Washington Capitals Prospect Report: December, 2021 – Bobby Nardella, Shane Gersich, Kody Clark Pick Up Their Games In December

Welcome to the third installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals Monthly Prospects Report for the 2021-2022 season. This report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of December, 2021.  

The report is categorized by leagues/regions in which each prospect plays in the following order:

  • AHL (Hershey Bears)

Previous Monthly Prospect Reports for 2021-22 Season

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


December was not a jolly month for the Hershey Bears off the ice. The month was filled with COVID issues, postponed games and roster upheaval. On the ice, the Bears persevered and put together a solid month.

Hershey got off to a late start in December when the first three games of the month were postponed due to a COVID outbreak on the team. When they returned to the ice, the Bears won four of their first five games. The chocolate and white lost their next two contests and then went back into a COVID pause right before the Christmas break. Hershey returned to top the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins twice despite being without a lot of players. They ended the month with a 6-3 record. The chocolate and white went 5-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the month.

The Bears currently sit in third place in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .596. They closed their 2021 portion of the season with a record of 14-9-2-1, good for 31 points.

Offensively, Mike Vecchione and Ryan Dmowski led the way with nine points in December. Dmowksi tallied six goals in the month. Captain Matt Moulson added eight points and defenseman Bobby Nardella each amassed eight points in the month. Leading scorer Joe Snively chipped in with seven points.

Goalie Pheonix Copley performed well in December, giving Hershey a strong backbone. The defense tightened up and the penalty kill was not as leaky as it was in November. Hunter Shepard came up at the end of the month and won a pair of games.

ALEX ALEXEYEV (LD/RD) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (First Round, 31st overall) Alexeyev continued his sluggish start to the season for the first half of December. He would finally pot his first goal of the season on December 12 against the Laval Rocket. He corralled a pass from Cody Franson that bounced off the left boards, powered his way towards the goal and roofed his shot under the crossbar to the shortside. The marker was Alexeyev’s lone point of the month.

He continues to struggle to find the offensive game he showed in last year’s COVID-shortened season. The good news is Alexeyev turned his defensive game around in December. He entered the month with a minus four rating after being a minus player for six of 10 games in November. Alexeyev posted a plus five rating in December and was not a minus player in any game. His game settled down in his own end and he was scrambling less and making fewer defensive blunders. He made his NHL debut on December 29 for the Capitals.


KODY CLARK (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 47th overall)
Clark equaled his offensive production from the first two months of the season in December. He entered the month with five points and then compiled five points in 2021’s final month.

The Chicago, Illinois native’s first point came in a 4-1 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 14. It proved to be the game-winning goal. Late in the second period, the son of former NHL winger Wendell Clark controlled the puck behind the net and flipped the puck out in front of the goal. The puck bounced of of a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player and in.

The third-year winger had his best game of the season two games later against the same opponent. Clark set up Kale Kessy for the opening goal of the game and then tallied the second Hershey goal in the first period. A Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player passed the puck back to the center of the ice and right to Clark. He took advantage of the gift and deposited his shot five-hole to put the Bears up 2-0.

Clark completed his first three-point game of the season in the second. He sped into the offensive zone and feathered a pass to Mason Morelli, who buried his shot.

Clark’s last point of the month came on Ryan Dmowski’s goal in a 2-1 loss at Lehigh Valley on December 21. He entered COVID protocol after the Christmas break and was absent for the final two games of the month.


PHEONIX COPLEY (G) – 29 – Undrafted
December was Copley’s best month of the season so far. The veteran netminder went 4-1 in five starts. He started the month making 28 saves in a 3-2 overtime win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 11. He turned aside 10 shots in the first period and allowed the Bears to come out of the period tied 1-1.

The North Pole, Alaska made a left pad save on Nathan Legare, who came in all alone. Copley then made another left pad stop on Legare’s rebound attempt and covered the puck.

The following week, the Alaskan won all three of his starts. He began by beating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, again. He made 18 saves in a 4-1 win, losing his shutout bid late in the third. Copley would not let anything past him in his next start.

He turned aside all 28 shots he faced in a 2-0 shutout victory at Springfield on December 17. In that game, Copley had 10 saves in both the first and third periods. On the next night, Copley victimized Wilkes-Barre/Scranton again, stopping 33 shots in an 8-3 Hershey triumph. He had a 24 total saves in the last two periods.

Copley lost his final start at Lehigh Valley, 2-1, in a game where the Bears were scrambling to field a lineup. He was then called up to Washington and backed up Ilya Samsonov on December 29.

For the season, Copley is now 8-5-1-1 with a 2.75 GAA and a .897 save percentage.


ZACH FUCALE (G) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Second Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
Fucale started just one game for the Bears in December and it did not go particularly well for the netminder. He surrendered four goals on 21 shots against the Laval Rocket.

The native of Laval, Quebec did make several quality saves in the game. He stopped Jean-Christophe Beaudin on a two-on-one just 2:20 into the game. Two minutes later, he turned a shot away with his mask. With 8:11 left in the opening period, Fucale made a shoulder save to prevent another Laval opportunity.

In the end, he was done in by Hershey’s breakdowns on the power play, as the Rocket scored twice shorthanded, including on a game-winning penalty shot in the third period. Fucale spent the rest of the month either with the Capitals or in COVID protocol.

For the season, Fucale is 4-2-2-0 with a 2.80 GAA and a .889 save percentage with the Bears.


TOBIAS GEISSER (LD) – 22- Drafted 2017 (Fourth Round, 120th overall)
The Swiss-born defender finally broke the ice and scored his first AHL goal in the final game of 2021 on December 29. Geisser wristed a shot from the top of the left circle through a screen and over the glove of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Alex D’Orio to open the scoring early in the second period. The goal was his second point of the month, as he picked up a secondary assist on Joe Snively’s first period goal on December 14.

Geisser did have some issues defensively during the month. He had a backhanded clearing attempt intercepted by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chris Bigras late in the first period. The turnover led to Jordy Bellerive’s goal. A mistake late in the third period versus Rochester on December 19 led to the game-winning goal. On a delayed offside, Geisser had a free chance to clear the puck out of the zone. The play was to put the puck ahead of teammate Kody Clark in the neutral zone and allow him to skate onto it. Geisser’s pass was behind Clark. The puck hit the linesman and Clark then got entangled with that linesman. This led to Peyton Krebs coming in all alone and potting the game winner. He has to eliminate these types of mistakes from his game to take the next step in his development.


SHANE GERSICH (C/LW) – 25 – Drafted 2014 (Fifth Round, 134th overall)
After a slow start, Gersich is finding his game, winning battles along the boards and is mucking and grinding with success. The North Dakota product amassed four points in the month, one more than his total in the season’s first two months combined.

Gersich recorded the primary assist on Matt Moulson’s third period goal at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 14. He fed the puck from behind the net and Moulson one-timed the feed home.

The Chaska, Minnesota native potted his lone goal of the month on December 18, when his last-minute shorthanded goal finished off an 8-3 Hershey win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Gersich’s best game of the season came in the last game of the month. The strengths of his game were highlighted throughout. His line was on the ice for four Hershey goals and he dished out two assists. Gersich’s work ethic was on display on Dylan McIlrath’s third period goal. He harassed a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defender enough to force him into a bad pass. After he took an errant shot, he hustled to the right boards and was the recipient of a big hit. Gersich got right up and won a puck battle. He pushed a pass back to McIlrath, who fired his shot into the net.

For the season, Gersich has three goals and eight assists in 24 games played. He’s shot the puck 36 times for a 8.3% shooting percentage.


LUCAS JOHANSEN (LD) – 24 – Drafted 2016 (First Round, 28th overall)
After missing the first two games of December due to COVID protocols, Johansen skated in five games for the Bears in the month. He had the primary assist on the game-winning goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 18. Johansen hit Mike Vecchione in stride with a stretch pass.

He was a plus five for the month, improving his rating to a plus 14 for the season. That is the best rating among Hershey defensemen and is second overall on the team. The Vancouver, British Columbia native continues to be the team’s best defenseman. He makes good decisions in his own end and his positioning has been sound.

Johansen was added to the Washington taxi squad on December 27 and made his NHL debut in December 31 against the Red Wings in Detroit,


AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY (LW) – 23 –  Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 147th overall)
The Swedish winger enjoyed a productive month. Jonsson-Fjallby recorded a point in five of the seven games he played in December. He finished the month with six points, five of which came against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Jonsson-Fjallby netted the overtime game winner against the Penguins on December 11. The Swede batted the puck out of the air off a rebound from a Mike Vecchione shot and into the net for the game winner. It was Jonsson-Fjallby’s second overtime winner of the season.

He also registered a two-point game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 18. He picked up the secondary helper on Ryan Dmowski’s first period goal and then netted a power play marker in the third frame. Jonsson-Fjallby missed two games while being in COVID protocol.

For the season, Jonsson-Fjallby has six goals and seven assists in 18 games played for the Bears. He’s shot the puck 38 times for a 15.8% shooting percentage.


MICHAEL KEMPNY (LD) – 31 – Undrafted
Kempny has been a bit of a mixed bag. There are times where he looks strong defensively and plays like a top pair defenseman. Then, there are mistakes that are mind-boggling for a player of his experience.

The Czech defender uses his stick well in the defensive zone and consistently breaks up plays with that stick. Kempny’s more stay-at-home style has allowed defense partner Bobby Nardella to join the play offensively and that has been productive for Hershey.

On the flip side, Kempny’s mistakes have been costly. He set up Rochester’s first goal on December 19. He had the puck behind the net and passed the puck out to the side of the net right to Rochester’s Sean Malone, who quickly fed Ryan MacInnis for an easy goal. Then at Lehigh Valley two nights later, Kempny allowed Connor Bunnaman stickhandle between him and Garrett Pilon. Bunnaman scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal. These mistakes are expected from a young defenseman, not a veteran. Kempny has to cut down on these errors.

After the Christmas break, Kempny was recalled to Washington and skated in the Capitals win over Nashville on December 30.


BRETT LEASON (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2019 (Second Round, 56th overall)
Despite being re-assigned on several occasions during the month, Leason actually only returned to the Bears for one game in December. He was held off the scoresheet in a 2-1 loss at Lehigh Valley on December 21. Leason was a -1 with a shot on goal.

He was recalled to Washington to join the newly formed Taxi Squad on December 27 and was activated for the Capitals game on December 29. The Calgary, Alberta native registered a two-point game on December 17 in a game at Winnipeg. He tallied the opening goal of the game and added an assist.


BECK MALENSTYN (LW/RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 145th overall)
Malenstyn spent most of December in the NHL with the Washington Capitals. He skated in eight games for the parent club without recording a point. The Delta, British Columbia native returned to the Bears just in time for the game at Lehigh Valley on December 21.

He was held off the scoresheet in that game, but did strike against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on December 27. In the third period, Malenstyn skated in and wristed a rebound from a Macoy Erkamps shot into the net for his second goal of the season.

The winger continues to be unafraid to throw his body in front of a shot, even late in games when the game is in hand. He blocked two shots with under a minute left in the game with the Bears up 4-1 on December 27. The block shots exemplify Malenstyn’s commitment to doing all the little things.

For the season, Malenstyn has two goals and two assists in 18 games played. He’s shot the puck 31 times for a 6.4% shooting percentage.


DYLAN MCILRATH (RD) – 29 – Drafted 2010 (First Round, 10th overall – New York Rangers)
The former first round pick brings a physical presence every time he is on the ice and is consistently there to defend his teammates. McIlrath is solid, positionally, and makes good decisions with the puck. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native added some offense to his game in December.

He had the secondary assist on Mike Vecchione’s second period, game-winning tally in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 18. He added the primary helper on Garrett Pilon’s early third period goal against Rochester on December 19. McIlrath netted his second goal of the season in the month’s final game. He fired his shot through traffic in the third period for Hershey’s fifth goal.

McIlrath has been a steady presence on the Hershey blueline through a month of roster upheaval. He was a plus eight for the month and ranks second among the team’s defensemen with a plus 11 rating for the season.


BOBBY NARDELLA (LD) – 25 – Undrafted
Offensively, Nardella was a force in December. The Notre Dame product especially feasted on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He recorded seven of his eight points in five games against the Penguins. This included three of his four goals.

Nardella has done a good job getting his shot through traffic. He uses the bodies to his advantage and finds a way to put his wrist shot in. Most of his goals are scored from just above or inside the circle. The Rosemont, Illinois native has moved the puck well and has helped the Bears transition from offense.

On defense, Nardella still has some issues. One example of this came on Rochester’s tying goal in the third period on December 19. Rochester’s Michael Mersch sped down the right wing. Nardella made a poke attempt at the puck that was more like a wave at the puck. Mersch then dragged the puck to the right and away from Nardella. Mersch then fed the puck to Ethan Prow for the goal. If he would have moved his feet instead of poking at the puck, Nardella would have been in a better position to make a play. If he continues to produce at a high rate offensively, Hershey can live with the occasional defensive lapse from Nardella.

For the season, Nardella has four goals and seven assists in 17 games played. He’s shot the puck 41 times for a 9.7% shooting percentage.


GARRETT PILON (RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Third Round, 87th overall)
Pilon played in the first seven games of the month before entering COVID protocols and being out for the final two games of December. The Mineola, New York native was without a point in the first three games of the month before picking up the primary assist on Matt Moulson’s second period goal in Springfield on December 17.

He followed that helper with another primary assist in the next game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. This time Ryan Dmowski was the beneficiary of Pilon’s feed on a nice passing sequence.

The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon, Garrett netted his lone goal of the month in a 4-3 loss to Rochester on December 19. 56 seconds into the third period, he burst down the right wing and cut to the center. He ripped a quick wrist shot that rang off the post and in.

Pilon sits in a tie for second on the team’s scoring list with 17 points. He is tied for the team lead in goals with eight and power play goals with three.


BRIAN PINHO (RW) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Sixth Round, 174th overall)
Pinho missed the entire month of December with an injury. He has not suited up for the Bears since November 5 at Springfield, the game he was injured.

Pinho has now been out for Hershey’s last 18 games.


ALIAKSEI PROTAS (C) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Third Round, 91st overall)
The Belarussian pivot spent the entire month with the Washington Capitals. He contributed a goal and an assist in December for the parent club. His goal opened the scoring in a 5-2 win over Columbus on December 4.

Protas has adapted to the NHL quickly and done a pretty good job for the Capitals, getting consistent starts in the top six. He is holding his own along the board and in puck battles with experienced veterans. He still needs to utilize his 6’-6” frame more, particularly in the physical part of the game. It’s likely we will be removing him from our official prospect roster in the near future.


MIKE SGARBOSSA (C) – 29 – Undrafted
Hershey’s number one center did not play a single game in December for the chocolate and white. Sgarbossa spent the whole month in the NHL with the Capitals. He only saw action in three games during the month, but did post a two-point game against Winnipeg on December 17.

The native of Campbellville, Ontario recorded the secondary assist on Brett Leason’s opening goal and then added an empty netter. He was assigned to the taxi squad on December 29. Despite not playing in Hershey all month, Sgarbossa remains tied for the team lead in goals with eight.


HUNTER SHEPARD (G) – 26 – Undrafted
With Pheonix Copley recalled to Washington and Zach Fucale in COVID protocols, Shepard was summoned from South Carolina to step between the pipes. The Minnesota Duluth alum rose to the occasion. In his second start of the season, the native of Coleraine, Minnesota made 24 saves in a 4-1 victory on the road at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He stopped nine of 10 shots in the first period and then turned aside all 12 shots he saw in the second. His best save came with 6:22 remaining in the middle frame. Nick Hutchinson came around the back of the goal and tried to stuff his attempt. Shepard dove across the crease and blocked the shot with his stick.

The netminder got the call again against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 29. He made five saves early as the Bears struggled to find their legs. His teammates got going in the second, staking him to a 4-0 lead. Shepard gave up a goal to Jan Drozg with 18 seconds left in the second, but nothing else got by him, as he finished 19 saves. The two starts raised Shepard’s save percentage from .808 to .901 and his goals-against average fell to 2.34.


JOE SNIVELY (LW) – 25 – Undrafted
The Herndon, Virginia native recorded a point in six of the seven games he played in December. After scoring seven goals in November, Snively only found the back of the net once. However, the winger dished out six assists in the month.

He assisted on both goals in a 2-0 win at Springfield on December 17, including the primary helper on Mike Vecchione’s game winner. Since November 7, Snively has recorded a point in 12 of the 15 games he has played. He has totaled 21 points in that span.

The Yale University product leads the team in scoring with 24 points and in assists with 16. He is tied for seventh in the AHL in assists. Snively is also tied for the team lead in goals with eight and in power play goals with three. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus 15 rating.

The Virginian made his NHL debut for the Capitals on December 19 and recorded his first career NHL point when he assisted on Connor McMichael’s first period marker.


RILEY SUTTER (C) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Third Round, 93rd overall)
The Calgary, Alberta native was out for the first seven games of the month due to injury. He returned on December 27 and assisted on Beck Malenstyn’s third period goal in a 4-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Sutter was held pointless in the rematch with the Penguins on December 29, but his line was on the ice for three Hershey goals in a 6-1 victory. With the current roster chaos, the son of former NHLer Ron Sutter has the opportunity to carve himself a bigger role. This is a key stretch for Sutter’s development. He must shoot the puck more. A lot more.

For the season, Sutter has one goal and two assists in 12 games played. He’s shot the puck just six times for a 16.67% shooting percentage.


MIKE VECCHIONE (C) – 28 – Undrafted
Prior to his injury in Springfield on November 5, Vecchione was on a three-game point streak. He returned to the lineup on December 11 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and picked up where he left off.

In his return, he dished out two primary assists, including the helper on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s overtime winner. The native of Saugus, Massachusetts followed that performance up with an assist against Lavall on December 12 and another two-assist game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Vecchione then registered the game-winning goal in back-to-back games. The first came in Springfield on December 17 when he tallied on a rebound for a power play marker. He victimized Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the second. Vecchione took a stretch pass from Lucas Johansen, separated himself from the defender and roofed his backhand over the glove. His eight-game point streak came to a halt on December 19 against Rochester.

For the month, he amassed nine points. Vecchione is tied for the team lead with eight power play assists. The pivot is second on the team in assists with 14 and tied for second in points with 17. Vecchione suffered another injury in that game and missed the final three games of the month.



GARIN BJORKLUND (G) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Sixth-Round, 179th Overall)
Bjorklund and Medicine Hat continued their long losing streak into December. Bjorklund stopped 33 of 37 shots he faced in his first game of the month in a loss to Brandon on December 3. He stopped 35 of 38 in his next start on December 8.

The Tigers 16-game losing streak finally came to an end on December 11. Bjorklund kept the Tigers in it for much of the game earning his first victory since October 19 with a 32-save showing.

After the game, the 19-year-old celebrated by dramatically ‘reeling in the win’ with his stick. When asked about the big celebration, Bjorklund said he talked about it pre-game with his brother, whose birthday was that day and had flown from school in Montreal to watch him play. “The last shooter he said, ‘reel it in,’ and he got it on video of me reeling it in so it’s pretty cool,” Bjorklund said.

The netminder said it was long overdue and hopes it can be a fresh start for the Tigers. “I feel like we have been battling for that win for a while now and it’s nice for that unfortunate losing streak to be gone,” Bjorklund said.

Bjorklund stopped 28 of 32 shots faced in his next start on December 18. After a 10-day break, Bjorklund stopped 37 of 39 shots faced in his next start on December 28 against the Calgary Hitmen. Bjorklund followed that up by stopping 41 of 43 shots faced in his next start and final start in the month of December, also against the Calgary Hitman on December 30.

The month started poorly for Bjorklund, but there are signs that his game is coming around, particularly towards the end of the month. For the season, Bjorklund is 4-13-0 with a 3.58 GAA and a .894 save percentage.


HAAKON HANELT (F) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Fifth-Round, 151st Overall)
The team announced on November 19 that Hanelt required surgery and would be out several months.

The German forward was scheduled to be at the World Junior Championship (WJC) in Alberta, but had to undergo shoulder surgery at the end of November. He should have also participated in the World Junior Championship played last year, but contracted COVID-19 two weeks before leaving for Alberta in December 2020.

He could have played in the World Under-18 Championship last April in Texas, but again he was unfortunate enough to suffer a similar injury to the one that landed him on the operating table.

“When I found out I had a third missed date in a row, it hit me hard. It took a few weeks to recover. I wanted to show what I could do on the biggest stage in junior hockey and redeem my missed experience last year. I can’t change anything now. I have one last hope for next year,” Hanelt told Ledroit.


MARTIN HAS – (RHD) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Fifth-Round, 153rd Overall)
Has recorded his 5th goal of the season on December 4th against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Has and Shawinigan played just eight games in the month of December. Has recorded a goal and an assist for the month. For the season he has five goals and three assists in 21 games played.

Defensively, Has has looked strong on the backend in the two games we watched. He has consistently played on the right side in the second pairing. He’s beginning to jump into the play, offensively, but is not getting many shots off. He needs to fire the puck more in 2022.

On December 21 the QMJHL paused their entire schedule until January 7 due to COVID-related issues.


BEAR HUGHES – (20) – Drafted 2020 (Fifth-Round, 148th Overall)
Hughes had a pair of assists and was the second star of the game on December 4 against Seattle. He had three assists in a 7-3 loss to the Portland Winterhawks on December 11. He had seven assists, but no goals in the first six games of the month.

Hughes spoke about the make of the Chiefs team this season. “It’s a new group,” said Hughes, an assistant captain and the team’s leading scorer with 23 points in 19 games. “I think only five or six guys are left from that team two years ago,” Hughes added.

“Obviously we’ve had injuries, and the start of the year hasn’t been what we wanted it to be in the standings, but we have a really good group of guys, and it’s a great opportunity for everybody in the locker room. It moves guys into the lineup who might not usually be in the lineup,” said Hughes.

“Our team is made up of a majority of younger guys, and the guys here last spring played at most 21 games,” Hughes said. “That’s just not a lot of time to develop. A lot of those guys are still new to the league, even if they were here last year. In reality, we only have a few veteran guys, and I think that plays to our disadvantage a little bit.”

Hughes scored his eighth goal of the season on December 28 against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Hughes would add a second goal in the game. He also had an assist in the contest.

Hughes continued his scoring in the next game, also against the Seattle Thunderbirds on December 30.

Hughes had three goals and nine assists in 11 games played in December, but looked to be heating up towards the end of the month. He has 10 goals and 18 assists in 25 games played so far this season. He’s shot the puck 59 times for a 16.9% shooting percentage so far this season.


VINCENT IORIO (RHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Second-Round, 55th Overall)
Iorio (2nd round, 2021) was invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, which opened in Calgary, Alberta on December 9.

“I’m very excited,” Iorio said of the invitation. “Obviously it’s going to be a challenge but the end goal for Ridly and I is to make the team and help the team out as much as we can. We’re really looking forward to it and working hard to be a part of that team.”

Iorio, who just turned 19, had 51 points in 151 regular season WHL games.”It’s a little bit of a fantasy,” Iorio said. “You watch the world juniors growing up as a kid and it’s putting on the Maple Leaf sweater you get as a kid. To be able to be part of a camp like this … I’m at a loss for words.”

In his last game prior to departing for Calgary, Iorio provided the primary assist for the Wheat Kings against Moose Jaw on December 8. Once again the play was setup by an excellent outlet pass off the boards by Iorio.

Iorio was cut from Canada’s National Junior team on December 12.

Iorio would score his third goal of the season on December 27 against the Winnipeg Ice. He had a goal and an assist, was a +2 in and the second star of the game in his first game back from selection camp.

Although a tough month for a Iorio, with regards to the Canadian National team, the events may have motivated him. He has looked solid in his return to the Wheat Kings, continuing his physical game.

One aspect of Iorio’s game that stands out after watching many of his games this season is his breakout passing skills. He is quick to find the exit pass, and uses the boards for stretch passes extremely well.


DRU KREBS (LHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 176th Overall)
It was another quiet month for Krebs, offensively, with no goals and just four assists in 10 games played. He did record a majority of his assists towards the end of the month.

Defensively, he seems to be playing a consistent game in the three games we watched in December, although the overall struggles by the Medicine Hat team play into the analysis. He was a minus-8 in December and minus-22 for the season in 29 games played.

He is starting consistent games and getting good experience, but at this point he wouldn’t be ready to report to Hershey in the fall. That could change with a solid spring.


HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (First-Round, 22nd overall)
Lapierre dropped down to center the second line for Acadie-Bathurst in the first game of December. He has been slowly building some chemistry with his linemates of Cole Huckins and Bennett MacArthur.

Lapierre began his scoring for the month with a nice primary assist on the Titan’s second goal on December 3rd against Cape Breton.

Lapierre would record his second goal of the game in the middle frame.

Lapierre was invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, which opened in Calgary, Alberta on December 9He would be held off the scoresheet in the first scrimmage on Saturday, but did score in the mandatory shootout after the game.

He would also be held off the scoresheet in the second and final camp scrimmage, although he was moved up to center the top line. Lapierre was cut from Canada’s National Junior team on December 12.

Lapierre would score in his first game back with Acadie-Bathurst on December 16.

On December 21 the QMJHL paused their entire schedule until January 7 due to COVID-related issues.

For the season, he has five goals and 13 assists in 11 games played.



CHASE CLARK (G) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 183rd Overall)
Clark was designated on the injured/illness list for the game in December 18. Clark played in two games during the month of December. He was the loser in relief on December 3 and was the winner of a 3-2 shootout on December 11.

For the season, he has played in 7 games, has a 4-2-1 record, a GAA of 2.51 and a save percentage of .915

Tri-City continues to boast the best winning percentage in the USHL (.786%).


MITCHELL GIBSON (G) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Fourth-Round, 124th overall)
Gibson stopped 19 of 20 shots faced in his first game of the month against Dartmouth, but took the loss on December 3.

That would be his only start of the month, as Harvard’s schedule was relatively light during the holidays. For the season, Gibson is 4-4-0 in eight starts, with a 2.21 GAA and a .903 save percentage.


BRENT JOHNSON (RHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Third Round, 80th Overall)
Johnson was a scratch for the first two weekends of the month (on December 3, 4, 10, 11)

Johnson’s playing time in his first semester was minimal. He played in eight of UND’s 19 games, often on the third defensive pairing or as the extra skater.

“I know there’s frustration and anxiety a little bit and things like that, but just having a past with two very good players that have been through our group here (Kiersted, Moore), you know that he’s going to come out the other side the same way,” Coach Berry said. “I think you have to have trust in what we do, and he does. He’s working extremely hard. We have a very high ceiling for him as far as what he can do in the future for us.”

Berry said the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Johnson will get some opportunities immediately after Christmas.

“For him, it’s been probably not as much opportunity as he wanted in the beginning, but guess what, against USA Hockey and against Cornell, he’s going to be playing,” Berry said. “Hopefully, he can get a good body of work under him to get a good second-half start to it.”

“He’s very confident with the puck,” Berry said about Johnson. “He knows the next play. He’s very competitive. He’s got some high-end ability in his game. Once he gets acclimated to the pace and heaviness of our league, I think he’ll be well on his way. It takes a little time for everybody. Everybody’s a little bit different on their acclimation into the NCHC.”

Johnson suffered an injury while playing in the USHL last season and needed surgery in the spring. His shoulder operation prevented him from addressing his biggest area of need in the offseason — strength-building.


JOAQUIM LEMAY (LHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Fourth Round, 114th Overall)
During the month of December, Lamay played in four games with the Lincoln Stars. Lemay missed the Stars game on December 3.

He got the game winning goal in a 3-2 victory against the Fargo Force. on December 11. He returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper body injury.

Lemay had assists in each of the other three games in which he played. For the season, he has three goals and 18 assists, ranking second on the team in assists and third on the team in points.


BENTON MAASS (RHD) – 23 – Drafted 2017 (Sixth-Round, 182nd Overall) Maass continued to play on the right side of the third defensive pair for Minnesota Stare in December.

For the month of December, Maass played in five games for the Mavericks. He recorded one assist which occurred during a 5-1 win against Bemidji State on December 10.  He assisted in the team’s second goal that day.

For the season, Maass has played in 15 games, scoring two goals an recording three assists.



DAMIEN RIAT (F) – 24 – DRAFTED 2016 (Fourth-Round, 117th Overall)
Riat returned to the ice on November 30 against HC Ajoie.  “It was a long rehabilitation. I had to work a lot on my lower body to keep all my strength and power, but overall everything went well thanks to the help of the fitness trainer, and the club’s phyisios.”

Riat was selected to the Swiss National team for an Olympic tuneup tournament. The Swiss national team met at their home tournament on the 16th and 17th December for the NaturEnergie Challenge in Visp.

Riat has his sights set on the Olympics. “Yes, clearly the Olympic Games remain a goal for me this season. I am very happy to meet the Swiss team for the “Nature Energie Challenge”. I want to show the coach what I am capable of.”


OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/W) – 19 – 2020 Draft (Seventh Round, 211th Overall)
On December 8 Magnusson was officially invited to Team Sweden’s Junior team selection camp in advance of this years World Junior Championship. Magnusson was officially named to the 25-man roster shortly thereafter.

Mgnusson started on the 4th line for the Swedes in their opening game against the Russians.

Magnusson had no points in the first game against Russia on December 26. He skated 22 shifts for 12:23 of time on ice. He had no official shots but did ring one shot off the post early in the first period.

Magnusson was selected as Team Sweden’s best player after the game. The selection is made by the players.

In the second game on December 27 against Slovakia, Magnusson once again played on the fourth line. He recoded no points, one shot in 9:09 of ice time.

The World Junior Championship was cancelled on December 29 due to COVID.



BOGDAN TRINEYEV (F) – 19 – DRAFTED 2020 (Fouth-Round, 117th Overall)
Trineyev was invited to Russia’s National Junior team selection camp but was one of their last cuts from the roster on December 14. He then returned to MHK Dynamo, the junior team.

During  December, he played in four games for MHK Dynamo, scored no goals, but had three assists. He assisted on the team’s first goal in a 6-0 victory on December 18 and assisted on two goals in a 6-1 victory on December 23, including the game winner.

He has generally been on the third line for MHK Dynamo since his return. Overall, he has played in eight games at the MHL level and has 0 goals and six assists.

Trineyev played in no games with Moscow Dynamo for December and has played in 11 games for them in the 2021-22 season. He has earned no points this season in the KHL thus far.


Connor McMichael And Martin Fehervary

Where are Connor McMichael and Martin Fehervary? – We’ve graduated them from our formal prospect pool. Should they return to Hershey we will re-introduce the players to our monthly reports.

The following graphic is an updated running prospect roster for the Washington Capitals: [Click to enlarge]

By NoVa Caps Prospect 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.
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3 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Report: December, 2021 – Bobby Nardella, Shane Gersich, Kody Clark Pick Up Their Games In December

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these monthly updates. Excellent coverage as always.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The call ups from Hershey seem to have little to do with how well they are playing, but probably more a reflection of what Capitals coaches saw in training camp. No way were Alexeyev, Johansen and Kempny for that matter, playing well enough to warrant a call up. To the contrary.

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