Welcome to the second installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals monthly prospects report for the 2020-2021 season. This report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of October, 2020, and provides an overall “Trending” rating for each player.
As we noted in last month’s progress report, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding shutdown of hockey leagues in North America, NHL teams are currently looking for playing time for many of their key prospects. As a result, several Capitals prospects have been loaned to other teams.
Beginning this month the report will also include activities for 2020 draft picks selected in early October that are also currently playing.
- Alex Alexeyev (KHL)
- Aliaksei Protas (KHL)
- Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (SHL)
- Damien Riat (SNL)
- Tobias Geisser (SNL)
- Bobby Nardella (SHL)
- Hendrix Lapierre (QMJHL)
- Bogdan Trineyev
- Daniel Carr
- Oskar Magnusson
All other prospects were idle for the month of October. You can always catch-up on all the latest Washington Capitals prospect news and analysis on our prospects page.
PROSPECT UPDATES FOR OCTOBER, 2020
ALEX ALEXEYEV – Alexeyev was dropped from the top pair to the second pair for the first game of the month and stayed there for a majority of the month. Alexeyev played on the right side in the last game of September, but returned to the left side for first game of October, where also settled in.
Alexeyev scored his first career KHL goal on October 12 against Barys. The goal came at 12:31 of the middle frame.
Alexeyev was asked about playing for Salavat, and his first KHL tally following the game.
“Thanks to the fans for their loyalty, for their support, for the fact that they immediately supported me. There is a great atmosphere here, they always “get sick” and support. For me, the match turned out to be a little crumpled. I scored a goal, played well, but retired in the end.”
Alexeyev was dropped to the third pair on October 15 against Kunlun. That didn’t deter him from finding the scoresheet once again with a nice assist from behind the goal for Salavat’s second score.
Salavat Yulaev hit a rough patch in the road in the middle of the month when several players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19. The diminished roster subsequently led to consecutive losses, but also led to more playing time for Alexeyev.
Alexeyev continued on the third pair against Avangard on October 17. However, for the seventh-straight game Alexeyev’s minutes dropped, as playing time was just 14:31 in this game.
Alexeyev was once again elevated to right side of the top pair against Sochi on October 19. The elevation was likely due to a one-game suspension incurred by defenseman and team Captain Grigory Panin. Panin levied a hit on Avangard forward and formal Capitals prospect Sergei Shumakov in Salavat’s previous game. Shumakov had to leave the game and did not return.
In the game Alexeyev would score his second goal of the season, his first at even strength, to give Salavat a 2-0 lead. That would be the final.
After the game, Alexeyev was asked about the smaller rink size in Sochi.
“This season we did not play on such a site, and I think we played well, we held out, scored on our chances, and our goalkeeper helped us out. I haven’t played on such a site since March (AHL/Hershey), so it was hard for the first ten minutes, and then I got used to it.”
Alexeyev had a tough game against former Washington Capital Alexander Semin and Vityaz HC on October 21. Alexeyev would be -2 for the game and a contributing factor to both of Semin’s goals.
On the first goal, Alexeyev was knocked off the puck, which led to a turnover and net front finish for Semin.
On the second goal, Alexeyev was pulled out of position on the penalty kill, opening up the passing lanes.
Alexeyev wrapped the month of October in the third defensive pairing with 17:17 of ice time against Metallurg. Offensively for the season Alexeyev has two goals and three assists in 19 games played. The following is his game-by-game breakdown for the season [Click to enlarge]:
Analysis – We were able to watch four of Alexeyev’s games this month. Alexeyev is steadily gaining confidence in the KHL, however his minutes decreased significantly during the middle of the month. His time on the power play has also decreased. Alexeyev continues to make sizable mistakes in his own zone, and looks lost on occasion, but that should be expected for a 20-year-old AHL defenseman playing in the KHL for the first time. All in all, he is doing well for his first 20 games in the KHL.
Following the game against Sochi NoVa Caps spoke with two journalists covering the KHL/Salavat to get a third-party review. Azamat Shavlukov, KHL reporter, had this assessment of Alexeyev’s current state of play:
“I may say he is positive, has some sense of humor, he can go forward with the puck, has pretty good skating for KHL level. But he made a dozen of mistakes, too. Mostly he can lose the puck in OZ or sometimes he isn’t quick enough in DZ, so he isn’t a top D-man even on the team. He is fine in KHL, soild 7/10, but he is definitely not crushing the league like Mikko Lehtonen. I think, he needs a lot of time to become NHL level D-man, even KHL elite (although, most of best KHL’s Ds are imports).“
ALIAKSEI PROTAS – Protas tied Dynamo Minsk’s record for goals in a season by a 19-year-old player on October 11. Yegor Sharangovich, who in the 2017/18 season scored four goals in 47 games has the record. Protas recorded four goals in just 14 games.
The tally came just 9:50 into the first period, giving Dinamo Minsk an early 1-0 lead. The goal came at even strength, his first career KHL goal at even strength.
The goal also put Protas in the top 10 in the KHL for goals scored for players under the age of 20. He was asked following the game if he knew that.
“Not really. Sometimes, somewhere on the Internet, something may catch your eye. I mainly concentrate on team tasks, I try to fulfill the coaching directive. If you do it, then everything will come. I work on my weak qualities in the game, try to improve them. The results will come.“
Protas was elevated from 3C to 2C on October 16 against Lokomotiv, but was held off the scoresheet in a tight 1-0 loss. Due to COVID-19 issues with several team veterans, Protas spent 19:57 on the ice – more than any other forward on both teams. He was asked about it following the game:
“I had to play a lot, but there weren’t many options, because all the leaders are in the infirmary, we are waiting for their return. Hopefully they’ll be back in service soon. Of course, I had to take responsibility and fulfill the role of a leader. Everyone, in principle, had to take the initiative.”
“Of course, our leaders were missing. I think we did well. For many guys, this was their first KHL game of the season, some even made their debut in the league. Therefore, they were nervous in the first period. Then we rolled in and played quite well on defense.”
Protas’ ice time dropped as the month progressed and key players returned from COVID-19 and other injuries. Protas was dropped to 4C against CSKA on October 23.
For the season, Protas has four goals and one assist in 21 games played. The following is his game-by-game breakdown for the season [Click to enlarge]:
Analysis: After watching him play four games this month, Protas is looking fairly comfortable in the KHL. Protas may be the biggest benefactor of all loaned Capitals prospects so far, as he has shown solid and steady improvement in the KHL, although his ice time has dwindled down to last month’s average as players have returned from COVID-19 absences. He has also seen consistent time on the second power play.
AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY – “AJF” began the season playing left wing on the second-line for Vasterviks IK, but was dropped to the right wing on the third-line for Game 2. He flashed the lightning early.
— HockeyAllsvenskan (@hockeyallsvensk) October 10, 2020
Axel had two secondary assists, including one on the game-winner, in Vastervik’s second game of the season. Axel was kept off the scoresheet in the third game of the season against AIK.
Jonsson-Fjallby continued on the third-line for the fourth game of the season against Vasby on October 16. He recorded a secondary assist.
Axel was elevated to 2LW on October 18 against Bjorkloven, but recorded no points.
Jonsson-Fjallby moved to 2C and scored his first and second goals of the season on October 20. Axel’s first goal of the game and first goal of the season came at 10:31 of the opening frame, giving Vasterviks an early 1-0 lead. Using his speed, Jonsson-Fjallby beat the defender to the goal and deflected a net front pass for the tally.
Axel’s second score of the game came on the power play at 9:56 of the third period, tying the game at 2-2. Jonsson-Fjallby would let one rip from the right circle for the game-tying tally.
Johnson-Fjallby would also add an assist with 1:22 remaining in the third period, tying the game 3-3. Vasterviks would fall in the shootout, 4-3.
On October 23, Jonsson-Fjallby was moved to 2RW. He was held off the scoresheet.
Jonsson-Fjallby had an assist on Vastervik’s game winning goal on October 30 against MODO.
For the season Jonsson-Fjallby has two goals and six assists in 10 games played for Vasterviks IK. The following is his game-by-game breakdown for the season [Click to enlarge]:
Analysis – Axel’s most productive games have come at the center position, however it appears Vasterviks is trying to work other (full-time) players into the spot. Axel is also seeing more time on the right wing as the month progressed. And it bears repeating, Axel is playing in the HockeyAllsvenskan league, the second tier of the Swedish hockey league.
DAMIEN RIAT – Riat had a moderate start to the season, recording two assists in the first three games. He began the season anchoring the right wing on the first-line and remained there until October 15 when he was dropped to the third-line.
Riat would score his first goal of the regular season in the first period.
Riat would score his second goal of the season on a nice deke move against SC Bern on October 27. He would also add an assist on one of former Capitals forward Eric Fehr’s four goals in the game.
October 30th’s game against Lausanne was postponed on gameday when an unnamed player on Geneve-Servette tested positive for COVID-19.
For the season, Riat has two goals and five assists in just six games played for Geneve-Servette so far this season. The following is his game-by-game breakdown for the season [Click to enlarge]:
Analysis – Riat has shown flashes of being ready to make the jump to the next level. His speed and shot are next-level, and he also shows excellent vision and the ability to read and create plays on the ice. The key for Riat will be to show a little more consistency in November and December as he prepares to enter Capitals training camp.
TOBIAS GEISSER – Geisser played in five games during October for EV Zug. In those games, he scored one goal and had no assists. He took one minor penalty.
Geisser scored his goal during the second period in an 8-2 win on October 23 against Zurich. This goal was his first of the 2020-21 season.
The next two games for EV Zug (on October 30 and on November 2) will be played without spectators due to the current COVID restrictions in their area.
Analysis – Geisser has been solid on the backend this season. We were only able to watch one of his games, but reports from media and scouts covering EV Zug are very positive. November will be key for the 6’4” defenseman.
BOBBY NARDELLA – The Capitals announced on September 30 that they had loaned defenseman Bobby Nardella to Djurgadens IF of the Swedish Hockey League for the entire 2020-21 season. He arrived in Stockholm on October 12.
Nardella held his first workout with the club the following day.
On Wednesday of that week, Nardella practiced with Djurgarden for the first time. Nardella was asked about his first workout on Swedish ice following the practice.
“It was really good. High tempo. I see that everyone is very good and has a lot of speed and skill, “ said Nardella.
During Wednesday’s practice, Nardella worked on the powerplay unit with Dick Axelsson, Sebastian Strandberg, Niclas Bergfors and Manuel Ågren.
— HockeyNews.se (@HockeynewsSe) October 15, 2020
Nardella, who hadn’t played a game since March 8, was tossed right into the fire for Djurgarden on Thursday against Linkoping. Nardella’ s hiatus from the game was readily apparent in the early going.
On his first shift he gave away the puck, which led to a quick score for Linköping, tying the game 1-1. Later in the game he sent the puck over the glass and had to sit in the penalty box while Linkoping stretched their lead to 4-2.
But Nardella, No. 7, would eventually knock the rust off and help Djurgarden climb back into the contest. He would record a nice cross-ice feed for a power play assist to tie the game 4-4.
For the game, Nardella was minus-1 in 19:23 of ice time. Not bad considering Nardella’s time away from the game and the crazy week he had.
Nardella was elevated to the top-pairing against HV-71 on October 17. He recorded two more assists, both secondary, on the first power play unit, and had 22:30 of ice time.
Nardella returned to the top pairing once again for the next tilt on October 20 against Leksands.
Djurgarden experienced a setback on October 21 when two (unnamed) players were diagnosed with COVID-19, and another player had fallen ill. Their game against Skellefteå on October 22 was postponed.
In what may or may not be related, Nardella did not play on October 24 against MODO or on October 25 against Luleå. (His last game of the month was on October 20 against Leksands). No official report has been made regarding Nardella’s status at the time of this writing.
Analysis: Within a span of five days Nardella traveled from Chicago to Stockholm, practiced with Djurgarden, played in two games, played top pair minutes, top power play minutes and recorded three points in the two games.
HENDRIX LAPIERRE – Lapierre was selected by the Capitals with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Lapierre, 18, played with the QJMHL’s Chicoutimi Saguenéens last season. He recorded two goals, 17 points, and a plus-4 rating in 19 games last season.
Lapierre was off to a flying start this season with three goals and two assists through two games before he was drafted by the Capitals on October 6.
Hendrix was held off the scoresheet on October 10. He registered three assists (two primary) and was the third star of the game against the Shawinigan Cataracts on October 11.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced October 15 that teams from the East and West divisions will postpone their games until October 28. The circuit decision was made at a meeting of the Members’ Assembly. With half of the teams in the red zone, it has become virtually impossible to operate under such circumstances. However, QMJHL student-athletes will continue to practice in their facilities and continue their academic career.
BOGDAN TRINEYEV – The Capitals selected forward Bogdan Trineyev, a native of Voronezh, Russia, with the 117th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Trineyev, 18, played with the MHL’s Dynamo Moskva last season.
Trineyev recorded 12 goals, 26 points, and a plus-8 rating in 36 games last season in the MHL. During the MHL Playoffs, Trineyev tallied no points and an even rating in two games.
He had four goals, six points, and a plus-5 rating through six games this season when he was drafted by the Capitals on October 7.
Trineyev was called-up to KHL’s Moscow Dynamo on October 25. Here, he is working on the power play and riffling a nice shot top left for the score during a morning skate on October 26.
Trineyev made his KHL career debut on October 26 at left wing on the third-line. He recorded a little over seven minutes of ice time and recorded no points.
Trineyev returned to VHL Dynamo on October 27 and returned to the scoresheet with a power play goal. It was his first career goal in the VHL.
Trineyev returned to the KHL for Dynamo’s tilt with Lokomotiv on October 30. He logged 6:31 of ice time in seven shifts centering the fourth-line. Not a lot of ice time, but for an 18-year old this is excellent progress.
Analysis – We have only seen three of Trineyev’s games in the month of October (two KHL, One VHL) but we are impressed with what we saw. His puck sense and ability to read the play is well above most of the other players on the ice at the VHL level. He is also more of a physical player than we first anticipated.
If recent trends are any indication, Trineyev will be getting plenty of playing time as he has been switching between the VHL and KHL, depending on who has the next game. Hard to say if this continues, but it’s great experience for Bogdan.
DANIEL CARR – The Capitals announced on October 11 that they had signed unrestricted free agent forward Daniel Carr to a one-year, two-way contract, which will carry a cap hit of $700,000. Carr is currently playing for HC Lugano of the Swiss Hockey League (SHL) and will remain with the team until the commencement of the Capitals’ 2020-21 training camp.
On October 16, the Hockey Club Lugano received new indications from the Cantonal Doctor after three cases of positive COVID-19 that emerged in recent days. Players and members of the sports and locker room staff who undergo the swab test on October 14 were required to comply with home isolation up to and including October 22.
Carr returned to left wing on the top-line for Lugano’s game with HC Davos on October 23. Carr had two goals in Lugano’s 11-1 drubbing of Obertgurgau on October 25.
Carr scored Lugano’s lone goal on October 27th against Lausanne. He would pick up a loose puck on the right side and execute a quick wrap-around for the tally.
Carr has three goals and two assists in just six games played so far this season for Lugano.
Analysis – Carr is a battler in and around the net, and has shown next-level skills in the two games we have watched to date. The 6′,0″ winger plays a feisty game too. Carr could be a good fit for the Capitals in a bottom-six roll in the future, and will certainly compete for a spot in the Capitals’ upcoming training camp. We are looking forward to watching more of his games in November.
Oskar Magnusson – On the second day of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Oskar Magnusson with the 211h pick overall. The Capitals acquired the pick by trading next year’s seventh-rounder pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Magnusson played in five games in October for the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Elite League (SEL) and scored no points and got relatively low ice time. He has not played in any games from SEL Redhawks since October 20. He apparently was sent back to the Malmo Redhawks Junior 20 team. In the game of October 26, he scored 2 goals during a 6-2 victory over Södertälje.
PROSPECT PLAYING TIME DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
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]
Prospect Free Agency
Qualifying offers – The Capitals did not extend qualifying offers to Connor Hobbs and Kris Bindulis.
- Defenseman Tyler Lewington signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Nashville Predators on October 13.
- Travis Boyd signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for $700,000 on October 11.
As noted throughout the prospect updates, COVID-19 continues to affect all leagues, as many players have tested positive and games have been postponed. The typical response protocol has been to isolate infected individuals and postpone games for teams with infected players for a week to 10 days. So far all leagues continue full speed ahead, however some countries are considering closing borders, which could greatly affect leagues like the KHL.
KHL President Alexei Morozov said that the league is not going to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The League is not considering the option of temporarily suspending the regular season and a possible reduction in matches. We hope that the borders with Latvia and Finland will not be completely closed, and if anything, the league will try to agree on an exception for the KHL clubs. What is the situation with Belarus? entry problems, “Morozov said.
The Capitals added five new prospects to the system from this years NHL Entry Draft held on October 7 and 8.
- Hendrix Lapierre (C) (1st round, #22 overall)
- Bogdan Trineyev (RW) 4th round, #117 overall)
- Bear Hughes (C) (5th round, #148 overall)
- Garin Bjorklund (G) (6th round, #179 overall)
- Oskar Magnusson (LW) (7th round, #211 overall)
Lapierre and Trineyev are playing this fall (QMJHL and VHL/MHL) while other draft picks wait for play to begin.
By NoVa Caps Prospects Team