In this post we’ll take a look at the development of the Washington Capitals prospect pool from a “big picture” perspective. The expanded perspective is helpful for assessing the Capitals long-term organizational structure. The prospect projections can then be utilized to evaluate the organizational needs on a season-by-season basis.
Long-range plans help hockey management staff map the current and future status of their team and their prospects. By developing a multi-year road map, managers can identify soft spots in talent or positions for any number of years out, and ultimately identify overall organizational needs.
The long range plan is also essential for developing long-range spending plans (salary cap management) so that teams don’t work their way into a corner with regards to allowable or planned spending. Managers can identify future seasons where the cap might be extra tight, or identify team needs several years in advance.
A critical component to any successful long-range plan is the accurate projection of asset development. In hockey terms, this entails forecasting the developmental tracks (or trajectories) each of the organization’s prospects.
Prospect development tracts (or trajectories) typically contain two pertinent components: 1 ) current (evaluation) status and 2) projection of where each prospect will be for the next five seasons. Obviously the second task is the most challenging component for accurate and viable long-range planning.
The following analytical elements are included in the evaluations of each and every prospect and applied once every year:
- ADR – Annual Development Rating – a rating index for the quality of development for a player over the last calendar year. It takes into account the quality of play and amount of play over the course of the last 12 months.
- TPC – Total Potential Ceiling – This calculated rating accounts for the future potential, or ultimate ceiling for each prospect.
- NRI – NHL Readiness Index – This value provides an overall score for the current readiness of each player to begin play in the NHL. (1 = not ready, 10 – ready now).
5-Year Prospect Projections
The following are the 2021-22 preseason projections for each of the Capitals prospects, extended for the next five years. The projections are based on evaluations of more than 100 prospect games from the 2020-21 season that were conducted by our prospect analysts, as well as input from local player evaluator contacts.
The projections also include an overall forecast color code, which identifies the current projected long-term ceiling for each prospect. [Click to enlarge]
The Capitals prospect depth by position:
Left-handed Defensemen: 5
Right-handed Defensemen: 1
[Our 2020-21 Prospect Development Projections can be reviewed here. Our latest Top-25 Prospect Rankings can be found here.]
Players that will have a shot at competing for a roster spot, or that could see extended time with the Capitals this season include Martin Fehervary, Connor McMichael and Brian Pinho.
Players that could see callups for a number of games this season include Alex Alexeyev, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Zach Fucale, Brett Leason, Beck Malenstyn, Bobby Nardella, Garrett Pilon, Aliaksei Protas and Joe Snively.
Of course, the Capitals will need salary cap space in order to make certain callups occur.
Obviously these ratings can change, therefore we generate the projection plans each and every off-season.
In future posts we will begin to assess organizational needs for the next five seasons by overlaying the current roster and associated contracts (price and term) with these prospect projections to identify needs or “gaps” over the next five seasons.
By Jon Sorensen
and NoVa Caps prospect analysts team
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