Garret Pilon: Annual Review and Forecast – 2019-2020 Season

Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Garret Pilon, center for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)

VITALS
Pilon, 22, is a 5’-11” right-handed centerman drafted by the Capitals in the third round (#87 overall) of the 2016 NHL entry draft.  “Peels” signed a three-year entry-level contract on March 30th, 2017 at $925,000 AAV. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2021-2022 season.

CAREER
Pilon spent three seasons playing in the WHL, where he posted fairly impressive offensive numbers and development trajectory. He started with Kamloops for the 2015-2016 season where he registered 15 goals and 32 assists.

He totalled 20 goals and 45 assists the following year. Pilon ended his the 2016-2017 with a brief stop in Hershey, playing in one playoff game.

During the 2017-2018 season, Pilon recorded 18 goals and 26 assists in 39 games before being traded to the Everett Silvertips where he added another 16 goals and 20 assists in 30 games played. He finished the regular season with 34 goals and 46 assists in 69 games played. He added another 11 goals and 17 assists in 22 postseason games. Pilon’s 2017-2018 season included three hat tricks, including a postseason hat trick on March 24th against the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 2 of the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs.

Like most AHL rookies, Pilon’s start to the 2018-2019 season was rather quiet, as he didn’t net his first AHL goal until December. But things picked up for Pilon, as he began to find his way in the AHL game. Pilon would ultimately be named Hershey’s rookie of the year on April 15.

For the season, Pilon registered 10 goals and 23 assists in 71 games played, with six of his 10 goals and five assists coming in the last 14 games of the season. Pilon finished the postseason with five assists in nine games played.

Pilon’s start to the 2019-2020 season was similar to his previous campaign. After a slow start, the goals and assists came. He recorded 18 goals and 18 assists in 61 games before the season was suspended. He was 5th on the Bears in points and 3rd in goals. He shot the puck 138 times for a season shooting percentage of 13.0%.

Stats: Elite Prospects

2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.

October
The second-year pivot dished out two assists in the season opener on October 5. Unfortunately for Pilon, he was pointless in his next five games. The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon has one assist since Opening Night. The Bears need more offensively from the Mineola, New York native. He got off to a slow start last season as well and then picked it up as the season went along. Hershey is hoping he does the same thing this season. Pilon needs to shoot more. He has 11 shots through his first eight games. He did fire off five shots in his last game against Utica. Pilon was more engaged offensively in that game.

Trending – Down

November
The second-year pivot posted six points in the month to up his season total to nine. Three of those came in one game, a three-assist night against Providence on November 27. He was scoreless in eight of his other 11 games. The Mineola, New York native had a single goal and no assists through his first seven games of the month, but then had five points in his next four games. Pilon, like much of the team, needs to find more consistency offensively and limit his scoring droughts. We give him a “same” rating because there was a noticeable uptick in his offensive play in the last few games of the month. Pilon is talented and will eventually start scoring in bunches.

Trending: Same

December
Pilon had a strong month offensively in December. He had nine points entering the month and nearly equaled that total in December. The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon scored four goals and added four assists in the month. He posted a three-point game against Utica on December 27, scoring Hershey’s first two goals. Pilon potted the game-winning goal against Lehigh Valley on December 15. He is fourth on the Bears’ scoring list with 17 points and also sits fourth on the team with 11 assists.

Trending: Up

January
Pilon posted another solid offensive month. He put home six goals in January and had two assists. The Mineola, New York native has 12 goals on the season, surpassing his total of 10 last season. He is third on the team in goals. Pilon’s 25 points places him fifth on the Hershey scoring list. The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon recorded a three-game, goal-scoring streak from January 15-19. Pilon also picked up his all-around game. He was much better in his own zone in January than he was in the first three months. Coming into 2020, the second year forward was a minus two. In January, Pilon was a plus seven and now is a plus six for the season. For the season, Pilon has 12 goals and 14 assists in 47 games played.

Trending: Up

February
For the second straight month, Pilon tallied six goals. He has 18 goals for the season, six more than the 12 he scored last season. The Mineola, New York native dished out four assists in February and ended the month with 10 points. He has 38 points on the season, surpassing the 33 he compiled last year.  Pilon recorded three multi-point games in the month, including a two-point game at Binghamton on February 15. Coming into the month, the son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon had one power play goal. He potted four on the man-advantage in February. Pilon has avoided scoring droughts, and since ending a four-game pointless streak on January 15, Pilon has not gone more than one game without scoring a point.

Trending: Up

HIGHLIGHTS

PLAYER FORECAST
Pilon possess a pro-level skillset, with smart play at both ends of the ice. With good hands and puck and stick handling, he sees the rink well, knows how to find open space and has excellent passing capabilities. Pilon also has a bit of grit when needed. He is also good at the faceoff dot.

Pilon remains on the cusp of fighting for a bottom six position with the Capitals. He has one of the best shots of any Capitals forward prospects, has great ice awareness and above average ability in reading plays.

Pilon will need another strong showing in training camp this year, to make his case for a spot on the Capitals 23-man roster. He will likely begin the year in Hershey, whenever the season starts, but does have a shot at a taxi squad or reserves spot for the resumption of the 2019-2020 season.

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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 passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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