Capitals’ Scout Danny Brooks’ Signings of College Free Agents Joe Snively and Bobby Nardella Quietly Paying Big Dividends

[Capitals Scout Danny Brooks meets with HV71’s Linus Sandin following a game on 12/17/19 in Sweden]

You have to hand it to Washington Capitals’ Scout Danny Brooks. He inked two of the better undrafted free agents last spring, and very few Capitals and Bears fans are talking about it. In a matter of just a few days, Brooks and the Capitals quietly signed two undrafted college graduates in forward Joe Snively and defenseman Bobby Nardella, and they have paid immediate dividends in Hershey.

Joltin’ Joe
If you are from the “DMV”, then you are likely well aware of Joe Snively’s back story by now. He hails from Herndon, Virginia, played his youth hockey for the Little Caps, often at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, and is a bona fide homegrown Washington Capitals fan. Brooks inked Snively just days after officially wrapping up his collegiate career at Yale.

Snively, 24, made the transition from college to the professional ranks with relative ease last spring. After signing a Capitals contract on March 18, Snively would sign a tryout agreement with the Bears that allowed him to get right to work in Hershey. Snively would jump right in and record two goals and five assists in just nine regular season games with the Bears.

Snively started this season where he left off last season, and worked his way up to the top-line with veterans Mike Sgarbossa and Matt Moulson. He managed to record nine goals and seven assists in just 34 games before sustaining an injury on January 5th. The 5′-9″ forward returned to action on February 7, in time to help the Bears return to first place in the Atlantic Division.

As for a potential call-up, many are patiently awaiting his highly anticipated solo lap in warm-ups at Capital One Arena. If I was a betting man, I’d plunk down a few coins that It will come sooner rather than later. The story is too good not to happen.

The Nard Dog
Defenseman Bobby Nardella came to the Capitals organization in similar fashion after completing his college hockey at Notre Dame last spring. However, his emergence with the Bears has taken place more so this season.

Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery credited Nardella’s return from injury as a major reason for the revival of the Bears’ power play (the league’s worst power play prior to his return).

Offensively, Nardella is quickly climbing the AHL’s rookie points leaderboard for defensemen, even though he’s missed quite a few games due to an injury. He’s currently fifth, with 25 points in just 33 games. Last weekend he would turn-in an excellent individual effort for the Bears third goal against Lehigh Valley.

Also worth noting, Nardella is just six points behind former Capitals prospect Chase Priskie, who has played in 17 more games than Nardella.

Brooks, 52, who hails from Boston, Massachuesetts, began scouting for the Capitals in the 2016-2017 season. Prior to joining the Caps, Brooks was a coach in the NHL, AHL and for several universities before turning his attention to player scouting.

In a time in which the Capitals’ prospect pool could be optimistically classified by some as wafer-thin, Brooks’ signings of Snively and Nardella were much needed reinforcements.  We are looking forward to seeing what Brooks has up his sleeve in the upcoming signing season.

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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