Washington Capitals Prospect Report – May, 2021: Connor McMichael Finishes With A Bang, Aliaksei Protas And Tobias Geisser Participate In World Championship

Welcome to the ninth installment of our Washington Capitals Monthly Prospects Report for the 2020-2021 season. This report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of May, 2021. 

Monthly Prospect Reports

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


The Hershey Bears concluded the 2021 American Hockey League (AHL) season in style. The chocolate and white triumphed in six of the seven games they played in the month of May. With their victory over Binghamton on May 15, the Bears clinched the North Division title. Later that day, Hershey captured the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL regular season champions when the Toronto Marlies defeated the Laval Rocket.

The Bears compiled 50 points in 33 games with a record of 24-7-2. Their .758 percentage was the best in the league. Hershey scored 110 goals on the season, while surrendering 77. The goaltending duo of Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale earned the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award by the AHL. The award goes to the goaltender or goaltenders on the team who allow the fewest goals per game. On the season, the Bears allowed an average of 2.33 goals per game. The last time the chocolate and white won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award was during the 1996-97 Calder Cup Championship season with goalie J.F. Labbe.

Offensively, Hershey was led by a kid and a grizzled veteran. Rookie Connor McMichael posted nine points in seven games in May to end the season with a team high 27 points. 37-year-old Matt Moulson was right behind McMichael on the scoring list with 24 points. The Bears had two other players reach the 20-point plateau. Philippe Maillet put up 21 points in just 15 games and tied for the team lead in assists with defenseman Cameron Schilling. Second-year pro Brett Leason put up six points in May to end his sophomore campaign with 20 points.

The AHL announced on May 28 that Hershey Bears head coach Spencer Carbery has been awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2020-21 season. The award is voted on by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 28 active member cities.

ALEX ALEXEYEV (LD) – 21 – Drafted 2018 (First Round, 31st overall)
After amassing six points in April, Alexeyev put up four points in May. He started the month off with a multi-point game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 1. The Russian blue liner deposited a rebound off of a Kale Kessy shot to tie the game at two in the second period.

Alexeyev then picked up the lone assist on Connor McMichael’s overtime game-winning goal. He posted two points in his final six games. The native of St. Petersburg, Russia played in all situations and was steady in his own zone. He was a plus 11 in 12 game played for the Bears. Alexeyev benefitted from his time this season in the KHL. It gave him a confidence in his game that was evident in his play after he returned to Hershey. He also played with a level of joy. After the season finale, the Bears saluted their fans as the fans gave the players a standing ovation. Alexeyev was skating around urging the crowd to get louder. The second-year defenseman spent two months with Hershey and scored two goals and dished out seven assists. He was rewarded with a call up to the Capitals for their playoff run.


KODY CLARK (RW) – 21 – Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 47th overall)
Clark’s promising sophomore season came to a halt on April 3 when he suffered an upper body injury. He missed the remainder of the season with that injury. The son of former NHL winger Wendall Clark ended the season with seven goals and two assists in 19 games played.


PHEONIX COPLEY (G) – 29 – Undrafted
The North Pole, Alaska native got the start three times in May. He won two of those starts to finish with a 10-4-1 record. His last start against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on May 8 was a special one for the netminder. Copley stopped all 34 shots the Phantoms sent his way to record a shutout in his 100th career AHL victory. It was the Michigan Tech product’s second shutout of the season. Copley combined with Zach Fucale to capture Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award. He was summoned to Washington and backed up Craig Anderson in game two of the Capitals first round Stanley Cup playoff series with Boston. Copley finished the season with a 2.66 GAA and a .896 save percentage in 16 games.


MARTIN FEHERVARY (LHD) – 21- Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 46th overall)
The Slovak defender suited up for the Bears in three games in May before being recalled to the Washington taxi squad. He assisted on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s second period goal at Lehigh Valley on May 5. The helper extended his assist streak to five games. Fehervary was held scoreless in his final two games with the chocolate and white. He ended the season with 17 points, the second most by a Hershey defenseman. The native of Bratislava, Slovakia was third on the team with 14 assists. Fehervary netted three goals on the season, two of those were game winners. Look for Fehervary to earn a spot on the Capitals blue line this fall.


ZACH FUCALE (G) – 25 – Drafted 2013 (Second-Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
Due to time on the Washington taxi squad, Fucale only played in a single game for the Bears in May. The lone game was the division-clinching win over the Binghamton Devils on May 15. The Laval, Quebec native turned aside 23 of the 25 shots he faced as Hershey skated to a 3-2 victory. Fucale ended the season with a 1.80 goals-against average, the best in the AHL. He also finished second in the league with a save percentage of .932. Fucale went 9-2 on the season with a shutout. He teamed with Pheonix Copley to earn the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the fewest goals given up per game in the AHL.


SHANE GERSICH (LW) – 24 – Drafted 2014 (Fifth-Round, 134th overall)
The Chaska, Minnesota native dished out four assists in May to bring his season assist total to eight. That equals the number of helpers Gersich had in 54 games last season. He posted his first two-point game of the season on May 8. Gersich was responsible for the primary assist on both Hershey goals in a 2-0 win over Lehigh Valley. In the season finale on May 16, the University of Minnesota product got into a scrap with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Kasper Bjorqvist in the second period. Gersich then kept the puck in the offensive end and picked up the lone assist of Eddie Wittchow’s well-executed goal in the third period. The Minnesotan was one of Hershey’s best penalty killers and was consistently deployed in shorthanded situations. Gersich finished the season with 14 points.


LUCAS JOHANSEN (LHD) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (First-Round, 28th overall)
2021 was another lost season for Johansen. He was injured on a high hit on February 5 in a game versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and never saw the ice again. Johansen played in just five games this season and had two assists in those five contests.


AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY (LW) – 22 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth-Round, 147th overall)
The speedy Swedish winger finished the season on a strong goal scoring run. Jonsson-Fjallby tallied a goal in three of the five games he played in May and six in his final nine games of the season.

The run brought his season goal total to 10. He finished with three game-winning goals, tied for the second most on the team. It is the second straight season that the Swede has scored 10 or more goals.

He added five helpers to end the season with 15 points. Jonsson-Fjallby was Hershey’s most dangerous penalty killer. He was a threat to score shorthanded every time he took the ice. The Stockholm, Sweden native did score twice shorthanded, tied for the fourth most in the AHL. Jonsson-Fjallby’s speed and penalty kill abilities put him in a position to earn an NHL roster spot in a bottom six role.

He likely would have been recalled to Washington for the playoffs if not for suffering an injury to his left foot/ankle that forced him to miss the final two games of the season.


PAUL LADUE (RHD) – 28 – Drafted 2012 (Sixth-Round, 181st overall – Los Angeles)
The North Dakota alum returned to Hershey for their final two games of the season after spending a month on the Washington taxi squad. Ladue potted Hershey’s first goal in the second period on May 15 against Binghamton.

He then had the secondary assist on Brett Leason’s third period goal in Sunday’s win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Ladue played in 18 games for the Bears this season. He scored three goals and added five assists for eight points. He was a plus 11 on the season, tied for the second-best rating among Hershey defensemen.


BRETT LEASON (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2019 (Second-Round, 56th overall)
Leason finished the season strong. The second-year winger netted three goals in May, including two game-winners, and also dished out three assists.

Leason compiled four points in the last two games of the season. The Calgary, Alberta native had the primary assist on Connor McMichael’s game-winning goal on May 15 versus Binghamton. He followed that up with a three-point game in the season finale on May 16. He picked up the assist on McMichael’s opening goal in the first.

His goal early in the second proved to be the game-winner and he closed out his season with a five-on-three power play goal off of a sweet feed from McMichael.

Leason’s scored nine goals in 33 gamess in his sophomore campaign, six more than he did in 50 games as a rookie. He equaled his assist total with 11. Leason amassed 20 points on the season, fourth most on the Bears.


The Montreal, Quebec native played in the first five games of the month for the Bears before being summoned to Washington, where he played in the Capitals regular season finale. Maillet recorded a point in four of those five games with the Bears. He ended the month with two goals and four assists.

On May 8, Maillet registered his 100th career AHL assist when he had the primary helper on Joe Snively’s second period tally against Lehigh Valley. He added an empty net goal to seal the 3-0 victory in what would prove to be his last game of the season in Hershey. The two-point game brough Maillet’s season point total to 21 points. He amassed those 21 points in just 16 games and tied for the team lead in assists with 15. He also tied for the team lead in plus/minus with a plus 12 rating.


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.


CONNOR MCMICHAEL (C/RW) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (First-Round, 25th overall)
McMichael was supposed to be playing in the Ontario Hockey League this season. Instead, he led the AHL regular season champion Hershey Bears in scoring. The rookie pivot played with a poise and maturity that belies his age. A steady player all season long, McMichael saved his best for last. The Ajax, Ontario native tallied four goals and dished out five assists in May.

Three of his goals were game winners, including the overtime winner at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 1 and the deciding goal in the North Division-clinching victory on May 15.

McMichael completed the season with eight game-winning goals, the most in the AHL. In the season finale against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 16, McMichael put on a show. He tipped in Hershey’s opening goal on a power play in the first period.

Then, he set up Matt Moulson’s power play goal with a perfectly placed centering pass. Early in the second period, he picked up another primary assist when Brett Leason deflected his pass into the net. McMichael closed out the season by sending a no-look, backhanded pass through the crease to a wide open Leason for a five-on-three power play goal.

McMichael was involved in six of the eight goals the Bears scored during the final weekend. The center finished the season with a team high 27 points. He also led the team with 14 goals.

The American Hockey League announced the 2020-21 AHL All-Rookie Team on May 25, as voted by coaches, players, and media in each of the league’s 28 active member cities. Selected was Hershey Bears center Connor McMichael, making him the first forward in franchise history to be named to the AHL’s All-Rookie team.


GARRETT PILON (C) – 22 – Drafted 2016 (Third-Round, 87th overall)
Pilon was recalled to the Capitals taxi squad on March 23rd and remained on the Capitals taxi squad for the remainder of the season. He was recalled from the taxi squad to the active roster and made his NHL debut on May 8th against the Flyers. Pilon finished his AHL season with four goals and 12 assists in just 14 games with the Bears.


BRIAN PINHO – (C/RW) – 25 – Drafted 2013 (Sixth Round, 174th overall)
The Providence College product did not see any action in May. He took a hit in a game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on April 24 and that hit ended his season. In 10 games, Pinho netted eight goals and dished out four assists. He led the team with five empty net goals


ALIAKSEI PROTAS (C) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Third Round, 91st overall)
The Belarussian snapped a six-game scoreless drought on May 5, when he recorded a secondary helper on Damien Riat’s first period goal. Protas broke a 10-game goalless streak on May 15 against Binghamton. He gathered the puck just outside the defensive blue line and sped forward. Protas pushed the puck ahead and then slid the puck through Jeremy Brodeur’s five-hole to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.

He closed his season with an assist on Connor McMichael’s opening goal on May 16. In 16 games, Protas potted two goals and had five assists. It was Protas’ first AHL action and he showed signs of being a productive player. He is strong on the puck and skates well. He will benefit from a full training camp and should improve next season.

Following the conclusion of the AHL season, Protas quickly departed for Europe to join the Belarus national team for this year’s World Championship in Riga, Latvia. He had an assist on May 26 against Great Britain.

A good video breakdown of Protas’ game against Great Britain can be found here.

Protas earned another assist against Denmark on May 28. He would win the draw and send the puck up top to setup the score.


DAMIEN RIAT (RW) -23- DRAFTED 2016 (Fourth-Round 117th overall)
Riat struggled a bit offensively down the stretch. His lone offensive contribution in the month came on May 5. Riat finished-off a nice, tic-tac-toe passing sequence by one-timing a Aliaksei Protas’ feed into the net.

He went scoreless in his last four games of the season. The Swiss winger played in all 33 games for Hershey this season, totaling three goals and six assists in his rookie campaign. Riat seemed to hit a wall down the stretch. He had only two points in his last 14 games. The Geneva, Switzerland native did play 20 games with his hometown Geneve-Servette team before crossing the Atlantic Ocean and joining the Bears. Like Protas, Riat will benefit from a full training camp next season. He finished the season with three goals and nine assists.


Schilling was brought in during the offseason to lead the defense and he did just that. After missing the first two games of the season, he played in Hershey’s last 31 games. The Carmel, Indiana native brought a steady presence to a blue line that was beset by injuries. Schilling played in all situations and he produced. The veteran defenseman tied Philippe Maillet for the team lead in plus/minus with a plus 12 rating. He also was tied with Maillet for the most assists on the team with 15. Those 15 assists tied him for 10th among AHL defenseman. Schilling led all Hershey defensemen with 19 points, a total that placed him in a tie for seventh on the AHL defensemen scoring list. In May, he netted a goal and added four assists. Schilling reached two personal milestones in the month. On May 1, he wristed a shot in for the Bears’ first goal of the game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The marker was the 200th point of Schilling professional career.

A day later, he had had the secondary assist on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s empty net goal and that was the 200th point of his AHL career. He was deserving of a recall to Washington as a member of the Black Aces, but did not receive one.


MIKE SGARBOSSA – (C) -28- Undrafted
Sgarbossa was sent to Hershey for the final weekend of the AHL season. He centered Matt Moulson and Joe Snively in a game against Binghamton on May 15. He was held scoreless in the game. He missed the season finale due to an injury. Sgarbossa skated in 14 games for the Bears this campaign. He potted five goals and added five assists during the season.


JOE SNIVELY (LW) -25- Undrafted
The Herndon, Virginia native had his lowest point total of the season in May. Snively recorded a goal and assist in the month. His lone goal of the month came in the second period of a 3-0 win over Lehigh Valley on May 8.

Snively was hot in March, but was not the same player after being injured in practice in April. He totaled three points in his last eight games after coming back from his injury. Snively concluded the season with six goals and 11 assists. Half of his goals were of the game-winning variety, tied for the second most on the team behind Connor McMichael.


RILEY SUTTER (RW) -21- Drafted 2018 (Third-Round, 93rd overall)
Sutter got off to a good start in May with two helpers in a 4-3 overtime win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 1. One of those assists came on Kale Kessy’s tying goal in the third period. He went scoreless in his next two games. In the second of those two games, Sutter was injured and he did not play in another game. The son of former NHL center Ron Sutter did not score a goal in his sophomore more season, but did finish with nine assists. His play in his own end was a lot better than his rookie season. Sutter improved to a plus seven this season after being a minus player as a rookie. He also saw a lot of time on the penalty kill.



GARIN BJORKLUND (G) – 18 – Drafted 2020 (Sixth-Round, 179th overall)
Bjorklund played in two games in the month of May, winning one and losing one, but had a strong showing in both games. He stopped 62 of 66 shots faced for a .939 save percentage in the two games. For the season, the 18-year-old went 10-7-1 with a 2.60 GAA and a .921 save percentage.


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 in December and January. It’s likely he will report to the OHL’s Guelph Storm this fall.


HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (First-Round, 22nd overall)
For the month of May, Caps’ prospect, Hendrix Lapierre was in the playoffs with his team, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. During the month of May, he had three goals and four assists as they played in the second and third rounds of the QMJHL playoffs.

His team advanced past the Quebec Ramparts in the second round but were swept by the Val D’or Foreurs in the third round. With that sweep, Hendrix Lapierre’s season is complete.

For the regular season, Lapierre played in 21 games, scored eight goals and had 23 assists for 31 points.

Lapierre played the entire season at left wing on the top line for the Sagueneens.



BOGDAN TRINEYEV (LW) -18- Drafted 2020 (Fourth-Round, 117th overall)
Trineyev’s season is complete. For the regular season in the MHL, Trineyev played in 33 games, scoring 15 goals and recording 15 assists for 30 points. He also played in 22 games at the VHL level for Dynamo, scoring one goal and recording one assist. He even got into three games for Moscow Dynamo at the KHL level. Look for Trineyev to play mostly in the VHL next season, with a few more games at the KHL level.



TOBIAS GEISSER (LHD) – 21 – Drafted 2017 (Fourth-Round, 120th overall)
During the month of May, Tobias Geisser played in four games with no goals or assists. He played on the top defensive pairing in all three games in the Final Round of the Playoffs and, during May, played in the last game of the semi finals. His team, EV Zug won the Swiss National League championship. He played in 12 games for April and scored 1 goal, This included 8 playoff games and 5 regular season games. Geisser has played in three games for the Swiss National team and is a -3 as of May 28. Look for Geisser to return to Hershey this fall.


OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/RW) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Seventh-Round, 211th overall)
Magnusson’ s season is complete. He played in six games for Tyringe SoSS of the HockeyEttan League in the relegation round. He scored one goal in the game against Tranås AIF on April 2.  Magnusson scored three goals in six games during the relegation round that took place in late March and April.  The other two goals were in March. Magnusson played 24 games with Tyringe SoSS during the 2020-21 regular season, scoring six goals and recording seven assists. He also played with the 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.


SEBASTIAN WALFRIDSSON (LHD) -21- Drafted 2017 (Fifth-Round, 171st overall)

Walfridsson’s season is complete. Walfridsson, who played for HC Visby Roma of the HockeyEttan League, played in a total of six games during the qualification round prior to the playoffs. He recorded a total of three assists. Walfridsson had an assist on the game winning goal that Alex Ek scored on April 3. On April 6, he assisted on a goal that tied the game at 1-1 during the second period in a game that Visby Roma went onto lose 4-1. On April 9, Walfridsson assisted on the first goal the team scored late in the first period in a game that Visby Roma went on to lost 5-2, as they were eliminated from the playoffs. For the 2020-21 regular season, Walfridsson played in 40 games with 5 goals and 7 assists. The Capitals rights to Walfridsson expires June 1, 2o21.


BOBBY NARDELLA (LHD) – 24 – Undrafted
Nardella was officially re-assigned to the Hershey Bears in mid-April, but did not play for the Bears this season due to injury. For the  2020-21 regular season, he played in 47 games for Djurgarden, scoring 7 goals and recording 26 assists for 33 points overall. Look for Nardella to return to the Bears full time in the fall, and make some noise for a potential look by the Capitals.


KRISTIAN ROYKAS-MARTHINSEN (LW) -21- Drafted 2017 (Seventh-Round, 213th overall)
Roykas-Marthinsen’s season is complete. Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen, who played for HC Dalen of the HockeyEttan League, did not play at all in April, as his team was eliminated by Mariestad in late March. He played in two games in the qualification series and did not score or record an assist. For the 2020-21 regular season, Roykas-Marthinsen 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. The Capitals rights to Roykas-Marthinsen expires on June 1.



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.


BEAR HUGHES (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Fifth-Round, 148th overall)
Hughes and the Fargo Force played eight playoff games in the month of May. Hughes had one goal and one assist in those eight playoff games.

For the season, Hughes had 9 goals and 15 assists in 35 games played for a .69 points per game average. He recorded 67 shots for a 13.4% shooting efficiency.


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 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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Report – May, 2021: Connor McMichael Finishes With A Bang, Aliaksei Protas And Tobias Geisser Participate In World Championship

  1. Marky says:

    Thank You Jon. Love to see these prospect reports all year long. It’s great to keep up with what the kids are doing and how they are developing. I’m looking forward to Fehrevary in a starting role and also Fjialby and Pilon, the latter was mentioned by Bmac as getting more next year. I am also interested in seeing how Beck Malenstyn has recovered and how he looks next fall. The Caps are pretty high on him as he can be compared to a poor man’s Wilson, in terms of his size, aggression and special teams prowess. He looked pretty good in the few games he got into the year before.

  2. Marky says:

    Thank You Jon very much for these prospect reports during the year. They are very informative and it ‘s really good and useful for those of us who like to keep up on the kids and how they are developing. I am looking forward to Fehrevary in a starters role. Also, looking forward to seeing forwards Fjiallby and Pilon (again) with extended looks maybe. A darkhorse player to me is Beck Malenstyn who looked good two years ago in one or two Caps games. He reminds me of a poor man’s Wilson. Someone who’s big and tough and is a good defender and good special teams player with good reach. Thanks again.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Thank you, Mark. I also wonder about Malenstyn. He was on such a positive trajectory before his injury. He’s a good leader, physical player that is excellent on the penalty kill as well. Certainly has the makings for a future bottom six player for the Caps.

  3. Novafyre says:

    Seems to me the Caps should be looking to Hershey for infusion rather than trading with other teams.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Considering salary cap situation and age of team, I would expect two, possibly three prospects will get a real shot at making the roster this fall.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Excellent summary, as always. I look forward to the end of each month for these detailed notes.

  5. Pingback: Saturday Caps Clips

Leave a Reply