This is the sixth installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals’ monthly prospect report for the 2017-2018 season. The report is a compendium of stats, news and analysis for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of March. You can check out our previous prospect reports here: February, January, December, November, October. Or you can always visit our “Prospects” section found in the main menu above.
The report organizes the Capitals’ prospects by the five primary leagues or regions of play. These include:
All news, stats and data were aggregated and compiled throughout the month of March and finalized on or just prior to March 31, 2018.
Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen, LW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2017, 18-years old
No changes from February. Marthinsen ended the season in the J20 Elite league with 23 goals and eight assists in 23 games. His 23 goals were good for second in the league but the player ahead of him played six more games and only had two more goals. At Marthinsen’s rate, he would have easily passed for the goal lead. Overall, a great season for the 18-year old sniper. Hopefully he can carry over that goal dominance into the higher leagues.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby has had a pretty good playoff series for his team, Djurgarden (Swedish Hockey League), as Djurgarden beat Linkoping in five games. He scored one goal in the team’s first game on March 18. He scored the game-winning goal in Game 3 in a game they won 4-3 on March 22. On March 24, he scored the first and the last goal for Djurgarden in a game they won 4-2. He scored one goal on March 26 when the team won 5-4, won the series, and advanced to the Semi-Final round of the Swedish League playoffs. Overall, he has five goals and one assist for six points in postseason play. His five goals currently leads the Swedish Hockey League in playoff goals which is impressive since his team has played just five games, while other teams had to play the full round of seven games. His six total points are just one point behind the leaders, who are in a five-way tie for first. Djurgarden does not resume action until April 3 when they begin their series against Skelleftea. According to HockeyNews.se, Capitals Assistant General Manager Ross Mahoney was in attendance to watch a recent game of the Capitals’ 2016 fifth-round draft pick, but did not meet with Jonson-Fjallby. According to Fjallby, he was not aware of Mahoney’s attendance, and has never met with Mahoney. The article also states that the Capitals will extend an offer for an entry-level contract as soon as Djurgarden’s postseason run is completed.
Damien Riat, LW/RW, Drafted in the Fourth-Round in 2016, 20-years old
Riat finished the regular season with 12 goals and 12 assists in 48 games played in the 2017-2018 season. He followed that up with one assist in five games in the playoffs. Much like Fjallby’s case, Riat didn’t get much of a chance in the NLA (National League) since he was the third-youngest player on the roster. Still, he was able to score the sixth-most points among his team. As you may recall, per an RTS Sport report published on February 3, Riat will leave Geneva-Servette at the end of this season. Riat has reportedly signed a contract with Biel, currently third in the standings, for the next two seasons, until 2020. Riat has an “out clause” in the contract if the Capitals sign him before July 20, however, a decision regarding Riat will need to be made much sooner.
Tobias Geisser, LHD, Drafted in Fourth-Round in 2017, 19-years old
On March 22, the Capitals signed defenseman Tobias Geisser to a three-year entry-level contract beginning in the 2018-19 season. Geisser’s contract will carry an average annual value (AAV) of $867,000. Geisser ended his season with just two goals and four assists in 38 NLA games, but he was the youngest player on his team by almost two years, and was consistently going up against men as an 18-year old. He turned 19 in February. He was just signed to an entry-level deal by the Capitals so they must have really liked what Geisser was showing against tough opponents. He’s a big guy that can skate very well. That’s a great combo to have in the modern NHL. He’ll most likely stay in Switzerland for another season before coming over. Both Geisser and Riat were invited to the Switzerland pre-camp for the International Ice Hockey Federation World tournament. So we might see them on a bigger stage at the beginning of May.
Kevin Elgestal, LW/RW, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2014, 21-years old
In the last three games of the regular season, Elgestal added one goal. That brought his season total to seven goals and six assists in 49 games. The 21-year old is at a crossroads. He hasn’t been impressive since being drafted and it may not be enough for the Capitals to offer him a contract. However, he was just a seventh-round pick, so there may be little harm in a player not working out.
Sebastian Walffridsson, LHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2017, 18-years old
Walffridsson ended his SuperElit season with two goals and two assists in 24 games, while finishing with three assists in 31 games in the Allvenskan league. A pure defensive player with a nastiness to his game, he will make sure opposing players are uncomfortable if they’re in his zone. The Caps don’t have many nasty players outside of Tyler Lewington, so it’s good to have one in the system. Only time will tell if his defensive side of the game is strong enough to make an impact in North America.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Drafted in the First-Round in 2015, 21-years old
Ilya Samsonov’s team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, was eliminated from the playoffs during the second round in March. Samsonov appeared in goal during both rounds of the playoffs. He started their first two games in Round 1 against Avtomobilist, where the team won 3-2 in the first game on March 4, but lost the second game on March 5, 2-1. During Round 2 against Ak Bars, he made two relief appearances, in Game 2 and Game 3 in games that Magnitka lost. He started Game 4 and the team lost 4-1. Overall, for his playoff appearances, he saved 85 shots out of the 94 shots that he faced for a Save Percentage of .913. Samsonov finished the regular season with a 2.31 GAA, and a .926 save percentage in 26 games played. Samsonov’s current contract with Metallurg officially expires on April 30. You may recall that Samsonov and Capitals’ General Manager Brian MacLellan met in Moscow back in the middle of December. Following the meeting, it was reported that the two camps agreed to a basic contract structure, but nothing was signed. The next step will be for the Capitals to get an entry-level contract in place and signed. This could and should happen fairly quickly.
AHL (HERSHEY BEARS)
As the 2017-18 American Hockey League (AHL) season heads into its final weeks, the Hershey Bears will not have a playoff race to worry about. The Bears will miss the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season, and for just the 13th time in the franchise’s 80-year history. Now the Hershey players, both prospects and veterans alike, are playing for their future.
Travis Boyd, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2011, 24-years old
The Bears’ second-leading scorer has not spent much time in Hershey in the month of March. Instead, he has been up in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals. Boyd did manage to score his first career NHL point during his recall. He assisted on Alex Ovechkin’s goal on March 18 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin autographed his stick from the goal and gave it to Boyd as a memento of the goal. The assist was Boyd’s only point in five games in Washington. Still, the fact Boyd saw action in five games in a tight Metropolitan Division race shows how much faith the Capitals have in him. That is a good thing for Boyd’s career moving forward. Since returning to the Bears, he has three assists for the Chocolate and White, including a two-assist game in a 6-3 win over Laval on March 31. Boyd has no goals and three assists in five games since rejoining the Bears. He has 15 goals (3rd behind O’Brien and Barber) and 32 assists (2nd behind Bourque) in 61 games played with the Bears this season. Boyd is averaging .77 points per game and has generated 168 shots for a 8.9 shooting percentage. Boyd is a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Colby Williams, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2015, 22-years old
The rough sophomore campaign for Williams continued in the month of March. He only has two assists in the month, offensively. Also, his defensive play continues to be an issue. For example, Williams had the puck behind the goal line on the right in the second period of a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins on March 11. His attempted pass to Aaron Ness was intercepted by Griffin Matt Puempel behind the net. Puempel passed the puck out to Ben Street and Street beat Pheonix Copley to give Grand Rapids a 3-0. Later in the same period, Williams tried to force a pass from his own zone between two Griffins players in the center of the ice. The pass had zero chance of getting through and it did not. Grand Rapids got a good scoring chance out of the play, but Copley bailed out his defenseman. Williams’ play in his own zone has become a liability. He needs to make smarter decisions with the puck. Williams has one year remaining on his deal with the Capitals at $751,000 AAV.
Lucas Johansen, LHD, Drafted in the First-Round in 2016, 19-years old
After going 30 games without a goal, Johansen finally netted a goal in the first period at Lehigh Valley on March 2. He also added an assist in the same game. Since then, he has gone 10 games without a goal and has four assists in that time. He has six points in total in March. While that is two more points than he had in February, it still is not enough from a player who is as offensively-skilled as Johansen. With their offensive struggles, the Bears need more offense from defensemen like Johansen. Yes, that is a lot to put on a young player, but it is the state of the Hershey Bears this season. Johansen is a gifted player. He needs to find more consistency in his offensive game. Defensively, Johansen has improved. He is a plus-4 for March and has improved his decision-making process in his own end. His positioning has also improved. Earlier in the season, he would wander from his defensive position and leave a player open. As the season as gone on, Johansen has done that less and less. He has learned from his earlier mistakes.
Riley Barber, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2012, 24-years old
Barber was on fire in February. He tallied eight goals and five assists in the month. He started March off well with a goal and two assists in his first three games in the month. Then, Barber suffered a shoulder injury in a game at Syracuse on March 9. The injury turned out to be season-ending. Barber was really coming into his own as an offensive player prior to the injury. He was Hershey’s best offensive player at the time. Now, he must heal his shoulder and try to pick his momentum back up in training camp. Barber totaled 20 goals and 18 assists in 60 games played this season. Even with the injury, Barbe still leads the Bears in shots with 178 for a 11.2 shooting percentage. At 24, next year will be huge for Barber as he is quickly approaching a crossroads with regards to making the final leap to the Capitals. Barber is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Connor Hobbs, RHD, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2015, 20-years old
March has been a lost month for Hobbs. He has only played four games in the month after being injured in the March 2 game against Lehigh Valley. He is scoreless for the month. Hobbs did make probably his best defensive play of the season in his return to the lineup on March 24 against Hartford. Vitek Vanecek made a great save on John Albert on a breakaway. However, Vanecek left a rebound and the puck came to Scott Kosmachuk. With a gaping net, Kosmachuk fired a shot, but Hobbs blocked the shot with his face and preventing a clear goal. He blocked another shot with his body to save a goal against Laval on March 31. In that same game, Hobbs continued to make some unnecessary mistakes. He lost his positioning in his own zone in the second period and found himself higher than the forwards. Fortunately for Hobbs, the Bears were able to clear the puck. In the third period, he took a needless penalty with 5:56 remaining in the game. He knocked down a Laval player near the boards with the Bears up 6-3. The smart play would have been to just let the Laval player go and not put his team shorthanded. Sooner or later, he needs to learn to play smart.
Jonas Siegenthaler, LHD, Drafted in the Second-Round in 2015, 20-years old
The Swiss-born defenseman snapped a 40-game goalless drought with a goal in the first period on March 18 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He then added another tally in the third period for his first career two-goal game. Those two goals were the only points Siegenthaler had in March, but he is not known for his offense. He is more of a stay-at-home defenseman. Unlike Williams, Siegenthaler usually makes the smart decision in his own zone. He does not try to force a pass that is not there. His positioning is also usually sound. Yes, there are nights when he makes mistakes, but he does not make the same mistake over-and-over again. Having a full season in North America will help Siegenthaler’s development moving forward and he should continue to improve.
Tyler Lewington, RHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2013, 23-years old
Lewington has been Hershey’s best defenseman all season. Yet, the month of March did not start out well for him. He was a season-worst minus-4 in a loss to Lehigh Valley on March 2. He responded by a plus-4 in his next three games. Lewington had no goals and one assist in 11 games played in the month of March. Lewington is tied with Aaron Ness for the lead among Hershey defensemen (who have played in more than half of the games) in plus/minus with a minus-2. The Edmonton, Alberta native leads the team in penalty minutes with 142. He is always there to stand up for his teammates. He has a team-leading 10 fights on the season. His 10th fight earned him an automatic suspension. Lewington has improved every season of his career. He is deserving of a recall to Washington if the Capitals need a defenseman. Lewington will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He currently makes $665,000 AAV under his current deal with the Capitals. A solid cornerstone for the Bears defense over the past few seasons, the Capitals will need to consider re-signing Lewington. However, the Capitals’ defensive prospect pipeline is beginning to flow to Hershey, so the organization will have a number of options to consider.
Liam O’Brien, C/LW, Undrafted, 23-years old
After scoring six goals in February to set a new career-high, O’Brien has added to that goal total in March. He netted three goals in the month to move his career-high to 17. He also had one assist. O’Brien was a minus player once in his first 11 games in March. He is third on the team in plus/minus among forwards who have played more than half of the games with a minus-2 (Hampus Gustafsson is a plus-4, but has only played in 24 games) . O’Brien did accrue 23 penalty minutes in the month, but that still only brings his season total to 79. Last season, he finished with 117 penalty minutes (a career-low). O’Brien’s ability to stay out of the box has allowed him to contribute more. O’Brien is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Mason Mitchell, LW, Undrafted, 23-years old
The Bears announced on 3/29 that Mitchell was their American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The following day (3/30) he was re-assigned to South Carolina for playing time, and for a chance to be eligible for the ECHL playoffs. Mitchell scored a goal in his first game with the Stingrays on 3/30. It’s been our feeling that Mitchell should have spent a majority of the season in South Carolina, to work on his game. Mitchell played in one game for the Bears in March. Mitchell has one goal and four assists in 29 games played this season with the Bears. Mitchell signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals beginning with the 2017-18 season, at $883,750 AAV.
Nathan Walker, LW, Third round, 2014, 23-years old
Walker had 10 points in February. His offense has dried up a little this month. He has three goals and an assist in March. Two of those goals came against Springfield on March 17. The second of those goals was the game-winner in a 4-2 Hershey win, earning him the game’s first star. One thing that has not changed is Walker’s effort. The Aussie comes to play every night. He brings energy each game. Walker is often found mixing it up with bigger players. He still is one of the team’s best penalty killers and finds ways to contribute even when he does not score. The Aussie went down with an injury on March 28 and missed the last two games of the month. Walker has one more year on his deal with the Capitals.
Madison Bowey, D, Second-Round in 2013, 22-years old
After playing in Hershey’s season opening loss at Lehigh Valley on October 7, Bowey was recalled to the Washington Capitals. He stayed in the NHL into March, playing in 51 games for the Capitals. He chipped in with 12 assists in the NHL. Washington added two defensemen at the trade deadline and Bowey’s playing opportunities were reduced. As a result, the Capitals sent him back to Hershey to get playing time. Sometimes, players who are in the NHL come back to the AHL with an attitude. They play like they do not want to be there. To Bowey’s credit, he came to Hershey with the right attitude. He has played well and hard. He has eight points in eight games since returning to the Bears and has been an even player during that time. He netted both goals in Hershey’s 2-1 win over Hartford on March 24. Bowey has also had two games in which he has had two assists. He has used his increased ice time to improve his game. That is a positive for Bowey going forward and should lead him back to Washington. Bowey is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Tyler Graovac, C/LW, Seventh-round (Minnesota), 24-years-old
Graovac has stepped up his game in the early parts of 2018. Bears radio announcer Zack Fisch commented on a game broadcast on 3/9 that he noticed Graovac has been using his size more and more to gain an advantage in puck battles and puck control. Graovac has provided a summer of light in a somewhat dark season in Hershey. It’s likely the Bears would like to have him back next season. However, at 24, the upside of Graovac at the NHL level is diminishing. Graovac is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Hampus Gustafsson, C/LW, 24-years old
The 24-year-old forward is currently in his rookie season after signing with the Capitals as a free agent in March of 2017. Gustafsson played in 10 games with Hershey at the end of the 2016-17 season after signing with the Caps. He started the season in Hershey before being re-assigned to South Carolina on 12/12. While with South Carolina, Gustafsson scored five goals and seven assists in 29 games played this season. Gustafsson was recalled by Hershey on March 8. Since rejoining the Bears, he has tallied three goals and two assists in 10 games in March. Gustafsson, 24, previously skated in 14 games with the Bears this season, tallying two assists. The rookie forward joined the Bears last March on an amateur tryout agreement, posting two assists in 10 games, and also appeared in four playoff games. Gustafsson’ deal with the Capitals expires at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Tim McGauley, C/LW, Undrafted, 22-years old
McGauley was playing very well for the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL. He had 13 goals and 23 assists in 48 games. He scored a highlight reel goal on February 20 that ended up being the number five play on the ESPN’s Sportscenter Top 10 Plays. McGauley finally received his chance in Hershey when Travis Boyd was summoned to Washington on February 28. McGauley made his AHL debut on March 2 at Lehigh Valley. He tallied his first AHL point with an assist on Wayne Simpson’s goal against Lehigh Valley on March 4. He has played in twelve games for Hershey and has three assists and has an even plus/minus rating. He has been steady and has not been a liability. He was a healthy scratch for two games after Boyd returned from Washington. He returned to the lineup on March 28 and picked up his third assist of the month on Garrett Mitchell’s first period goal against Laval on March 31. With the Bears already eliminated from the playoffs, it is likely that McGauley will get a good look down the stretch. McGauley is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, currently earning $663,000 AAV under his existing Capitals contract.
Kristofers Bindulis, LHD, 22-years old
Kris Bindulis was re-assigned to Hershey from the club’s ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays on March 14. The native of Riga, Latvia skated in 34 games with South Carolina this season, scoring 15 points (four goals, 11 assists). He has scored a pair of overtime goals this season for the Stingrays. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound defender was signed to a three-year, entry-level deal by the Washington Capitals on March 7, 2017.
Pheonix Copley, L, Undrafted, 25 years-old
After a loss to Lehigh Valley in relief on March 2, Copley was solid in his next five starts. He shut out Utica on March 3, making 24 stops in a 3-0 Hershey win. He stopped 33 shots, including 13 in the third period, in a 3-2 shootout loss to Lehigh Valley on March 4. Five days later, Copley turned away 29 Syracuse shots in a 2-1 road victory for the Bears. 12 of those saves came in the second period. He lost his next game to Grand Rapids, surrendering three goals on 23 shots, but he did not have a lot of help from the team in front of him. He made a few quality saves, but defensive mistakes and turnovers cost the Bears. Copley rebounded with 26 saves in a 3-2 win over Bridgeport on March 16. Unfortunately for Copley, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins put six in on him in a 6-4 loss on March 18. That was the last game Copley played for Hershey in March. He was recalled to Washington to serve as Philipp Grubauer’s backup when Braden Holtby nursed an injury. Copley won in his return to Hershey, making 20 saves in a 6-3 win over Laval.
Vitek Vanecek, L, Drafted in Second-Round in 2014, 21-years old
After surrendering five goals on 19 shots to Lehigh Valley on March 2, Vanecek’s play has been strong. He stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced, including 14 in the first period of a 3-0 loss to Binghamton on March 10. Vanecek kept the Bears in the game, but as has been a problem all season, the offense just could not score. Then, he made 22 stops in a 4-2 win over Springfield on March 17. Nine of those saves came in the opening period. A week later, Vanecek was at it again. He saved 26 of the 27 shots he faced in a 2-1 victory over the Hartford Wolfpack. He stopped 13 of 14 shots in the second period. His best save came against former teammate John Albert in the middle frame. Albert came in all alone on a breakaway. Vanecek stoned Albert with a sliding pad save to his left. The Czech goalie stopped 78 of the 83 shots he saw during that stretch. He dropped his next start, a 4-2 loss to Hartford. He turned away 27 of the 30 shots he saw, but the Bears were hurt by a lack of discipline as Hartford scored twice on the power play. Vancek’s last start was not a good one as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers put five past him. He was not alone on the night as Hershey fell behind 5-1 before making it interesting (lost 6-4). Overall, his play has been good in March. Vanecek’s play has played well enough that it can be argued that he deserved the recall to Washington ahead of Pheonix Copley.
Adam Carlson, G, Undrafted, 23-years old
As we noted in our February report, Carlson was re-assigned to the Kansas City Mavericks on 2/16. After going 0-1-1 for the Mavericks in February, Carlson returned to the win column in his first start in March, making 27 saves in a 3-2 win over the Fort Wayne Komets. He continued his rebounding ways winning his next two starts before losing back-to-back games in back-to-back days, both in overtime, in the middle of the month. Carlson was named the second star of the game on March 7 after leading the Mavericks to a 4-1 win over Colorado. Carlson was called up to Hershey on 3/22 to fill in for Pheonix Copley, who was called up to the Capitals to fill in for Braden Holtby while Holtby was nursing a minor injury. Carlson started in goal for the Bears on 3/30 at Utica, stopping 20 of 23 shots he faced. Carlson went 5-1-2 with Kansas City for the month of March. Carlson is now 15-14-4 on the season (ECHL – 3 teams) with a 2.88 GAA and a .899 save percentage
ECHL – SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS
The Capitals and South Carolina Stingrays extended their affiliation agreement through the 2019-20 season. (More here.)
Geiger was recalled from South Carolina on March 8. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound defender appeared in 48 games with South Carolina, scoring 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). Prior to turning professional, Geiger played four seasons of NCAA hockey at Clarkson University. He was an ECAC All-Rookie Team member in 2012-13, and was named an ECAC Hockey Third-Team All-Star in 2015-16. He served as team captain his junior and senior seasons and posted 51 points (13 goals, 38 assists) in 150 career NCAA games. Geiger was a four-time member of the ECAC All-Academic Team. Geiger was re-assigned to South Carolina on March 14th.
Tommy Hughes, D, 25-years old
Hughes was called up by the Bears on 2/13 and skated in 10 games with Hershey, scoring no goals and adding no assists. Hughes was re-assigned to South Carolina on March 14th. Hughes, who came over from the Rangers system in August of last year, started the season with the Bears, and has been called-up/sent down three times this season.
Benton Maass, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2017, 19-years old (Fr)
Maass and the University of New Hampshire opened postseason play the first weekend in March with a series against the University of Maine and suffered two straight losses, ending their season. However, the freshman defender did score a goal in the series. Maass scored with 54 seconds left, giving the Wildcats a glimmer of hope that ultimately was not fulfilled. The Wildcats finished the season 10-20-6. UNH’s head coach Dick Umile’s 28-year career behind the Wildcats’ bench also ended this season (Retirement). He was replaced by Mike Souza. Souza played for Umile from 1996-2000 and was part of the winningest class in UNH history. Maass finished the regular season with four goals and 13 assists in 36 games played. Maass was tied for third in assists and ranked third in blocked shots with 44. Maass took 33 shots on the season for an 12.1 shooting percentage, the 4th best percentage on the team. All in all, a pretty good freshman year for Maass. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in his sophomore campaign.
Steven Spinner, RW, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2014, 22-years old (Jr)
Spinner started March with a goal in the final regular season weekend series against Minnesota-Duluth. Spinner finished the regular season with 10 goals and nine assists in 33 regular season games. Nebraska-Omaha opened postseason play against Caps prospect Shane Gersich and the University of North Dakota. Spinner continued to anchor the right wing position on the third line for the Mavericks in the post season. UND swept Omaha in two games, ending the Mavericks season. The Mavericks went 17-17-2 for the season. Spinner finished the 2017-2018 season with 10 goals and 10 assists in 35 games played, for a .57 points per game average. He registered 72 shots for a 13.9% shooting percentage and was a minus-11. Spinner will be a senior this fall.
Shane Gersich, C/LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2014, 21-years old (Jr)
Gersich remained at the left wing position on North Dakota’s top-line. Gersich and North Dakota finished the regular season with a pair of games against St. Cloud State the first weekend of March. Gersich scored no goals and one assist in the season closeout games. Gersich finished the regular season with 11 goals and 16 assists in 36 games played. Gersich and North Dakota opened postseason play hosting Nebraska-Omaha. Gersich continued to play at left wing on the top-line in the postseason. He scored a goal in Game 1 of the first round as UND advanced by sweeping Omaha-Nebraska on March 9 and 10. Gersich had a goal and an assist in the final game of the season against Minnesota-Duluth. UND was eliminated from postseason play on 3/17. Gersich finished the year with 13 goals and 16 assists in 40 games played. Gersich finished the season second in goals and third in assists for the Fighting Sioux. Gersich fired 125 shots on the season for a 0.72 points per game average. Gersich signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Capitals on March 23. He will earn $925,000 AAV. Gersich had one year of college eligibility remaining. He will battle for a roster spot this fall, but most likely will start next season in Hershey.
Chase Priskie, RHD, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2016, 21-years old (Jr)
The Junior captain opened postseason play with a game-winning goal against Yale on March 2 and added another goal the following night. Quinnipiac swept their opening round series against Yale and advanced to the quarterfinals against Cornell where they were subsequentially swept in two games, ending Quinnipiac’s season on March 10. Overall, the Bobcats went 16-18-4 for the season. Priskie ended his junior season with 11 goals and 14 assists in 37 games played for a .68 points per game average. Priskie took 101 shots for a 10.9 shooting percentage and was a plus-2 on the season. Priskie was named second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference in a vote of the league’s coaches. Priskie was honored by the ECAC for the third time in his career, after being selected to the All-Rookie team as a freshman and earning third-team All-ECAC honors as a sophomore. His 11 goals during the regular season led all ECAC Hockey defensemen, while he was also one of only three defensemen in the country to score 11 goals during the regular season. Of Priskie’s 11 goals this season, eight came on the power play, which ranked first in the nation among NCAA Division I defensemen during the regular season and placed him 11th among all skaters. In conference games only, Priskie’s six goals led all ECAC Hockey defensemen, while his 16 points rank fourth. Priskie will return for his senior season. “That wasn’t a season I’d want to leave on,” Priskie told the New Haven Register. “When I came here as a freshman I saw our senior class, Garteig, St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon, and they left such a legacy that guys still talk about them. Same for Sam Anas and Devon Toews. They were all such great players and some of the best people for our program. When I leave, I want to be talked about like they are.”
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Brian Pinho, C, Drafted in the Sixth-Round in 2013, 22-years old (Sr)
The Friars swept Maine in two games in the first round of postseason play on March 9 and 10 and advanced to the Hockey East Semifinals the following weekend vs. Northeastern. After beating Clarkson on March 23, the Friars were ultimately elimimated by Notre Dame on March 24, thus ending the Friars season and Pinho’s collegiate career. After the game, Friars head coach Leaman was asked about Pinho: ‘Brian Pinho’s been a warrior for us for four years. What a kid. … He had a chance to sign last year and he came back. For me, that means the world for the program. He did an outstanding job in leading us this year in everything he did’. The Friars’ senior captain earned the Frank Jones Award as New England’s Best Defensive Forward and becomes the fourth member of the program to win the award. Pinho also garnered Third Team Hockey East All-Star accolades after matching a career-high in goals (12) and posting 32 points overall. Pinho was named Hockey East Player of the Week on January 8 for the first time in his career and was a Walter Brown Award semifinalist. Pinho also earned All-Region recognition at last weekend’s NCAA East Regional and was also the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward this season. According to Corey Pronman in The Athletic, several sources believe Pinho will test free agency on Aug. 15. Pronman also provided his assessment of Pinho’s game: “Pinho has been better the past two seasons, lately playing as an all-situations center for Providence College. He can make plays, has fine stick skills and works hard to win pucks. His two-way game has improved in college. I’m not completely sold on him as an NHL player in terms of how high-end his abilities are, and he’ll be a guy I’ll want to see in the AHL first.” Look for Pinho to enter unrestricted free agency if no contract is announced within the next week or so.
CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Garrett Pilon, C, Drafted in the Third-Round in 2016, 19-years old
Pilon has continued his impressive scoring pace, registering three goals and five assists in eight regular season games in the Month of March. Pilon finished the regular season with 34 goals and 46 assists (80 points) in 69 regular season games. Pilon lead the league in shots with 343 for a 9.91 shooting percentage in the regular season. Pilon continued his offensive production during the first round of the playoffs for the Everett Silvertips, including a hat trick on 3/24 against Seattle. (More here.) Pilon registered four goals and three assists in five games against the Seattle Thunderbirds in round one. The Silvertips advanced to round two of the WHL playoffs that begin the first week of April. The Capitals signed Pilon to a three-year, entry-level contract beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Beck Malenstyn, LW, Drafted in the Fifth-Round in 2016, 20-years old
Malenstyn had a relatively quiet month of March, registering just one goal and one assist. The 6′-2″ left winger finished the regular season with 17 goals and 15 assists in 42 games played. (four games with the Calgary Hitmen and 38 games played with the Swift Current Broncos) A pretty good season considering the fact that he missed a good portion of the season due to injury. (You may recall that Malenstyn missed all of October through December due to injury). Malenstyn has been holding down the left wing position on the top-line for Swift Current. Malenstyn has one goal and no assists in six postseason games. Malenstyn and the Swift Current Broncos have a decisive Game 7 against the Regina Pats on 4/2, with the winner moving on to the second round of the WHL playoffs. The Capitals signed Malenstyn to a three-year, entry-level contract beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Dmitri Zaitsev, LHD, Drafted in the Seventh-Round in 2016, 20-years old
Zaitsev was moved to the top defensive-pairing at the beginning of March and the move seems to be a positive one for both Zaitsev and the Moose Jaw. Zaitsev missed two games in the middle of the month after taking an illegal hit against Swift Current on March 10. The defender finished the regular season with six goals and 22 assists in 61 games played for the Warriors. Zaitsev remains unsigned by the Capitals.
TOP FIVE RANKINGS
A new feature this season 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.
Our next comprehensive report will provide a position-by-position analysis and taking of all Washington Capitals prospects. We will also be preparing season summary reports for each of the prospects.
Diane Doyle (KHL/SHL)
Eric Lord (AHL)
Luke Adomanis (Europe)
Jon Sorensen (NCAA/WHL/AHL)
2018 NHL DRAFT
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft will be held from June 22–23, 2018, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Players born between January 1, 1998, and September 15, 2000, are eligible for selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Draft order will be determined during the postseason.
The Florida Panthers’ second-round pick will go the Washington Capitals as the result of a trade on July 2, 2017 that sent Marcus Johansson to New Jersey in exchange for Toronto’s third-round pick in 2018 and this pick.
The Washington Capitals’ second-round pick will go to the Montreal Canadiens as the result of a trade on June 24, 2016 that sent Lars Eller to Washington in exchange for a second-round pick in 2017 and this pick.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ third-round pick will go to the Washington Capitals as the result of a trade on July 2, 2017 that sent Marcus Johansson to New Jersey in exchange for Florida’s second-round pick in 2018 and this pick.
The Washington Capitals’ fifth-round pick will go to the Minnesota Wild as the result of a trade on June 14, 2017 that sent Tyler Graovac to Washington in exchange for this pick.
The 2018 NHL draft prospect mid-term rankings can be found here.
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