW, Undrafted, 22-years old
McGauley has had a fairly decent month of December, tallying four goals and six assists in 14 games in the month of December. He now has five goals and 13 assists in 29 games so far this season, already surprising last season’s totals for 36 games.
Kristofers Bindulis, LHD, 20-years old
After being called-up to the Bears in November, Bindulis was re-assigned to South Carolina on December 1. The left-handed Defenseman played in just six games with the Bears this season with no scoring and was a semi-regular scratch. Bindulis has totaled 15 games with Carolina (14 in the month of December) and has two goals and seven assists (all in December). Carolina seems like the right spot for Bindulis at this stage of his development.
Adam Carlson, G, Undrafted, 23-years old
Not much has changed with Adam Carlson, as he remains on the injured list, and has not seen game action since 11/19 versus Atlanta. As we mentioned in November, Carlson had a decent stint in the AHL before going back down to the ECHL, but only played one game before getting hurt. He needs to get and stay healthy.
Hampus Gustafsson, C/LW, 24-years old
The Bears re-assigned Gustafsson to South Carolina on December 12. He played in just one game for Hershey in December where he registered no goals and one assist. Gustafsson has no goals and no assists in five games played for the Stingrays.
Benton Mass, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
After getting off to a hot start in October with nine assists in seven games, Mass (New Hampahire) has continued to cool off. Mass registered no goals and one assist in seven games in December. Mass now has one goal and 11 assists on the season.
Steven Spinner, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2014, 21-years old
Steven Spinner is heating up. Spinner scored three goals and no assists in six games during the month of December. Spinner now has seven goals and six assists in 17 games so far this season for Nebraska-Omaha.
Shane Gersich, C/LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2014, 21-years old
Shane Gersich continues to have a rough go in his Junior year after an attention-grabbing Sophomore season. Gersich registered no goals and two assists in four games in the month of December. Gersich now has five goals and six assists in 20 games this season. As we mentioned in last month’s prospect summary , a potential reason for the downturn might be the fact he has transitioned from having Tyler Jost, a high-end prospect for the Colorado Avalanche, as his center to Rhett Gardner, a decent, not great prospect for the Dallas Stars. Gersich and North Dakota have 16 games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Chase Priskie, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2016, 21-years old
Chase Priskie (Quinnipiac) cooled-off a bit in December, after having a fairly decent November. Priskie registered no goals and two assists in four games in the month of December. Priskie now has five goals and seven assists in 17 games so far this season. Quinnipiac has 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Brian Pinho, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2013, 22-years old
Brian Pinho (Providence College) had a good month of December with the Providence Friars, scoring two goals and two assists in just six games for the Month of December. Pinho was also named MVP of the Three Rivers Classic and to the All-Tournament Team on December 30. After a slow start to the season, Pinho now has seven goals and nine assists in 20 games this season. Pinho and the Providence Friars have 14 games remaining in their regular season.
CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Garrett Pilon, C, Drafted in the Third-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Pilon had a decent December, scoring four goals and two assists in 12 games played during the month. He now has 17 goals and 24 assists in 37 games played this season. Pilon still leads the Kamloops Blazers in goals and assists. Pilon continues to shoot the puck, with 192 SOG. The next closest Blazer has 113 SOG. A potential soft spot in Pilon’s game is his faceoff percentage, which is currently 48.1%. Pilon raised a few eye-brows during the Capitals 2017 Development Camp, so it will be interesting to see his progression when he returns for camp this summer.
Beck Malenstyn, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 19-years old
As we mentioned last month, in November, Malenstyn was traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the Swift Current a broncos, the third-best team in the WHL. The move will allow the left-winger to play with a little higher caliber talent. After sitting out a good portion,of the season with an injury, Malenstyn has returned from injury in decent fashion, registering two goals and two assists in just three games played in the month of December. He will be one to keep a regular eye on in the month of January.
Dmitri Zaitsev, LHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2016, 19-years old
The left-handed Defenseman continues to provide a steady presence for the Moose Jaw Warriors, plying in 32 of 39 games for the Warriors. Zaitsev’s scoring is up in December, scoring two goals and three assists in 12 games played in December. It will be interesting to see if the scoring continues for Zaitsev in January.
TOP FIVE RANKINGS
A new feature to our monthly prospect reports attempts to pull all of the monthly information together and provide a top 5 ranking of propspects for forwards, defensemen and goalies. It’s important to keep in mind that the rankings reflect current “readiness” for the NHL, and does not reflect future potential, etc. The ranking may also include players that are not officially under contract with the Capitals at the date of this report.
By Jon Sorensen