This is the fourth installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals’ monthly prospects report. The report is a compendium of stats, notes and news for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of January, 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: December, November, October.
The report organizes Capitals prospects by the five primary leagues or regions of play:
Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, LW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Marthinsen played in just three J20 Elite games in January, but scored four goals and one assist. That brings his total in 20 games to 22 goals and six assists. That 22 goals is tied for the league lead, though the player he’s tied with has played three more games. It’s still inexplicable as to why Kristian can rack up so many goals and so few assists, but we’ll take goals over assists every day of the week. His 28 points are good enough for second on his team.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Axel had a pretty good showing in the 2018 World Juniors, scoring two goals (both shorthanded) and two assists in seven games for Team Sweden. Fjallby continued his great play after World Juniors, adding two assists and two goals in three SHL games in January, bringing his total to six goals and six assists in 31 games. Those numbers aren’t staggering, but he is the second youngest player on his team, so he isn’t getting prime minutes. The world saw just how good he was in the World Juniors, so hopefully his team starts to trust him more.
Damien Riat, LW/RW, Drafted in the Fourth-Round in 2016, 20-years old
Damien Riat started January playing right wing on the top line, but was switched to the second-line mid-month. In mid-January, an article in the French publiction Le Matin suggested that Riat will most likely leave GE Servette at the end of the season and re-sign with another team in Switzerland, passing on any (immediate) potential opportunity in North America (Hershey). Riat continued his great play from December into January. In nine NLA games he scored four goals and added two assists. His point total now is at 11 goals and 12 assists in 43 games. What’s even more spectacular about this is he’s the youngest player, 20 years old, on the team (among starters) yet fourth on the team in points. The three players ahead of him are 27, 28, and 24-years old respectively. His 23 points is the most among 20-year olds or younger, the next closest is a player with seven points in 34 games. That’s a 16-point difference. He’s also sixth in 24 and unders.
Tobias Geisser, LHD, Drafted in Fourth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
In nine January games, Greisser picked up zero points, bringing his total to one goal and three assists in 33 games. Again, no need to be worried. He’s an 18-year-old playing against men in the NLA. The next player on his team is nearly two years older. He needs to take the same road as Jonas Siegenthaler: get over to North America as soon as possible and help find his offensive game.
Kevin Elgestal, LW/RW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2014, 21-years old
Kevin had himself a pretty good January. He potted two goals and four assists in seven games. That is by far his best month this season. He now has four goals and five assists in 38 games. Maybe he can build off his January to finish the season strong.
Sebastian Walffridsson, LHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Walffridsson continues to split his time between the SuperElit League and Allsvenskan. In the SuperElit league he added one point in four games, and then added zero points in eight games in Allsvenskan. But points aren’t his game. It’s playing a feisty defensive game.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Drafted in the First-Round in 2015, 20-years old
For goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov, the month of January began with hard luck losses and ended with wins. Samsonov appeared in four games, three games as starter, and the other game in relief. His first appearance of the month was against Dynamo Minsk on January 3 at home, where Metallurg Magnitogorsk lost 2-1. Minsk scored the winning goal with a little less than five minutes to go in the game as Magnitka lost a heartbreaker. He next appeared in relief in a game on January 9, when they played Slovan in Bratislava. Magnitka’s Number One goalie, Vasily Koshechkin, had already given up three goals nearly half way through the game, when he was replaced with Samsonov. Samsonov gave up only one goal but was designated the losing goalie; that goal was the opposing team’s fourth goal, even though Magnitka had never tied up the game. The final score was 4-3. Due to the KHL All-Star Break, Samsonov did not appear in another game until January 18, when Metallurg Magnitogorsk played Ugra. This time, Samsonov shutout the opposition as his team won 3-0. In his final start, which was the team’s final game before the Olympic break, he was the winning goalie in a game that Magnitka won 4-1. For the month of January, Samsonov made 89 saves and faced 93 shots, for a save percentage of .957. This brought his overall save percentage up to .922. He won two and lost two as his record is now 10-9. In other recent news, International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave the Russian Ice Hockey Federation a list of players who can participate in the Olympics. This means the players are “clean” from a doping standpoint but other factors involved in that list as well. Samsonov’s name was included on that list. He was not selected for the Russian Olympic team.
AHL (HERSHEY BEARS)
The Bears continue to struggle this season, finishing January on an eight-game losing skid. The Bears finished the month with an overall record of 17-21-3-4 (41 points) and sat in the cellar of the Atlantic Division. It is pretty clear that the loss of Paul Carey, Christian Thomas, Stanislav Galiev and Jakub Vrana is still being felt, as the Bears have only scored more than three goals once during their losing streak and sit 14th in the Eastern Conference in goals scored (113). Offensive production will likely take another hit when Chris Bourque leaves for the Olympics. Hershey’s young defense, led by third-year pro Tyler Lewington and the growth of Jonas Siegenthaler and Lucas Johansen, is showing signs of stabilizing and improving. However, the Bears’ goaltending and defense has been directly affected by the team’s inability to produce offensively. The Bears have 31 games remaining in the regular season. 17 on the road and 14 at Giant Center.
Travis Boyd, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2011, 24-years old
Boyd played in his 200th professional game on 1/27 (198 with the Bears and two with the Caps). After a fairly hot start to the season, Boyd, like much of the team has cooled off a bit in the middle part of the season. Boyd registered two goals and two assists in 10 games in the month of January, bringing his season totals to nine goals and 22 assists in 44 games (31 points) so far this season. Boyd continues to center the top-line for the Bears, but his linemates have continuously evolved over the month, as Bears head coach Troy Mann is continuing to scramble to try to find some kind of scoring. Boyd, who finished as Hershey’s leading scorer with 63 points (16 goals, 47 assists) in the 2016-2017 season, will have to catch fire to come anywhere close to those totals this season.
Colby Williams, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2015, 22-years old
Not much as gone right for Colby Williams in recent weeks. First, he was suspended for three games after a high hit broke the jaw of Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel. Since coming back from his suspension, Williams has struggled. In his first game back, he was a minus -2 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and turned the puck over several times. He was nearly a minus-3 after he tried to skate through two Penguins and turned the puck over at his own blueline. Goaltender Pheonix Copley bailed him out with a big save. Against Bridgeport, Williams took two penalties and his cross-checking infraction in the second period would prove costly. Bridgeport tallied on the power play with what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Prior to his suspension, Williams had a goal and assist in three games. He has not had any points since. The second-year defenseman is struggling with confidence right now and is not playing at the level he did as a rookie.
Lucas Johansen, LHD, Drafted in the First-Round in 2016, 19-years old
The first professional season for Lucas Johansen has been a bit of a rollercoaster. After a rough first four games of the season, Johansen settled in and his offense took off. He had eight points in his next eight games. Then, he netted goals in back-to-back games, both against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on December 8 and 9. However, his offense has dried up since then. Johansen has not scored a goal in his last 19 games and only has two assists in that span. His defense took a step back in mid-December, but Johansen’s defensive play has steadied since being paired with Tyler Lewington in recent weeks. Still, the Bears need Johansen to find his offensive game. During their eight-game losing streak, Hershey has zero goals from defensemen. That is not enough on a team that is offensively-challenged. As the team’s leading scorer on the back-end with five goals and 11 assists, the Bears need more production from Johansen.
Riley Barber, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2012, 23-years old
Barber started the month of January off great with three goals and one assist in the first four games, but like the rest of the Bears, he went cold after that. He has zero points in the last six games. He does, however, have 20 shots in the those six games. To me, Barber is the embodiment of the Bears this season: just can’t buy a goal.
Connor Hobbs, RHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2015, 20-years old
Hobbs on the other hand had a slow start to January with zero points in the first three games but grabbed three assists over the last seven games, adding 14 shots in that span. The Bears are really hoping Hobbs finds his high-end offensive potential soon, because they are desperate for goals.
Jonas Siegenthaler, LHD, Drafted in the Second-Round in 2015, 20-years old
Jonas had just two assists in 10 January games, but that isn’t too surprising. He’s a defensive defenseman that is still having trouble adapting to the North American game. Turnovers still plague him, but that isn’t too surprising. He isn’t used to the speed of the game over here and it’s something he’ll need to adapt to stay successful. He only had eight shots in January and though he is supposed to be on the defensive side, it’s something we’d like to see an uptick in.
Tyler Lewington, RHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2013, 22-years old
Lewington has been one of the bright spots for Hershey this season. He is one of only two Bears who are plus players and his plus-1 is tops among the team’s defensemen. His plus/minus rating has taken a bit of a hit during the team’s eight-game losing skid, but that is to be expected. Lewington does not provide much offensively, having tallied one assist in January, but that is not his game. He is a steady stay-at-home defenseman and is the best blueliner in that role on the team. His positioning in his own zone is usually solid and he makes smart decision on passes exiting his own zone. He does not try to force a pass in order to try to hit a home run pass. The Bears have tried that on several occasions and it has resulted in odd-man rushes for the opposing team. He just makes sure that the puck gets out. He has been a key cog in a Bears penalty kill that ranks ninth in the American Hockey League, killing off penalties at a rate of 84.5%. Lewington also provides a physical presence. He leads the team in fights with seven and in penalty minutes with 101. While the Bears would like to have Lewington on the ice and not in the penalty box, it is important not to take his edge away. Overall, Lewington has one goal and six assists on the season. He is deserving of his first call up to the NHL in the event of an injury in Washington.
Mathias Bau, LW, Undrafted, 24 years-old
“Big Boy” Bau had a measly three assists and zero goals in 10 January games. The funny thing about Bau’s results is he had just 29 shots in 26 games through November and December, but had nine goals. Bau threw 24 shots at the net in just 10 January games with zero goals to show for it.
Liam O’Brien, C/LW, Undrafted, 23 years old
O’Brien had a relatively quiet January scoring just one goal and no assists in 10 games for the month. He now has eight goals and six assists in 41 games played this season.
Mason Mitchell, LW, Undrafted, 23-years old
Mitchell had no goals and one assist in just five games played, and continues to be a semi-regular healthy scratch.
Nathan Walker, LW, Third round, 2014, 23-years old
Nathan Walker needed game action after spending much of November and December on the long-term press box list in the NHL. Walker has found his legs in Hershey and his signature full-speed ahead game has returned. He is one of the few Bears that has shown up to play every night during the losing skid. Walker is one of three Hershey players to have scored more than one goal during the eight-game losing streak. He is back to mixing it up with whoever is in his way and his speed has been evident. His offensive game is picking up as well. He has netted two goals and chipped in with three assists in January. Walker tallied his first goal of the season in the Outdoor Classic on January 20 against Lehigh Valley and it was an effort goal. He beat the Phantoms defenseman to a rebound and chipped it in. Walker is finding his game and should continue to improve as the season progresses.
Tyler Graovac, C/LW, Seventh-round (Minnesota), 24-years-old
Graovac had a decent month for the Bears, scoring three goals and registering one assist in 10 games played. He now has seven goals and six assists since joining the Bears on December 8th.
Pheonix Copley, L, Undrafted, 25 years-old
After giving up 26 goals in a six-game stretch from December 1 to December 21, Pheonix Copley has steadied his play. He has surrendered 16 goals in his last eight games. In six of those games, he gave up two goals or fewer. Unfortunately for Copley, his improved play has not translated to wins. He has two wins in that stretch. His best performance came in a 5-1 win over Charlotte on January 6. The Bears were being outshot 19 to nine after two periods, but Copley stopped 18 of the 19 shots and Hershey led 2-1. The Bears scored three times in the third to open the game up. The native of Alaska made 32 saves in the game. That was his last victory. He has been hurt by Hershey’s inability to put the puck in the back of the net. On January 17, he stopped all 18 shots he faced in relief of Vitek Vanecek in Springfield. His play allowed the Bears to rally from a 4-2 deficit to force overtime, but then lost in a shootout. On Saturday, he stopped 13 shots in the first period in Bridgeport to keep his team in the game, but the offense only scored once and Hershey lost 3-1. His GAA has dropped to 2.91 after being 3.26 after December. He has also raised his save percentage from .885 to .891.
Vitek Vanecek, L, Drafted in Second-Round in 2014, 21-years old
Vitek Vanecek was on fire for the month of December. He won five times and was clearly Hershey’s best player. He started off January the same way. He stopped all 29 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout over Charlotte on January 7. He surrendered two goals in his next start versus Lehigh Valley on January 13, but only got one goal in support and lost 2-1. Vanecek’s last two starts have not gone as well. Springfield found success going low to Vanecek’s glove side on January 17. He was beaten four times on 11 shots and was pulled from the game in the second period. Then, he gave up five goals in his next start against the Providence Bruins on January 26. In that contest, he was hurt by undisciplined play by the Bears, as the Bruins struck for three power play goals. Vanecek has seen his GAA rise to 2.60 (was 2.40 after December) and his save percentage drop to .901 from .908. Overall, Vanecek has been solid this season. Like Copley, he has been hurt by Hershey’s inability to score. It is hard on the goalies when they cannot give up more than a goal because if they do, it is likely that the team loses because the offense rarely scores more than two goals in a game.
ECHL – SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS
The Stingrays have had a pretty successful season to date, amassing a record of 27-10-4-1 (59 points), good enough for second place in the Eastern Division, five points behind the Florida Everblades.
Tim McGauley, C/LW, Undrafted, 22-years old
After a good start to the season, McGauley cooled in November, and was a healthy scratch for a few game. However, things may be turning around for him. McGauley scored five goals and five assists in the month of January, in life goals in the last three games of the month. McGauley has already doubled-up his offensive production from his rookie season. McGauley suited up for 39 games with the Stingrays during 2016-2017 season, scoring 17 points on four goals and 13 assists. So far this season, he has 10 goals and 18 assists in 39 games. In a recent interview with the Post and Courier, Stingrays head coach Ryan Warsofsky had positive words for McGauley. “I would have to say these last four or five games have been the most consistent games of his career as a pro,” Warsofsky said. “I think he’s starting to figure out what it takes to compete in this league. He’s winning battles on the wall and doing the little things.” McGauley finished the month at left wing on the second line for the Stingrays.
Kristofers Bindulis, LHD, 20-years old
As we noted in our December report, Bindulis was re-assigned from Hershey to South Carolina on December 1st. Bindulis registered one goal and one assst for the month of January. Bindulis has three goals and seven assists in 24 games this season.
Adam Carlson, G, Undrafted, 23-years old
After missing most of the first half of the season due to injury, Carlson returned to somewhat consistent play this month, playing in four games in January. In five games this season, Carlson has a 2.80 GAA and a .893 save percentage. Carlson stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced in an outing against Norfolk on January 28th, however, he gave up four goals on just 19 shots faced against Norfolk on 1/30. On 1/31 the Capitals announced that Carlson was recalled from the South Carolina Stingrays and re-assigned to the Indy Fuel. Carolina has had three goalies on their roster all season, thus the move will allow Carlson to see more playing time.
Hampus Gustafsson, C/LW, 24-years old
The 24-year-old attacker is currently in his rookie season after signing with the Washington Capitals as a free agent in March of 2017. The “up and down” season for Gustafsson continued this month. After being called up to Hershey in December, Gustafsson was returned to South Carolina on January 9. However, Gustafsson has had a good month of January with the Stingrays, scoring four goals and registering three assists in 10 games.
Benton Maass, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2017, 18-years old (Fr)
Maass started the new year with a goal against Brown on 1/6. The Freshman Defenseman totaled two goals and no assists for the month, bringing his season’s offensive totals to three goals and 11 assists in 26 games. Maass, 6′-2″, 195 lbs, is showing well for a Freshman so far this season. New Hampshire has eight games remaining in the regular season.
Steven Spinner, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2014, 21-years old (Jr)
Spinner started the new year with an assist against Capitals Prospect Shane Gersich and North Dakota in the Omaha-Nebraska’s first game of 2018. After the opening game of 2018 Spinner was held off the score sheet until the final game in January, when he tallied a goal and an assist in a 7-2 blowout against Western Michigan. Spinner registered one goal and two assists for the month of January, bringing his season totals to eight goals and eight assists in 25 games. Spinner is currently playing right wing on the second-line.
Shane Gersich, C/LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2014, 21-years old (Jr)
Gersich started 2018 and the second half of the North Dakota season with a and two assists in the opening weekend series against Omaha-Nebraska. After a somewhat quiet middle of the month Gersich was dropped to the fourth-line, but was re-positioned to left wing on the second-line by the end of the month. Gersich registered three goals and six assists in eight games for the month of January, easily his best month of the season. He now has eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games this season. UND has eight games remaining in the regular season.
Chase Priskie, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2016, 21-years old (Jr)
The Bobcats Defenseman had a decent month offensively, scoring two goals and three assists in just eight games for the month, bringing his season totals to seven goals and 10 assists in just 25 games. Priskie has been a steady force on Quinnipiac’s power play, scoring five of his seven goals this season with the power play unit. Priskie is a plus-2 and shooting 10.8% on 65 shots for the season. Quinnipiac has nine games remaining in the regular season. Priskie is 5′-11, and 192 lbs.
Brian Pinho, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2013, 22-years old (Sr)
Pinho continued his up-tic in January. He scored a goal and added an assist against Brown on January 3 in the annual “Mayors Cup”. “Brian’s second half of the game, he was really dominant. He was excellent against Robert Morris in the championship game (in PC’s win on Saturday),″ said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “It’s all about him getting his feet moving. When he’s moving his feet he’s pretty darn effective. He made a great play on his goal. A lot of poise there.″ Pinho added another goal and two assists against Merrimack on 1/6. Pinho totaled four goals and five assists in eight games in January. He now has 11 goals and 14 assists in 28 games this season. Providence College has six games remaining in the regular season. Finally, Pinho has been named one of the 74 nominees for college hockey’s highest honor, the Hobey Baker Award.
CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Garrett Pilon, C, Drafted in the Third-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Garrett Pilon opened the 2018 calendar with a goal and an assist against the Victoria Royals on 1/6. On January 7, the Everett Silvertips acquired Pilon in in a four-player transaction with Kamloops. Pilon, 19, led Kamloops in scoring as an alternate captain through 39 games this season with 44 points (18g-26a) and was tops on the Blazers in goals (18), assists (26), power play assists (13), power play points (17), shorthanded goals (2), and shots (205). In January Pilon totaled six goals, including a hat trick on January 13th, his second “hatty” of the season. He also tallied 10 assists for a total of 16 points in January. Pilon now has 23 goals and 34 assists in 49 games this season. Pilon is currently centering the second-line for Everett. Look for Pilon to possibly return to Hershey this spring, like he did last season, but also look for him to be on the Hershey roster in September.
Beck Malenstyn, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Beck Malenstyn, who played just four games with the Calgary Hitmen before being injured on Sept. 30, made his Swift Current debut Dec. 27 . Malenstyn, who signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals last April, suited up for 74 games for the Hitmen over the past two seasons registering 59 points. He was the Capitals’ fifth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Malenstyn totaled four goals and two assists in January, bringing his season total with both clubs to six goals and seven assists in just 22 games this season. Look for Malenstyn to possibly spend some time with Hershey this spring. He is also a potential winger for Hershey’s roster this fall.
Dmitri Zaitsev, LHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2016, 20-years old
The stay-at-home Defenseman has show solid development on the backend so far this season. The 6′-1″ left handed Defenseman had a fairly decent offensive month, scoring three goals and registering five assists. He now has five goals and 18 assists in 44 games this season with Moose Jaw.
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 prospects for forwards, defensemen and goalies. It’s important to keep in mind that the rankings reflect current “readiness” for an NHL call-up, 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, Luke Adomanis, Diane Doyle and Eric Lord.