Capitals Prospect Report Card: How did Tomorrow’s Capitals Do In The Second Preseason Game


Tuesday night saw the return of hockey to Capital One Arena for the first time since game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, as the Bruins were in town for game 2 of the 2018 preseason. (Game recap here.) You can review our Game 1 prospect grades right here.

This game 2 review covers Capitals prospects  (non-roster players), and does not include players who were on the Capitals roster at the end of the 2017-2018 season. (Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Dmitry Orlov, Matt Niskanen and Braden Holtby). If a prospect doesn’t have a summary below, there was nothing significant to report.

It should be noted that the Capitals opponent, the Boston Bruins, started a very young and inexperienced lineup, as most of the stars and veterans were still in China for exhibition games against the Calgary Flames.

The following were the offensive lines and defensive pairs for the game:

So, if you were unable to watch the Capitals second preseason game, here’s a brief recap of how the prospects fared:

Ilya Samsonov – Samsonov made his first (official) appearance at Capital One Arena Tuesday night. Samsonov struggled a bit in the first game of the Prospect Showcase in Estero last week, but settled down nicely in the second game, ultimately pitching a shutout against the Lightning prospects. (Here.) Tuesday night he entered the game midway through the middle frame and gave up a goal 10 seconds later at 8:56, the Bruins first and second shots of the period. Samsonov stopped the initial shot on a breakaway, but Senyshyn gathered his own rebound, finishing with a backhander.

Samsonov would give up a second tally late in the middle frame after a mad scurry in front of the Capitals net. There was little Samsonov could do, as Caps defensemen Colby Williams was driven into Samsonov just prior to the score.

Samsonov stopped 4 of 6 Shots in 11:03 of ice time in the middle frame. He would end the game saving 9 of 11 Shots for an .818 save percentage, in 29:42 of ice time. Not a lot of work for Samsonov. Grade: B-

Shane Gersich – Had a solid game. Played in the middle and down low on the first power play unit and consistently found his way to the front of the net. Demonstrated a bit more grit to his game. Had two solid chances, and a deflected shot that just went wide. Gersich was called for a hooking penalty in the middle frame, but no damages. Grade: B+

Travis Boyd – Had a helper on the Capitals first tally. Spent time on the power play and had his chances, but none finding the back of the net. Otherwise a somewhat quiet night for Travis. Grade: B-

Riley Sutter – Showed no nerves. Still impressing with his overall level of play.  Beat Daniel Winnik on a faceoff early in the game, and looked comfortable on the ice. He had one shot on goal and two hits for the game. Grade: B-

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – Had a decent game, played on the penalty kill. Had several scoring chances, including a break away to start the third period, but couldn’t finish. It’s clear his secondary job on the penalty kill will be looking for breakaways down the middle. He looked comfortable on the North American-sized rink. Grade: B

Riley Barber – Barber answered the call for this one. He scored the Capitals first goal early in the first period on a very nice deflection of a shot from Alexander Alexeyev. Barber shot the puck a ton, and was the team leader in shots for the game. He had 9 shots and 5 scoring chances. Grade: A-

Alexander Alexeyev – Registered the primary assist on the Capitals first goal. Played an impressive, physical game from start to finish, for an 18-year-old. Grade: B+

Lucas Johansen – Possibly some early nerves for Johansen in the first period. Had an early turnover in front of his own net, but it didn’t  lead to any damages. Also showed some weakness along the boards with an early turnover in the offensive zone. Also had a failed zone entry on a power play and turned the puck over in the offensive zone that led to the Bruins second goal in the opening frame. However, Johansen steadied his game as the game progressed. Grade: C+

Connor Hobbs – Played a sound game, defensively. No miscues in positioning on the back-end, solid on the backcheck, physical along the boards. Showed his impressive shot as well. Played on the second power play unit and looked comfortable. Dropped the mitts in the middle frame. Grade: B+


By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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7 Responses to Capitals Prospect Report Card: How did Tomorrow’s Capitals Do In The Second Preseason Game

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    The rookies standing out the most were Barber and Alexiev, perhaps because of that first goal. Alexiev really has a booming shot.

    Jonsson-Fjallby looked speedy and he and the gang seemed to create tons of chances.

    The Caps seems to lack finish tonight and could not take advantage of their power play opportunities. (They were looking like the Bill Peters’ era Carolina Hurricanes who would generated tons of chances but lack finish.) Some of that will probably be corrected when people have more stable linemates, whether in DC or in Hershey.

    And they seemed to give up too many breakaway opportunities, resulting in goals against both Holtby and Samsonov.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Alexeyev was the most surprising to me. 18 years old and he didn’t look out of place at all. Very physical player too, was knocking people around. Also glad to see Barber have a game he’s been trying to produce for some time now. Who knows, maybe he takes a step this season.

  2. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    2018 baby Caps are impressive compared to same bunch from 15 or 25 years ago. Used to be that a Caps’ “draft class” would be strewn with players who had no chance to ever make the NHL, and were an embarrassment to watch in exhibition games. Current bunch looks much more NHL-ready. With failing economies around the world and fewer “real job” prospects, and with advances in training, coaching and conditioning, suddenly the world-wide talent pool of ice hockey players is most impressive. It’s hard to find a total dud in the 2018 draft

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Interesting perspective, Day One, hadn’t thought about it like that before. And I agree, this current group of baby Caps is quite different than years past. Speed being the most notable to me. Gersich, Axel, etc., have blazing speed. It will be interesting to see how quick they can make an impact, both in Hershey and eventually with the Caps.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think some of these grade were a touch too high. Hershey’s D is going to need some work this year again. I agree with DD Barber and AA were far away the best of the young ones, especially Barber his AHL experience showed through. Johansen was a bit disappointing.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Fair point on your part, “anonymous”. The grading reflected specifically on how they played in last night’s game, and not how they will fare in Hershey or with the Capitals.

  4. Pingback: Alexander Alexeyev Off To Fast Start In Red Deer | NoVa Caps

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