Washington Capitals Prospect Report – March, 2021: Aliaksei Protas, Alex Alexeyev Shine In KHL Playoffs, Bobby Nardella Leads Djurgarden


Welcome to the seventh 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 March, 2021.  

Monthly Prospect Reports
September
October
November
December
January
February

[You can access all of our prospect news and analysis on our “Prospects” page located in the top menu]


AHL/HERSHEY BEARS


The Hershey Bears started off the month of March by surrendering a lead after two periods in a 4-3 road loss at Lehigh Valley and bookended the month with another loss at Lehigh Valley (4-1 on March 31). Despite these losses and a few hiccups along the way, the Bears completed the month with a 6-4 record.

Hershey has compiled 24 points, tied for the most points in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) North Division. Despite the total, the Bears currently sit in third place because of point percentage. The chocolate and white have played a division high 18 games and have a point percentage of .667. Lehigh Valley leads the division with a point percentage of .750 in 16 games. Utica sits in second with a point percentage of 7.22, but has only played nine games.

Unlike the opening month of the season, the Bears did not have a carousel of goalies in March. Zach Fucale and Pheonix Copley each started five games in the month.

The Hershey special teams hit a rough patch during the month. The usually strong penalty kill went through a three-game stretch where they surrendered two or more power play goals in each game. Unsurprisingly, the Bears lost two of those three games. The power play had its own struggles. The unit went through an 0 for 17 stretch in the month that was finally broken in a 6-5 loss in Newark against Binghamton.

Offensively, Philippe Maillet and Garrett Pilon paced the Bears with eight points apiece. Captain Matt Moulson and Kody Clark led the way with four goals. Moulson netted back-to-back game winners in the third period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 26 and March 28. Pilon, Shane Gersich and Brian Pinho each netted three goals. Maillet dished out a team high seven assists in March with Pilon and defenseman Martin Fehervary adding five helpers each. Hershey even got an unexpected three points from Kale Kessy, who went scoreless last season.


KODY CLARK (RW) – 21 – Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 47th overall)
The son of former NHL winger Wendall Clark produced his second straight four-point month. He netted four goals and added a helper in 10 games in March.

The Ontario native recorded his second multi-point game of the season against Binghamton on March 19, continuing his strong play against the Devils this season. Both of his multi-point games have come against Binghamton and he has scored four goals against them.

Clark now has seven goals on the season, three more than he produced during his rookie campaign. Those seven goals lead the team. Clark is also just one point shy of matching his rookie point output.

TRENDING: UP


PHEONIX COPLEY (G) – 29 – Undrafted
It was not a good start to the month of March for Copley. He surrendered four goals on 19 shots in a 4-3 loss to Lehigh Valley on March 3. The North Pole, Alaska native won his next start against Binghamton on March 7, despite giving up three goals in a game where the Hershey penalty kill struggled. His next time in net was a disaster for Copley and the Bears. The entire team broke down after jumping out to a 4-1 lead over Binghamton on March 19. The Alaskan gave up six goals on 22 shots.

However, Copley would bounce back in his next two starts. He made 10 first period saves at Lehigh Valley to keep the game scoreless and stopped 27 of 29 shots in a 6-2 win. Copley followed that up with another 10 save first period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 28 and made 26 saves in a 3-1 Hershey win.

TRENDING: SAME


MARTIN FEHERVARY (LHD) – 21- Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 46th overall)
After missing time due to an injury in February, Fehervary was a steady presence in the lineup for the Bears in March. That proved to be a good thing. He posted seven points in the month, the most among Hershey defensemen.

The Slovak’s first goal of the season came shorthanded against Lehigh Valley on March 3. He converted a feed from Riley Sutter 52 seconds into the second period.

In his next game on March 7, Fehervary delivered the overtime winner. He came off the bench and streaked down the middle of the ice. Pilon found him and Fehervary wristed his shot past the glove of Binghamton goalie Evan Cormier.

Fehervary has also noticeably stepped-up his physical game in March. Here he lays a solid hit against Lehigh Valley on March 14.

Fehervary would come to the defense of Brian Pinho after Pinho was hit with a vicious late hit on March 28 against the Penguins.

Fehervary would immediately chase down the Penguins player and drop the gloves with him.

He recorded a pair of assists on both March 19 and March 24. The second-year defenseman dished out five assists in the month. He leads Hershey defensemen in scoring with 10 points and is tied for second on the team in assists with eight.

TRENDING: UP


ZACH FUCALE (G) – 25 – Drafted 2013 (Second-Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
The Laval, Quebec native continued his strong play in March. He won three of the five games he started and gave up two goals or fewer in each of those victories. For the season, Fucale has given up more than two goals twice in seven appearances and he has won all five games in which he surrendered two or fewer goals.

On March 26, he turned away 30 of the 31 shots that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton sent his way, including 15 in the second period. He has a record of 5-2.

Fucale’s 1.71 goal-against average is the best in the AHL. He has a save percentage of .934. That is the third best percentage in the league. The Washington Capitals rewarded Fucale for his strong play by inking him to a two-year contract extension on March 28.

TRENDING: UP


SHANE GERSICH (LW) – 24 – Drafted 2014 (Fifth-Round, 134th overall)
After posting a single point and going goalless in February, Gersich scored on his first shot of March. He roofed a shot over the blocker of Lehigh Valley goalie Felix Sandstrom in the second period on March 3.

The North Dakota product would add two more goals in the month. His second goal also came against Lehigh Valley. Gersich put in a rebound for a shorthanded tally for Hershey’s first goal of the game in the second period on March 24.

The native of Chaska, Minnesota also potted an empty net goal on March 28. In addition to his three goals, Gersich contributed a pair of assists in the month. The speedy winger plays in all situations and has picked up his overall game.

TRENDING: UP


LUCAS JOHANSEN (LHD) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (First-Round, 28th overall)
Johansen did not play in the month of March after sustaining an upper body injury against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 20. The injury occurred as he was playing the puck in his own zone. Johansen took an elbow up high from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton winger Kyle Olson late in the first period. Olson received a one-game suspension from the AHL and Johansen has not played since.

TRENDING: SAME


AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY (LW) – 22 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth-Round, 147th overall)
Jonsson-Fjallby got off to a hot start in March. The Swede netted three goals in the first two games of the month. He tallied on a shorthanded breakaway at Lehigh Valley on March 3.

Jonsson-Fjallby followed that up with a two-goal performance against Lehigh Valley on March 6. His first goal came with 1:39 left in the opening period. He skated into the zone in the middle of the ice and wristed a shot, blocker side, past Lehigh Valley goalie Felix Sandstrom.

The Stockholm, Sweden native then converted from in close in the second to give the Bears a 2-0 lead.

After the fast start, Jonsson-Fjallby went on a four-game pointless streak and has one point in his last eight games. He still finds ways to contribute. The speedy Swedish winger is one of Hershey’s best penalty killers and he is a threat to score shorthanded every time out.

TRENDING: SAME


PAUL LADUE (RHD) – 28 – Drafted 2012 (Sixth-Round, 181st overall – Los Angeles)
After a bit of a slow start to the month, Ladue’s game picked up as the March went on. The North Dakota product recorded a point in three straight games from March 19 to March 24. He netted his first goal as a Hershey Bear with a power play marker in Newark against Binghamton on March 19. The tally ended a 0 for 17 stretch on the power play.

He also tallied Hershey’s second goal against Lehigh Valley on March 24 on a shot that deflected off of a defenseman and into the net.

Ladue has been paired with Martin Fehervary a lot recently and that pairing has worked well together. The Grand Forks, North Dakota native is a plus five in his last five games.

TRENDING: UP


BRETT LEASON (RW) – 21 – Drafted 2019 (Second-Round, 56th overall)
After getting off to a good start in February, Leason cooled off offensively as March went along. The month started out well for the former Prince Albert Raider.

He had the helper on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s shorthanded goal at Lehigh Valley on March 3. The winger followed that up with a pair of assists, including the primary assist on Jonsson-Fjallby’s game winner, in Hershey’s 4-1 win over Lehigh Valley on March 6.

Leason then surpassed his goal total from his rookie campaign last season by netting his fourth goal of the season against Binghamton on March 7. That goal is the last point Leason has recorded.

He is scoreless in his last seven games. The Calgary, Alberta native still sees a lot of time on the penalty kill and is not afraid to get down to block shots, but he needs to find his offensive game on a more consistent basis.

TRENDING: DOWN


PHILIPPE MAILLET – (C) – 28 – UNDRAFTED
Re-assigned to Hershey prior to the game at Lehigh Valley on March 24, Maillet saw his first action since making his NHL debut on February 7. He showed zero signs of rust and made an immediate impact.

Maillet recorded an assist on the last five Hershey goals in a 6-2 win at Lehigh Valley. Four of those helpers were primary assists. The Montreal, Quebec native followed with another multiple point game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 26. He tallied the opening goal in the first period and then later assisted on Matt Moulson’s game-winning power play goal in the third. He closed out the week by assisting on Brian Pinho’s opening goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 28.

Maillet finished with one goal and seven assists in three games and was on the ice for 11 of the 12 goals Hershey scored during the week. He ended the week as a plus eight and was not on the ice for any of Hershey’s goals against in the three games. Maillet was named the AHL/CCM Player of the Week for the week ending March 28.

TRENDING: UP


BECK MALENSTYN (LW) – 22 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth-Round, 145th overall)
Malenstyn underwent a successful surgery to repair an Achilles tendon in early December. Malenstyn sustained his injury while training in Vancouver. Based on the nature of this injury, Malenstyn is expected to miss 6-8 months.

TRENDING: SAME


CONNOR MCMICHAEL (C/RW) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (First-Round, 25th overall)
McMichael recorded his second professional, multi-goal game against Binghamton on March 21 and both of those goals proved to be big. He chipped in a rebound with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Then, McMichael one-timed a wrister to win the game as the overtime expired. It was McMichael’s third game-winning goal of the season. He is tied for the AHL lead in that category.

Those goals were the only goals that the rookie center scored in March. He also dished out two assists.

McMichael is tied for second on the team in goals with six. One area the Ajax, Ontario can improve on is converting his chances.

He is getting a lot of shots. McMichael has six games where he is has taken five or more shots. He has failed to score in four of them. He has also had quality scoring chances, especially on the power play, where he fails to get his shot on net. Converting these opportunities can take McMichael to an even higher level.

TRENDING: SAME


GARRETT PILON (C) – 22 – Drafted 2016 (Third-Round, 87th overall)
Pilon registered his second consecutive eight-point month in March. In February, the son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon only netted one goal. He turned that around this mouth.

The Mineola, New York native found the back of the net three times in March, including goals in back-to-back games before being called up to the Washington taxi squad.

Pilon recorded three multi-point games in the month to bring his season total to five. Pilon leads Hershey in points with 16 and assists with 12. He is tied for sixth in the AHL in assists.

On Friday, March 20. Pilon (3) scored at 12:35 of the second period. Will Graber (3) and Mike Sgarbossa (4) had the assists.

On Sunday, March 21, the Bears would tie the game with a goal from Garrett Pilon (4) at 2:50 of the second period.

Pilon also leads the Bears with four power play assists. He is a plus eight, the best among Hershey forwards. That total also ties him for the best rating on the team with defenseman Cameron Schilling.

TRENDING: UP


BRIAN PINHO – (C/RW) – 25 – Drafted 2013 (Sixth Round, 174th overall)
Pinho was sent to the Bears prior the March 24 game at Lehigh Valley. He contributed right away. The Providence College product netted Hershey’s fourth goal in the second period and then added an empty netter.

He also assisted on Matt Moulson’s third period goal to record a three-point game in his season debut. He contributed two assists in his next outing at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Both of those helpers were the result of defensive plays Pinho made.

In the second period, he intercepted a pass to start a rush that ended in Philippe Mailet’s goal. Then, he stole the puck along the boards and fed to Kody Clark who scored an empty net goal.

Pinho was not done scoring for the week. He potted a goal 18 seconds into the game on March 28 for a six-point week.

TRENDING: UP


DAMIEN RIAT (RW) -23- DRAFTED 2016 (Fourth-Round 117th overall)
March was a quiet month for Riat. He ended a seven-game goalless drought with an early first period goal on a wrist shot at Lehigh Valley on March 14.

The Swiss winger then went on a four-game pointless streak before snapping it with an assist on Shane Gersich’s empty netter against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 28. He picked up the secondary assist on the lone Hershey goal in a loss at Lehigh Valley on March 31.

The rookie was dropped to the fourth line for a stretch after making a costly turnover against Binghamton on March 19. Jesper Boqvist forced Riat to cough up the puck behind the net. The turnover led to a Fabian Zetterlund goal. He has since been moved back up on a line with Connor McMichael. Riat needs to bring more offensively.

TRENDING: DOWN


CAMERON SCHILLING (LHD) -32- Undrafted
Schilling does it all for the Bears. The Carmel, Indiana native plays big minutes defensively. He quarterbacks the power play and plays a ton on the penalty kill. The power play has been a work in process all season, but has shown signs of life recently with Schilling on the point.

He moves the puck quickly and sets up teammates for good shots. Schilling dished out four assists in March, bringing his season total to seven. That total is tied for the third most on the team. He is second on the team with three power play assists. Schilling is a plus eight on the season and that is tied for the best rating on the Hershey team with Garrett Pilon.

TRENDING: UP


MIKE SGARBOSSA – (C) -28- Undrafted
Sgarbossa played in six games in March for Hershey before being recalled to the Washington taxi squad on March 23. He scored the third goal in a 4-1 victory over Lehigh Valley on March 6.

That was his lone goal of the month. The next night, Sgarbossa registered the secondary assist on Martin Fehervary’s overtime winner. The Campbellville, Ontario native dished out a pair of assists against Binghamton on March 19. On the season, Sgarbossa has five goals and five assists.

TRENDING: SAME


JOE SNIVELY (LW) -25- Undrafted
March was a good month for Snively. The graduate of Yale University posted seven points. He netted a pair of goals in the month.

One of those was the game winner on March 24 when he snuck his shot past Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon’s right arm. It was his second game-winning goal on the season and that is tied for the second most on the team.

The Herndon, Virginia native had a five-game point streak from March 19 through March 28 and has points in 10 of his last 13 games. He is producing on a consistent basis.

Snively is tied for second on the team in scoring with 12 points. The winger has eight assists on the season and that is tied for the second most on the Bears.

TRENDING: UP


RILEY SUTTER (RW) -21- Drafted 2018 (Third-Round, 93rd overall)
Following a scoreless February, Sutter got off to a good start in March. He picked up his first point of the season in the second period on March 3 at Lehigh Valley when he had the primary assist on Martin Fehervary’s shorthanded goal.

The son of former NHL center Ron Sutter also assisted on Shane Gersich’s second period marker. Sutter then had the secondary assist on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s game winner against Lehigh Valley on March 6.

Unfortunately for Sutter, that was the last point he scored in the month. He went scoreless in his next seven games before being a healthy scratch for the month’s final game on March 31. Sutter is a good penalty killer, but is in line to lose playing time with the arrival of Aliaksei Protas.

TRENDING: DOWN  


CHL (WHL/OHL/QMJHL)


GARIN BJORKLUND (G) – 18 – Drafted 2020 (Sixth-Round, 179th overall)
Bjorklund is 5-3 with 2.73 GAA and a .911 save percentage including one shutout so far in the 2020-21 season.

He was 3-3 giving up 16 goals on 192 shots for a .833 save percentage in the month of March.

TRENDING: SAME


MARTIN HUGO HAS (RHD) – 19 – Drafted 2019 (Fifth-Round, 153rd overall)
Hugo Has continues to idle following his appearance in the 2021 World Juniors Tournament. It’s likely he will report to the Guelph Storm, if and when the CHL/OHL begin their season.

TRENDING: SAME


HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (First-Round, 22nd overall)
Lapierre is finally playing hockey again. The Capitals’s first round draft pick has played in just 39 games over the last two seasons.

For the month of March, Lapierre recorded four goals and nine assists in nine games.

For the season, Lapierre has 8 goals and 23 assists (31 points) in just 20 games played. He currently leads Chicoutimi with a 1.55 points per game average. He is first on the team in assists, second on the team in total points and fifth on the team in goals.

TRENDING: UP


KHL


ALEX ALEXEYEV – (LHD) – 21 – Drafted 2018 (First-Round, 31st overall)

Alex Alexeyev and Salavat Yuleav Ufa advance to the second round via shootout victory on March 11.

Salavat Yuleav Ufa was eliminated in the second round, thus ending Alexeyev’s KHL season. He finished the regular season with 8 goals and 8 assists in 55 games played and had one assist in nine games played in the post season.

Alexeyev, who has been susceptible to injury in the past, played a total of 64 games in the KHL this season with out any significant injuries. That’s most games he’s played in a single season.

Alexeyev’s KHL time in the KHL has been a tremendous boost to his overall development, while other prospects were struggling just to find games. He bang the year on Salavat’s bottom pair, but made his way to the top pair for many games. Later in the season it was clear that the team trusted his defense to place him anywhere in the lineup, and he even played quite a few games in the right side. Several in the KHL media claimed Alexeyev was Salava’s best defender by the end of the season.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke about prospects loaned to Europe in an interview with Capitals media in March. He said ”as teams finish in Europe, we’re gonna try and bring guys back and put them in Hershey to finish up the year in Hershey.”

TRENDING: UP


ALIAKSEI PROTAS (C) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Third-Round, 91st overall)

March was a whirlwind for Protas. He wrapped up his first KHL regular season and played in his first KHL postseason. Dinamo Minsk was eliminated in the first round, but Protas has thriving, and was named the best rookie for the first round of the postseason.

On March 6, Protas notched his first professional postseason goal.

on March 10, Protas had two assists.

His second assist.

Protas had two assists in Dinamo Minsk’s 4-3 OT loss to CKA. CKA took the series 4-1, ending Protas’ KHL season.

Protas was asked about his season with Dinamo Minsk following the game.

“It was my first season at such a high professional level. I believe that with each match I have progressed in different components thanks to coaches, experienced partners, and playing practice in such a strong league. I especially added in terms of psychology, understanding how to play: go out and fight in every episode. In words, this is understandable, but you have to go through it at this level.”

Protas was named “Best Rookie” for the first round of this year’s KHL playoffs. This is the first time in KHL history that a Dinamo Minsk player was nominated for the playoff award.

In five games of the Gagarin Cup playoffs, the 20-year-old Belarusian forward scored a goal, had three assists and averaged 17:12 in time on ice. In the entire history of Dinamo Minsk, only one Belarusian scored more point than Protas in a single playoff round. (Alexander Kulakov had one goal and four assists in 2011 in the series against Lokomotiv).

“I am glad that I received such recognition, this is a nice bonus to the season, which turned out to be fruitful. In this playoff series I really wanted to help the team. Everyone fought, played at the maximum, a lot turned out, but, unfortunately, the final result is not what we were striving for. Everyone wanted to advance to the next round,” said Protas in an interview for the Dinamo website.

Protas’ KHL coach, Craig Woodcroft, discussed his development in the KHL this season:

“I think first and foremost, we helped him to become a responsible, 200-foot player. We taught him about the importance of his play away from the puck. I’d like to believe that we held him accountable to a high level. We spent an awful lot of time building up his physical strength and his conditioning so that he could unleash and unlock his potential on the KHL platform. The opportunities that we provided him, you have to earn them—and he earned them. The opportunity to get powerplay time, to get time playing with some of our top players.”

Protas arrived in the states on Monday, March 22 and first practiced with the Bears on Friday, March 26. He made his AHL debut in March 31.

TRENDING: UP


BOGDAN TRINEYEV (LW) -18- Drafted 2020 (Fourth-Round, 117th overall)
For the month of March, Trineyev played in four regular season games and six playoff games in the MHL.

For the March portion of the regular season, he had three goals and six assists to complete his regular season for totals of 33 games played, 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points overall.

His goal on March 3rd.

His shooting percentage for the regular season was 17.4%.

For the playoffs, which has covered two rounds thus far, he played in six games, scoring two goals and recording two assists for four points and a shooting percentage of 15.4%.

The third round of the playoffs will commence on April 3 against Lokomotive.

Trinvey did not play in either the VHL or the KHL during March although he was called-up to the VHL for the game of March 6, but did not play. At the VHL level this year, he played in 22 games, scoring one goal and recording one assist for two points overall and was -3.

He played in three KHL games this season. He also played in 3 KHL games this season

TRENDING: UP


EUROPE (SWEDEN/SWISS LEAGUE)


TOBIAS GEISSER (LHD) – 21 – Drafted 2017 (Fourth-Round, 120th overall)
For the month of March, Geisser played in seven games and scored two goals and recorded five assists. He scored a goal in their 2-1 loss on March 20 to the ZSC Lions.

Geisser had a goal and an assist in their 7-5 win against Fribourg on March 23, and was a +3 with 23:18 of ice time.

Geisser had one assist in their March 24 win against Geneve-Servette. He had one assist in their 5-4 win against the Langnau Tigers. For the year, he has played in 45 games, has scored five goals with 15 assists.

Geisser has been a solid and reliable two-way defenseman for EV this season.

TRENDING: SAME


OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/RW) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Seventh-Round, 211th overall)
During March, Magnusson played for Tyringe SoSS in the HockeyEttan (third tier Swedish League). For the month, he played two games to finish up the regular season, scoring two goals and recording three assists. He was generally on the team’s second line but moved up to the first line this month.

On March 14, he scored a goal in their 5-3 win against the KRIF.

He played 22 games during the regular season with Tyringe SoSS, scoring six goals and recording seven assists. He has played three games in the Qualification series where he has scored two goals.

Magnusson spent most of 2020-21 in Tyringe SoSS in the HockeyEttan (third tier Swedish League) where he could get more playing time.  Prior to that, he had primarily played for Malmo Redhawks at various levels until being lent to Tyringe SoSS.

He played with Malmo Redhawks Under 20 Junior team for 12 games, scoring three goals with six assists. He played seven games with the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Elite League this season with no goals or assists.

TRENDING: SAME


SEBASTIAN WALFRIDSSON (LHD) -21- Drafted 2017 (Fifth-Round, 171st overall)
For the month of March, Walfridsson played in 2 games and recorded no points. For the season, Walfridsson has played in 40 games with 5 goals and 7 assists.

TRENDING: SAME


BOBBY NARDELLA (LHD) – 24 – Undrafted
During the month of March, Bobby Nardella scored one goal and recorded five assists in five games. He scored a goal and had one assist in the tame against Leksand where they lost 5-4 in Overtime.

The 24-year-old defender quickly adapted to the SHL during the autumn when he was loaned to Djurgården by the Capitals.

After a slightly shaky debut against Linköping on October 15, Nardella has been solid good  and gained a lot of confidence from Djurgården coach Robert Ohlsson.

Nardella was hampered by an injury in March, but seems to have it under control.

“It feels good. I have had an injury that has lingered and that I have had to deal with a little neighbor. We had a little play last week and it was a good opportunity for me to rest it a bit. It has felt good at the beginning of the week, said Nardella to HockeyNews.se.

Nardella likes Djurgården’s way of playing.

“It suits me very well, of course. skating is part of my game and the bigger the ice, the more skating and it helps me and gives me more space in certain parts of the ice. It helps me play well.”

For the season, he has played in 47 games, scored 7 goals and recorded 26 assists for 33 points overall.

TRENDING: UP


KRISTIAN ROYKAS-MARTHINSEN (LW) -21- Drafted 2017 (Seventh-Round, 213th overall)
During March, he played in four games and scored 0 goals for HC Dalen in HockeyEttan (third tier Swedish League).

For the 2020-21 season, he played in 40 games, scored 14 goals and recorded 7 assists for 21 points.  He and his brother both signed contract extensions with HC Dalen.

TRENDING: SAME


NCAA/USHL


MITCHELL GIBSON (G) – 21 – Drafted 2018 (Fourth-Round, 124th overall)
Gibson remains idle, as Harvard’s hockey season was cancelled in its entirety. He has not played since the beginning of March, 2020.

TRENDING: SAME


BEAR HUGHES (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Fifth-Round, 148th overall)
Hughes continues to center the second line for the Fargo Force.

As the points weren’t coming for Hughes, he also experienced somes struggles in the small details of his game that he is normally on top of.

He is seeing gradual improvement and getting into a rhythm. With fewer chances in games, Hughes has adjusted and tries to finish the opportunities that come. He says experiencing that has been good.

One area he has been focusing on improving is his work at the dot.

“Ryan O’Reilly is known for being strong on faceoffs,” says Hughes. “I’m figuring out little tricks here and there and it’s a skill that takes time to get better at.”

As for his offensive production in the month of March, Hughes recorded three goals and seven assists in 10 games.

Goal on March 5.

Goal on March 26.

Goal on March 27.

Force head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux spoke about Hughes on March 13.

“Bear is currently playing his best hockey and we only see it improving,” says Lamoureaux. “He’s playing a big role with our team five-on-five, as well as playing a large role on our power-play and penalty-kill units. He’s playing fast and physically. His hard work is starting to pay off and he is getting rewarded,” said Lamoureux.

Lamoureux says Hughes ability to adapt and impact the game up and down the lineup is very valuable. As a coach, he can play in every situation. Since he’s settled in and has adjusted to the speed and new team, he is executing offensively.

“Bear has a tremendous amount of upside,” says Lamoureaux. “Bear provides a humble veteran presence to our group. He is a soft-spoken young man, however, he is confident and well thought out. When he speaks, his teammates listen.”

For the season, Hughes has eight goals and 12 assists in 27 games played.

TRENDING: UP


BENTON MAASS (RHD) – 22 – Drafted 2017 (Sixth-Round, 182nd overall)
UNH had two Hockey East Playoff games in March. Due to COVID, the format was single elimination. UNH beat Maine in Orono 7-2 in the first game. However, Maass was injured and left the lineup early in the game.

Four days later, UNH faced BC at Chestnut Hill, MA. BC was ranked #1 in the nation at the time. A determined Maass played his regular shift and penalty kill duties in a shoulder harness. It prevented him from raising one arm above the injured shoulder or putting his right hand on the stick whenever he was skating.

Early in the second period, Maass nearly beat Spencer Knight, the Mike Richter Award Finalist, with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle. Trailing 3-0, UNH scored two second period goals but was unable to tie the game. Maass now has the option to pursue a pro contract with the Capitals organization or return for a fifth season with UNH.

[NOTE ADDED 4/2] Benton entered the transfer portal today. It is likely Benton is trying to keep all his options open including using his 5th year of eligibility to hookup with a program that’s a contender for winning the National Championship.

Also, he is a high end student who could be looking for a particular grad school opportunity. Benton leaving UNH works for him and the coaching staff. The +/- numbers for the Dcore was not good this year and the penalty kill was not good at all.

Benton is the only defenseman on the roster who is a graduating senior. The coaches need him to move on so they can bring in a couple of committed defensemen who have terrific +/- numbers in the USHL. So whether Benton goes to another college program next year or works out a contract with the Capitals organization remains to be seen.

TRENDING: SAME


By NoVa Caps Prospect Analysis Team

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 Civil 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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1 Response to Washington Capitals Prospect Report – March, 2021: Aliaksei Protas, Alex Alexeyev Shine In KHL Playoffs, Bobby Nardella Leads Djurgarden

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent report, as always. I looked forward to these detailed breakdowns at the beginning of eac and every month.

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