Connor McMichael Records 4th Hat Trick, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby Scores 3 Goals in 2 Games, Beck Malenstyn Returns: Week 17 Prospect Report

Welcome to the week 17 Washington Capitals prospect report. The following includes a summary of game action and news for Capitals prospects that occurred between January 6th and January 12th, 2020. (Reminder: you can always access all of our prospect news and analysis in the top menu under the “Prospects” tab. You can also follow the latest Capitals prospect news on Twitter under the #CapsProspect hashtag.



The Bears opened the week with a disappointing 2-1 loss to first place Hartford on Wednesday night. The Wolf Pack scored the game winning goal with just 53 seconds left in regulation. The Bears rebounded on Friday with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre. It was the Bears 38th game of the season, the halfway point in the Bears 2019-2020 campaign. On Saturday night, the Bears wrapped-up their two-game weekend with a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Monsters. The win improved the Bears record to 23-11-2-3 (51 points) on the season. Hershey is now just two points behind the Hartford Wolf Pack for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Bears goaltending tandem of Vanecek and Copley is also playing well. Vanecek is 7th and Copley 10th in the AHL in goals against average (GAA).

Vitek Vanecek – stopped 13 of 15 shots faced in Wednesday night’s loss to the Wolf Pack. Wednesday would be his only game of the week. For the season Vanecek is 12-6-1-1 with a 2.30 GAA and a .911 save percentage.

Pheonix Copley – stopped 33 of 34 shots faced for a .971 game save percentage in Friday night’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Copley would get the start again on Saturday, stopping 24 of 26 for a .923 game save percentage and the win. As we mentioned last week, Copley has been heating up, and now strung together six solid games in a row (since 12/1) and might now be considered the Bears primary starter. For the season Copley is 10-5-4-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – scored his eighth tally of the season on Friday against the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would score two more goals on Saturday night in the Bears 4-2 win over the Cleveland Monsters.

Axel would also pot an empty net goal for the 4-2 final. He has 10 goals on the season, which is 11th most among all AHL rookies.

Shane Gersich – scored the game winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout Friday night versus the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre.

Beck Malenstyn – returned from injury on Wednesday. He recorded the game winning goal in Saturday night’s tilt against the Monsters.


Connor McMichael – returned to the London Knights with a gold medal around his neck. His scoring in this years World Juniors was the primary reason the Capitals finished fairly well in the team scoring.

McMichael visited with youth hockey teams on Monday, sporting his new jewelry.


McMichael and Team Canada dropped the puck Wednesday night in Toronto prior to the Maple Leafs and Jets contest.

McMichael returned to London in time to start of Friday night’s tilt against the Barrie Colts in London. He had an assist in the Knights 5-2 win.

On Saturday, McMichael recorded three goals for his fourth hat trick of the season.

Video: The OHL

On Sunday McMichael wasted little time in finding the scoresheet, scoring the Knights second goal of the game.

His second goal on Sunday was an eye-popping between the legs shot.

McMichael met with the Soo Sault Marie media during the second intermission of the game. He discussed winning the gold medal with Team Canada, and his play with the London Knights:

Video: The OHL

For the season, McMichael has 30 goals and 36 assists in 30 games played. He’s recorded 139 shots for a shooting percentage of 21.6%. He is 5th in the OHL in points (66) behind Marco Rossi (74) even though he spent most of December with Team Canada. He is second in goals (30), just one goal behind the leader, again, even though he did not play for most of December.

Aliaksei Protas – scored on Saturday night in the Raiders 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

For the season, Protas has 22 goals and 32 assists in 37 games played. He is sixth in the WHL in points (54), even though he spent a majority of December with the Belarus National Team.

Eric Florchuk – was traded to the Vancouver Giants on Thursday. Originally selected by the Victoria Royals with the 13th overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft,  Florchuk has suited up in 223 career WHL games (Victoria/Saskatoon). The 6’2”, 182-pound center has registered 51 career goals along with 82 assists for 133 points. “We are very excited to welcome Eric Florchuk to the Vancouver Giants,” said Barclay Parneta. “He’s an experienced, versatile, natural center that has taken a lot of faceoffs in his career, which is invaluable. And he adds a scoring touch.”

Florchuk was in the Giants lineup on Friday night.

Capitals prospects Eric Florchuk and Alex Kannok-Leipert had the two assists on each of the Giants first two goals on Saturday night. Florchuk was the third star of the game.

Alex Kannok-Leipert – had three assists in Saturday night’s 6-3 loss to the Spokane Chiefs. He was named the second star of the game.


Martin Hugo Has – As we noted in last week’s report, Has was officially loaned from Tappara in Finland League to North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League on January 5th. He reported to the team on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-4, 187Ib. rearguard began the 2019-20 season splitting time between three different levels in Finland, with his largest body of work coming with KOOVEE of Finland’s Mestis circuit, the country’s second division. There he scored once in 13 games, while also seeing time with Tappara of Finland’s elite league as well as Tappara’s junior club.

On Friday, Hugo Has was traded again. The North Bay Battalion announced on Friday morning that they had traded Capitals prospect Martin Hugo Has to the Guelph Storm. Has made his first start for the Storm on Saturday night.

Damien Riat – As we noted in last weeks report,Riat returned to the ice on January 3 against Lausanne HC and also played on January 5th against HC Davos. He was held off the scoresheet in both games. Riat as since recorded two more assists in 22 games played. For the season, Riat has two goals and seven assists. Remember, it’s a contract year for Riat. He will need to turn it up in the second half of the season, regardless.


Mitchell Gibson – stopped 27 of 27 shots faced in Saturday nights 7-0 win over Yale. For the season, Gibson is 5-3-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Gibson’s worst outings this season have unsurprisingly come on the second night of a back-to back set.

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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6 Responses to Connor McMichael Records 4th Hat Trick, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby Scores 3 Goals in 2 Games, Beck Malenstyn Returns: Week 17 Prospect Report

  1. Anonymous says:

    Axel on a 20-goal pace in his rookie season in the AHHL.

  2. Pingback: Hershey Bears Halfway Point: Plusses & Minuses From The First Half Of The Season | NoVa Caps

  3. Esteban says:

    Is it time to trade McMichael for Marty Erat yet?

  4. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Thanks for the recap, Jon! It’s good that the franchise has some good news for a change, coming from the “Farm system.”

    Caps have been absolutely GAWD AWFUL for weeks. Extremely painful to watch the flailing, failing “management” team try this and that and nothing works. Tonight it’s CAR, and every reason to expect them to mop the floor with Future Hall of Famer Washington Capitals Head Coach T. Reirden’s skydivers without a parachute

  5. Pingback: Capitals’ Prospect Connor McMichael Gets Fifth Hat-Trick Of The Season | NoVa Caps

  6. Pingback: Brian Pinho, Garrett Pilon And Beck Malenstyn Continue To Heat Up: Week 18 Prospect Report | NoVa Caps

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