As we have noted in earlier posts, NHL teams are currently in search of playing time for as many of their top prospects in order that they continue their development during the COVID-19 pause in North America. Without a temporary assignment, many of the Capitals prospects could be looking at 9-12 months or more away from structured development and games.
Here is our first Capitals’ monthly prospect progress report for the 2020-21 season. The report covers activities for those prospects on loan to other leagues during the month of September. Capitals prospects loaned to date include:
- Alex Alexeyev (KHL)
- Aliaksei Protas (KHL)
- Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (SHL)
- Damien Riat (SNL)
- Tobias Geisser (SNL)
- Bobby Nardella (SHL)
All other prospects were idle for the month of September. You can catch-up on all the latest prospect news on our prospects page.
PROSPECT UPDATES FOR SEPTEMBER
Alex Alexeyev – Alexeyev was officially loaned to Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL on September 3rd, with his first regular season game occurring on September 15. Alexeyev has been playing on the 2nd pair for a majority of the month, but was dropped to the third pair against Vityaz on September 26. (Salavat rolls four to five pairs). He was elevated to the top pair for the final game of the month against Avtomobilist. Alexeyev’s playing time has steadily increased as the month progressed.
Alexeyev recoded his first career KHL point with a primary assist against Vityaz on September 26. The primary assist came on a nice tic-tac-goal, which was finished by Dmitry Kugryshev, tying the game at 4-4.
Alexeyev entered the zone and found the open ice on the weak side, receiving a cross-ice feed and relaying a centering pass to Kugryshev for the even-strength score.
Alexeyev’s KHL game-by-game stats for the month of September. [Click to enlarge]
Summary: Alexeyev is settling in nicely in the KHL. As noted, his playing time has steadily increased over the course of the month, indicating a growth in trust by his coaches. After watching three of his games it’s readily apparent that he is getting comfortable playing against much older players and the amplified skill levels he’s facing in the KHL. He has been fairly responsible in his own end, although that still needs work. He’s shown he can read the play and knows when to jump in the zone at the KHL level. A very productive month for the 20-year old.
Aliaksei Protas – Protas was officially loaned to Dinamo Minsk on August 7th and would play in his first KHL exhibition game on August 15 against HC Gomel, centering the second line for Dinamo. He would record a power play goal.
Protas would ultimately start the regular season centering the Bison’s 4th line and has remained there for most of the games in the month of September. He is also getting consistent time on the power play.
Protas scored his first career KHL goal against Salavat Yulaev Ufa on September 7. The tally came on the power play.
The 6’6″ center scored his second career KHL goal against Vityaz on September 15. The score also came on the power play.
Protas scored his third goal of the KHL season on September 25 against Avtomobilist. The tally came on the power play.
Protas was also used in the shootout against Traktor on September 27, but his attempt was unsuccessful.
Protas was elevated from 4C to 3C for the last game of the month against Serverstal. He recorded his first assist of the month, a primary helper on Dinamo’s last tally, an open netter.
Protas’ game-by-game stats for his first month in the KHL. [Click to enlarge]
Summary: This has been an excellent opportunity for Protas, and he’s keeping his head above water, playing well for a 19-year-old playing against men. After watching four of his games, If there are any areas of needed improvement, he could be a little more aggressive and less tentative in his checking game, as he has recorded just one hit in 10 games. He is also struggling a bit in face offs, but that is to be expected when a teenager is facing men for the first time. He did well at the dot in the final game of the month. We would also like to see an even-strength tally. Dinamo is 8-2 so far this season, and currently in third place of the Western Conference.
Axel Jonnson-Fjallby – was officially loaned to Vastervik IK of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan League on September 14, and began playing preseason games. He centered the top line for the White Horse for the first two preseason games. He was then dropped from 1C to 2C for the final two preseason games. He recorded no points in the four preseason games. Vasterviks begins their season this Friday.
Damien Riat – was officially loaned to Geneve-Servette of the Swiss league on August 4. He would record a goal and two assists in the team’s second preseason game on September 1.
Riat’s goal came with 7:19 remaining in the opening frame to give Geneve-Servette an early 2-0 lead. The score came on a blast from the top of the left circle.
Riat would provide a primary assist on the Eagles 7th goal of the game, and also recorded an assist on his brothers first goal of the preseason, late in the third period, to make the score 9-0.
Geneve-Servette would hold on for the 9-2 win. Damien Riat had a goal and two assists in the game.
Riat missed the last four exhibition games for Geneve-Servette for unreported reasons, but appears to be ready for the season.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) September 28, 2020
Geneve-Servette begins their season on Friday.
Tobias Geisser – was officially loaned to EV-Zug of the Swiss League on August 4. He has been solid on the team’s second defensive pair. Geisser and EV Zug begin their regular season campaign on Friday.
Bobby Nardella – was officially loaned to Djurgardens of the SHL on September 30. The loan is for the entire season.
PROSPECT PLAYING TIME DURING COVID-19
The following table tracks the playing time of each Capitals prospect on a week-by-week basis since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It should be noted that several players remain unsigned free agents. [Click to enlarge]
Martin Fehervary – Late last month we told you that Fehervary was considering playing for one of the local teams, Slovana Bratislava or Bratislava Capitals, while he was away from North America. Since then, the Capitals have notified Fehervary that they don’t want him playing hockey during the break, at least for now, which could be yet another sign the 20-year-old is primed for a roster spot this coming season. But for now, it’s a time to rest the shoulder he injured in postseason play.
Connor McMichael – Capitals‘ assistant general Manager Ross Mahoney was asked about plans for McMichael during a call with local media on September 30. Mahoney was not specific with regards to any temporary assignments for McMichael or the Capitals plans for him this coming season. Reading between the lines this may indicate that McMichael will get a shot with the Capitals or return to the OHL next season. We would like to see him get some playing time in the SHL during the hiatus.
By NoVa Caps Prospect Analysts Team