Photo: Steve Hiscock / Saskatoon Blades
With the offseason now kicking into high gear we continue breaking-down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects and provide a forecast for each of the players for the coming season. We continue the series with a review and forecast for center, Eric Florchuk. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Florchuk is a 19-year-old left-handed center currently playing junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades. The 6’-2” Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta native was drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round (#217 overall) of the 2018 NHL entry-level draft. He has not signed a contract with the Capitals to date.
Florchuk has played three seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He began his junior hockey career with the Victoria Royals in 2016-17 and was traded to the Saskatoon Blades during the 2017-18 season where he remained through the 2018-19 season.
Florchuk’s scoring has improved markedly, particularly in his goal scoring, during his time in junior hockey, scoring just three goals in 2016-17, scoring 16 goals in 2017-18, and improving to 21 goals during 2018-19 season. For those seasons, he had 6 assists in 2016-17, 49 assists in 2017-18, and 50 assists in 2018-19. He also contributed 2 goals and 2 assists in 10 playoff games this post season.
2018-2019 SEASON SUMMARY
Florchuk played in 68 regular season games for the Saskatoon Blades and 10 playoff games. He had 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points overall, was +10, and also had 40 penalty minutes. The Saskatoon Blades finished in second place in the strong Eastern Division of the WHL, and ultimately eliminated in the second round of the WHL playoffs.
2018-2019 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2018-2019 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Like the other Caps draftees of 2018, Florchuk was released from Capitals training camp on September 19, in time to rejoin the Saskatoon Blades for their season opener on September 21. Florchuk started the season at left wing on the top-line for the Blades, and registered three assists in the second game of the season. Florchuk heated up in the second week of the season, scoring a pair of goals against the Edmonton Oil Kings and a goal against the Red Deer Rebels. Florchuk finished the month with five goals and 10 assists in 16 games played, good enough for .940 points per game average. Last year he averaged 0.69 points per game through 71 games. Florchuk registered 41 shots on goal for a 12.2 shooting percentage.
Florchuk is beginning to heat up. Florchuk scored a pair of goals late in a game against the Tri-City Americans on November 17 (here). He was elevated from his usual second-line position to the top-line on November 29. Florchuk scored three goals and five assists in 11 games in November. He now has eight goals and 15 points in 27 games played this season.
Florchuk‘s month of December was not his best. He posted two points (one goal) in his first three games of the month but was held off of the scoresheet for four consecutive outings and six out of the final seven games in 2018. Florchuk was able to find the scoresheet, tallying a goal, on December 27 in a 4-3 loss to the Prince Albert Raiders. Defensively, he recorded a plus-4 rating and tied his season-high plus-3 rating, which was set twice previously, in a single game on December 30 in a 9-3 win against the Swift Current Broncos. Florchuk tallied a shot on goal in eight out of 10 games this month and fired multiple shots five times, including four on December 28 in a 4-2 loss at the Prince Albert Raiders. He was sent to the penalty box in only two games this month but finished with four penalty minutes in both of those games. Florchuk won six out of 16 draws for a winning percentage of only 37.5% on faceoffs.
Florchuk spent time earlier in the month at the second-line right wing position but was moved to third-line center and has settled in there. Florchuk was held off the scoresheet for five consecutive games from the end of December to the first three games of January but tallied one goal, four points, and 12 shots on goal on a three-game point streak following that little scoring slump. After getting held off the scoresheet in a 5-4 loss to the Portland Winterhawks on January 12, the center posted three goals and five points in four games, though he had a minus-1 rating in that span. He posted four and six shots on goal two and three times in January, respectively. After winning one out of two faceoffs in the first five games of the month, he won 41 out of 70 (68.3%) in the last six games of January. He did a nice job of staying out of the penalty box, earning just six penalty minutes this month.
Florchuk opened the month continuing a five-game point streak, posting a point in a 3-1 win over the Saskatoon Blades on February 1. He posted three goals and six points over that stretch. After his streak ended the next game, the 19-year old responded with a two-goal outing in a 7-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings. He was held off of the scoresheet the next three games but posted three goals and five points in the two games after that. Florchuk potted a pair of goals and an assist against Kootenay on February 15, and was awarded the first star of the game. He ended the month recording assists in back-to-back games. Florchuk recorded at least one shot on goal in every game during the month of February. He posted a plus-7 rating but won only 47.5% of the draws he took over February. Florchuk earned only eight penalty minutes over the course of the month. Florchuk tallied his 100th career point with his first goal against Kootenay on February 15. He finished the month with five goals and five assists in 12 games played. He now has 20 goals and 25 assists in 61 games played so far this season. He has 151 shots on the year for a 13.2% shooting percentage.
After being thrown all over the lineup throughout the season, Florchuk settled into the third-line center position for the last part of the regular season. In seven games played in the regular season in March, he posted one goal and four assists. He followed that with two assists and no goals in four games in the first round of the playoffs, bringing his March total to one goal and six assists in 11 games. His team won their first round matchup of the playoffs. He added two more goals during his team’s second round of the playoffs but, unfortunately, his team was eliminated in the playoff that round.
This could be Florchuk’s last year in junior hockey as he has already played three seasons at that level. He does have a birthday in 2000 so he would still be eligible to play in junior hockey for one more season. Hershey is also a viable option for the Center man.
A good performance in Caps Development Camp could result in him signing a contract with the Capitals this summer.
Capitals’ Prospect Eric Florchuk Pots A Pair, First Star of Game
Washington Capitals’ Prospect Eric Florchuk Continues Impressive Play in Blades 5-2 Win
Capitals “Mr. Irrelevant” Eric Florchuk Off To A Hot Start
By Diane Doyle
I would like to see Florchuk in Hershey this fall, loophole or no loophole.
Caps need guys to fill bottom 6 holes as likely losing Conno, maybe Hagelin too. If he could make the jump that would be sweet, or Barber off his 25-30 goal season, or Gersichs electric speed. Great teams use the farm to fill in with cheap labor
They do. Barber is a UFA, so Caps/Bears May lose his this summer.
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