Washington Capitals Prospect Report – March, 2022: Lucas Johansen Continues Impressive Play, Zach Fucale Strong In Goal, Beck Malenstyn Begins To Heat-Up

Welcome to the sixth 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 March, 2022. 

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

  • AHL (Hershey Bears)
  • CHL (WHL/OHL/QMJHL)
  • NCAA/USHL/ECHL
  • EUROPE (SWEDEN/SWISS LEAGUE)
  • KHL (MHL/KHL)

Previous Monthly Prospect Reports for the 2021-22 Season
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 spent much of the month of March on the road, as the Pennsylvania State high school wrestling and basketball championships came to the Giant Center. The mostly road schedule proved to be a bad thing for the chocolate and white, as the Bears were victorious just once away from the Giant Center and posted an 1-4-2-1 road record for March. Hershey triumphed in three of four home games to finish the month with a 4-5-2-1 record.

The Bears sit in fifth place in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .548. Hershey has compiled 69 points in 63 games and have an overall record of 30-24-5-4.

Offense was an issue for the Bears in March. They were shutout three times in the month and scored two or fewer goals in eight of their 12 games. The power play was a major contributor to those struggles. The unit started the month 0 for 25 on the man advantage until Mike Sgarbossa converted Hershey’s first power play in Belleville on March 18. The Bears failed to score on their other two power play opportunities against Belleville and then only tallied on one of their 10 chances in their next three games. The unit showed some signs of life in the final game of the month when it went 2 for 5 and aided a Hershey rally from three down to earn a point. Still, four power play goals in 43 chances is simply not good enough.

The Bears got strong goaltending from both Zach Fucale and Pheonix Copley, but the lack of offense made it hard to earn wins.


ALEX ALEXEYEV (LD/RD) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (First Round, 31st overall)
Alexeyev entered March on a three-game assist streak, but opened the month by going five games without a point. He snapped the drought on March 13 versus Lehigh Valley. He started the play on Marcus Vela’s game-winner in the second period and earned the secondary assist. His only other point of the month was a primary assist on Mason Morelli’s second period tally in Hartford on March 26.

Alexeyev still has only one goal on the season in 55 games and that came all the way back on December 12. The blue liner has contributed 14 helpers on the season. Defensively, Alexeyev is one of the team’s top shot blockers. He consistently throws his body in front of shots, especially on the penalty kill.

TRENDING: SAME


KODY CLARK (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Second Round, 47th overall)
March was a quiet month offensively for Clark. He registered a single point in 11 games played. That point was a secondary assist on Lucas Johansen’s second period marker on March 23.

Clark has not tallied a goal since February 4, a drought that spans 19 games, and has only one goal since the calendar flipped to 2022. The winger’s offense has dried up. His struggles have come despite having been given the chance to skate on the top two lines at times. Clark has failed to take advantage of this opportunity and is back in a bottom six role.

TRENDING: DOWN


PHEONIX COPLEY (G) – 29 – Undrafted
The North Pole, Alaska native started six times in March. Copley was victorious in two of his six starts. Three of his losses went to extra time. He lost twice in overtime and once in shootout. In his other loss, Copley surrendered a single goal in a game where the Bears failed to score against Charlotte on March 2. In that game, he made several high-end saves. Copley denied Max McCormick from in close with a right pad save four minutes into the game. He then robbed McCormick on a shorthanded breakaway with a glove save 1:15 into the third period. Copley again came up big, turning aside Zac Dalpe on a breakaway with a minute and 57 seconds left in regulation.

Copley made 27 saves in a 2-1 triumph at Bridgeport on March 11. Ten of the saves came in the third period to preserve the win. The victory was Copley’s 84th as a Bear and moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the Hershey career wins list. He earned his 85th win on March 23 when he stopped 26 Lehigh Valley shots in a 5-1 victory. Twenty-five of those saves came in the first two periods.

TRENDING: SAME


ZACH FUCALE (G) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Second Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
After struggling to find his game, Fucale began March on fire. He earned shutouts in each of his first two starts to become the first goalie in Hershey franchise history to record shutouts in three consecutive starts (also had a shutout on February 25).

The Laval, Quebec native turned aside 26 shots on March 8, including 13 in the third period, to blank the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-0. Five days later, Fucale stymied the Phantoms again. This time, Fucale stopped 29 Lehigh Valley shots to merit a 2-0 shutout victory.

However, Fucale went winless in his final three starts of the month, but played well in two of those losses. He made 25 saves on 27 shots in Toronto on St. Patrick’s Day, but the Bears did not score and lost 3-0. Fucale allowed just one goal in Providence on March 25, but again his team did not provide any offense as the chocolate and white were shutout 2-0. The lone poor outing of the month for Fucale came in his hometown of Laval on March 19. He allowed four goals in that contest and was not sharp.

TRENDING: UP


TOBIAS GEISSER (LD) – 22- Drafted 2017 (Fourth Round, 120th overall)
The Swiss defender has steadily seen an increase in responsibilities as the season as gone along. Geisser is a stay-at-home defenseman and has grown as a player. He is solid positionally and makes good decisions with the puck. The Stans, Switzerland native is a fixture on the penalty kill and has seen time along side Dylan McIlrath on the Hershey’s top defensive pairing.

Geisser does not provide much offense and has not recorded a point since February 2, but that is not his role on the blue line. His responsibilities are defensive and he does that well.

TRENDING: SAME


SHANE GERSICH (C/LW) – 25 – Drafted 2014 (Fifth Round, 134th overall)
Gersich played in all 12 games in March and saw time at both left wing and center. The North Dakota product ended a 22-game goalless drought when he knocked home a feed from Mike Vecchione on the back door in the first period versus Lehigh Valley on March 23.

The native of Chaska, Minnesota also dished out three assists during the month. Gersich ranks fifth on the Hershey scoring list with 29 points, but 11 of those points came in January. He has seven points in the past two months. If the Bears were healthy, that would not be an issue. However, with the team’s injury problems, Hershey needs a little more offense out of Gersich.

The biggest issue for him has been converting his chances. He fired off 32 shots in March, but only converted on one of those chances for a .03 shooting percentage. That simply is not good enough.

The Minnesotan is a quality penalty killer and contributes in that aspect of the game. Gersich has played in 61 of Hershey’s 63 games this season, tied for the most on the team.

TRENDING: SAME


LUCAS JOHANSEN (LD) – 24 – Drafted 2016 (First Round, 28th overall)
The Vancouver, British Columbia native continues to enjoy the best season of his professional career. Johansen tallied two goals and dished out a pair of assists in nine games in March. He scored Hershey’s opening goal in Bridgeport on March 11.

His second goal of the month came in the second period against Lehigh Valley on March 23. He jumped into the play and deposited his shot past Felix Sandstrom on the back door. The goal was Johansen’s seventh of the season, setting a new career high for the defenseman.

He leads the team in plus/minus with a rating of plus 23. The next closest rating among active Bears is a plus 12. Johansen plays a lot penalty kill minutes and also sees time on Hershey’s second power play unit.

TRENDING: UP


AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY (LW) – 23 –  Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 147th overall)
The Swedish winger played the opening game of the month for the chocolate and white on March 2. He was held without a point in that contest. Jonsson-Fjallby was recalled to Washington on March 4 and has been with the Capitals since.

The Stockholm, Sweden native played 10 games for Washington, posting a pair of points. Jonsson-Fjallby netted his first career NHL goal against the New York Islanders on March 15.

TRENDING: UP


BRETT LEASON (RW) – 22 – Drafted 2019 (Second Round, 56th overall)
Leason’s offense started to pick up late in March. He posted a goal in his first seven games of the month, but had three points in his last four games in March. The Calgary, Alberta native fed the puck to Mike Vecchione out in front for the primary assist on the game-tying goal in Hartford on March 26.

Leason’s lone goal of the month was on a strong move. The winger gathered the puck along the right boards after Beck Malenstyn poked the puck away from a Lehigh Valley player. Leason powered towards goal and backhanded a shot over Felix Sandstrom’s left pad from in front.

Leason has been getting more scoring chances as of late, but has not been able to finish them. If Leason starts to convert his opportunities, it will be a benefit to the Bears.

TRENDING: SAME


BECK MALENSTYN (LW/RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Fifth Round, 145th overall)
After a slow start to the season, Malenstyn has picked up his play. The winger tallied a team high five goals in March. The Delta, British Columbia native recorded the first three-point game of his professional career in a 4-0 win over Lehigh Valley on March 8.

Malenstyn opened the scoring when he redirected Dylan McIlrath’s shot into the net in the second period. This would be the game-winning goal. He also had the lone assist on Brett Leason’s third period marker and closed out the scoring with an empty net goal. Malenstyn also potted the game winner in Hershey’s next game in Bridgeport on March 11.

Malenstyn registered another two-goal game against Lehigh Valley on March 23. The winger ripped a shot through a screen from the center point for the Bears’ fourth goal in the third period of a 5-1 victory.

Malenstyn also scored the fifth goal on a great individual effort. He tipped the puck away from Wade Allison off of the initial face off during a Lehigh Valley power play. He then pushed the puck ahead into the offensive zone and then outmuscled Allison. Malenstyn backhanded the puck through the legs of Felix Sandstrom for a shorthanded goal.

The winger was also a plus five in March and his overall game has been better the past two months. He is blocking a lot of shots and his delivering hits when called upon, as per Saul for Malenstyn.

TRENDING: UP


DYLAN MCILRATH (RD) – 29 – Drafted 2010 (First Round, 10th overall – New York Rangers)
The “Undertaker” has been a steady presence in the Hershey lineup all season. He has played in 61 of the team’s 63 games this season, only missing two games due to suspension. McIlrath plays on the top defensive pairing and is usually the first defenseman over the boards on the penalty kill. He is second on the Bears with a plus 12 rating.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native is not a points producer, registering just a single assist in March, but that does not mean he is not a key part of the team. Besides his defensive contributions, McIlrath brings a physical aspect to the chocolate and white. He is never afraid to deliver a hit. The blue liner is also part of the team’s leadership corps and always stands up for his teammates.

TRENDING: SAME


BOBBY NARDELLA (LD) – 25 – Undrafted
Nardella returned to the lineup on March 4 after missing the previous 23 games with a leg injury. The Notre Dame grad assisted on both of Cody Franson’s goals late in the third period that forced overtime in Springfield during his first game back. He went scoreless in his next five games, but then recorded a three-game point streak and ended the month with a goal and five assists.

While Nardella’s offensive contributions were solid, he struggled in his own end of the ice at times. He turned the puck over in the corner late in the first period in Belleville on March 18, but was bailed out by Pheonix Copley. Nardella was not as fortunate in Laval the very next day. He collected the puck behind the net and tried to clear it around the boards, but the puck went right to Kevin Roy in the right corner. Roy then beat Zach Fucale from a bad angle to put Laval ahead for good.

Nardella needs to decrease his turnovers. He is a gifted offensive defenseman, but he cannot give the other team grade A opportunities with his defensive zone mistakes.

TRENDING: SAME


GARRETT PILON (RW) – 23 – Drafted 2016 (Third Round, 87th overall)
After spending much of the season at right wing, injuries have now forced Pilon back to center. The Mineola, New York native has been a steady presence in the lineup for the Bears, suiting up in all 12 games in March.

Pilon registered a multi-point game in Springfield on March 4. He potted the first Hershey goal in the second period when he lifted a backhander over Charlie Lindgren. Pilon then picked up the primary assist on Cody Franson’s game tying goal with 13 seconds left in the game.

He tallied the third goal for the chocolate and white in a 4-0 win over Lehigh Valley on March 8. His final goal of the month rallied the Bears from three goals down to force overtime in Hartford on March 26.

Pilon leads the team in goals with 16 and is tied for third on the team scoring list with 34 points. He has the ability to go on a hot streak offensively and the Bears could use one of those streaks with the injuries they have up front.

TRENDING: SAME


BRIAN PINHO (RW) – 26 – Drafted 2013 (Sixth Round, 174th overall)
The Providence College product skated in one game for the Bears in March, against Charlotte on March 2, prior to being sidelined with a shoulder injury.

On March 14, the team announced that Pinho underwent successful shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely. Given the lateness of the surgery, Pinho is likely done for the season. He will finish the season with 17 points in 27 games.

TRENDING: SAME


ALIAKSEI PROTAS (C) – 21 – Drafted 2019 (Third Round, 91st overall)
After posting a single point in his first seven games in March, Protas’ game came to life in the last five games of the month. He netted two goals and added a pair of helpers in those five contests. [This goal, originally credited to Gersich, was ultimately credited to Protas]

Protas potted the game-winning goal against Lehigh Valley on March 23. He was parked in front of the goal and deflected a Cody Franson shot up and over Felix Sandstrom to put the Bears up 2-1 in an eventual 5-1 triumph.

The pivot registered his third multi-point game of the season on March 26 when he assisted on a pair of goals in Hartford. He has 15 points in 29 games in Hershey this season. The Bears need Protas to stay hot with all of their offensive injuries.

TRENDING: UP


MIKE SGARBOSSA (C) – 29 – Undrafted
The veteran pivot returned from injury on March 8. Sgarbossa was held without a point in his first two games back, but then tallied his first goal since November 21 on March 13. The marker sealed a 2-0 win over Lehigh Valley.

The native of Campbellville, Ontario netted Hershey’s opening goal on the power play in the first period in Belleville on March 18. Sgarbossa also recorded the secondary assist on Bobby Nardella’s first period power play marker in Laval on March 19.

Unfortunately for Sgarbossa, he suffered another injury against Lehigh Valley on March 23. He was tripped by Tanner Laczynski as he went towards the net. Sgarbossa crashed hard, shoulder first into the end boards. He left the ice with assistance. The pivot returned for a shift, but went back down the tunnel. Sgarbossa missed the final two games of the month.

TRENDING: UP


HUNTER SHEPARD (G) – 26 – Undrafted
Shepard got one start prior to being sent down to South Carolina in the ECHL. He surrendered three goals on 28 shots in a 3-1 loss in Hartford. The Minnesota-Duluth alum played in seven games for South Carolina, going 4-3. Shepard made 30 saves in a 1-0 shutout victory over Greenville on March 16.

He earned his second shutout of the month on March 25 versus Trois-Rivieres. The Coleraine, Minnesota native turned aside all 32 shots he saw in a 3-0 win. Shepard has played well enough to still be in the AHL, but was got in a numbers game with both Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale in Hershey.

TRENDING: SAME


JOE SNIVELY (LW) – 25 – Undrafted
Snively was officially placed on injured reserve on March 3. The Capitals announced on March 6 that Snively underwent successful surgery to his left wrist. He will be out four-to-six weeks.

Snively was re-signed by the Capitals for a two-year, $1.6 million contract, on March 16. The contract will carry an average annual value of $800,000.

TRENDING: UP


RILEY SUTTER (C) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Third Round, 93rd overall)
Sutter skated in Hershey’s first six games of the month. He registered an assist against Lehigh Valley on March 8 for his lone point of the month.

The son of former NHLer Ron Sutter was felled by the injury bug again and was sidelined for the last six games of the month.

The Calgary, Alberta native is in the midst of another frustrating season. He has missed a significant of time to a variety of injuries and continues to struggle to find his offensive game.

TRENDING: SAME


MIKE VECCHIONE (C) – 28 – Undrafted
The Union College grad made his Washington Capitals debut on March 18 in a 4-3 Washington win over the Carolina Hurricanes and skated 10 shifts in the contest. Hershey lost all three games when Vecchione was up with the Capitals.

The Saugus, Massachusetts native played in nine games with the Bears in March and posted four points in the month. He recorded an assist in back-to-back games in Springfield and Hartford on March 4 and 5. The veteran center went scoreless in his next three contests before his recall.

Vecchione assisted on Shane Gersich’s first period marker in his return to Chocolate Town on March 23. He netted the game-tying goal in the third period on March 26 to earn the Bears a point in Hartford.

On the season, Vecchione is tied for the team lead in points with 38 and leads the team in assists with 25. He also has the most power play assists on Hershey with 13. With injuries to Mike Sgarbossa, Brian Pinho and Matt Moulson, Vecchione will be heavily relied upon to provide offense going forward. He is strong on faceoffs amd came up with a big shot block late in a 2-1 win in Bridgeport on March 11.

TRENDING: SAME


CHL (WHL/OHL/QMJHL)


GARIN BJORKLUND (G) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (Sixth-Round, 179th Overall) Bjorklund continues to get the bulk of the starts for Medicine Hat, starting 10 games in the month of March. Unfortunately, he and the team continue to struggle. Bjorklund’s low-water mark for the month saw him give up seven goals on 39 shots against Edmonton on March 9.

For  the season Bjorklund is 8-32-2-0 with a 4.23 GAA, a .876 save percentage and one shutout, again, all on a porous Medicine Hat team. For what it’s worth, Bjorklund has the best save percentage among all four goaltenders on the Tiger’s team this season.

“Sometimes I have to be better, sometimes the forward and d-men in front of me have to be better,” Bjorklund said. “But overall it’s a team effort and we’re a whole group here, we’re a family….this week we’ll be filling the net in practice and be ready to go next weekend.

On a positive note, Bjorklund finished the month of March on the upswing, giving up just two goals on 29 shots (.931%) on March 19 against Swift Current, and he gave up just two goals on 39 shots (.949%) against Calgary on March 26.

It’s been somewhat difficult to gauge his overall development and game this season, and where he might go from here. He’s played four seasons in the WHL, all by the age of 19, but the developmental value of the CHL/Medicine Hat has likely reached its limit. He remains unsigned by the Capitals.

TRENDING: SAME


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

Hanelt was back on the ice at the beginning of the month, albeit in a red non-contact jersey. Sources say Haakon’s rehab has been going well and he is on track to return to games by mid-April in time for the postseason.

TRENDING: SAME


MARTIN HAS (RHD) – 21 – Drafted 2019 (Fifth-Round, 153rd Overall)
Another quiet month, offensively, for Has. He recorded two goals and three assists in 14 games played. Has recorded his 6th of the season on March 6 against Gatineau. He also had an assist in the game.

Has’ second goal of the month came against Chicoutimi on March 21.

For the season, Has has seven goals and eight assists in 45 games played. He’s shot the puck 80 times for a 8.75% shooting percentage, which isn’t terrible, but below his standard.

Defensively, Has has been solid in his return to action this season in the five games we watched in March. Remember, he sat out nearly 18 months during the pandemic. The important part for Has is that he’s playing games on a somewhat regular basis following the QMJHL’s break for COIVD during December and January.

Has could return to the CHL next season but the development value just isn’t there. Has flew through the ranks in Europe and bounced around in the CHL before settling with Shawinigan. The time is right for Has to begin his AHL education.

TRENDING: SAME


BEAR HUGHES (C) – 20 – Drafted 2020 (Fifth-Round, 148th Overall)
Hughes was dropped down to center the third line on March 4. It was the first time all season he hadn’t started centering the top two lines. He would record three assists in the game and be named the game’s first star. However, a minor goal drought ensued for Hughes. He had a goal and six assists in the first six games of the month of March.

Hughes was returned to center the second line on March 12 against Tri-City, and the move paid immediate dividends for the Chiefs as Hughes recorded his first career WHL hat trick. Hughes first goal of the game came less than one minute into the second period with the Chiefs leading the Americans, 1-0.

Hughes final two goals came in the third period against the Americans. His first goal of the period and second goal of the game came with 12:31 remaining in the period.

Hughes would complete his first career WHL hat trick with 9:42 remaining in regulation. The 6’-2” centerman would cleanup the loose change in front of the goal to stretch the Chiefs lead to 6-1.

Hughes also had three assists in the game for his first career six-point game. He was interviewed after the game.

Hughes provided a little glimpse of his grit on March 20 when he dropped the gloves with Dylan Anderson.

For the month of March, Hughes had four goals and nine assists in 11 games played. For the season Hughes has 22 goals and 36 assists in 57 games played for a 1.01 points per game average. He’s shot the puck 159 times for a 13.8% shooting percentage.

Hughes is another prospect who has reached his developmental potential in the CHL, and will be a welcomed addition in Hershey this fall.

TRENDING: SAME


VINCENT IORIO (RHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Second-Round, 55th Overall)
Offensively, Iorio had two goals and four assists in a decent month of March. His first goal of the month came on March 11 against the Winnipeg Ice.

His second goal of the month came two weeks later on March 26 against Regina. He also recorded an assist in the game.

Offensively for the season Iorio has 10 goals and 28 assists in 52 games played for the Wheat Kings. His .73 points per game is second behind Chad Nychuk among defensemen on the Wheat Kings. [Nychuk is second the in WHL among all defensemen in points per game. Iorio is 20th in the WHL].

Iorio has shot the puck 163 times for a 6.1% shooting percentage, which is low for a fourth-year defenseman in the WHL.

Defensively, Iorio has been decent but nothing spectacular in the four games we watched in March. As we’ve highlighted before, his skill at exiting the puck from his own zone his elite.

The Wheat Kings have been an average team this season, currently 30-25-3-2 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference of the WHL. Iorio needs to get to Hershey to begin working on the next level of his game.

TRENDING: SAME


DRU KREBS (LHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 176th Overall)
Offensively, Krebs had another quiet month for Medicine Hat with no goals and four assists in 13 games played. For the season he has four goals and 14 assists in 59 games played. He’s shot the puck 81 times for a 4.9% shooting percentage, which isn’t going to cut it.

Defensively Krebs is a whopping -45, but again, the Medicine Hat team has been downright awful this season. Krebs showed responsible play and sound zone exits in the games we watched in March, but the level of play of the team continues to cloud the issue and hamper his development analysis. Let’s hope Krebs gets a change of scenery for next season.

TRENDING: SAME


HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 19 – Drafted 2020 (First-Round, 22nd overall)
It was another streaky month for Lapierre. He scored a pair of goals in the first game of the month.

But then things cooled off a bit for Hendrix as he was eventually dropped to center the third line. He returned to the goal scoring with a tally on March 15th and again of March 20.

Lapierre recorded two goals and three assists and was named the first star of the game on March 25 against the Halifax Mooseheads. His first goal came just 1:32 into the contest.

Lapierre’s second goal of the game came early in the second period on a nice end-to-end play that was finished with a shot from the top of the slot.

Lapierre, 20, would also add three assists in the game as Acadie-Bathurst would go on to win 11-2, extending the Titans winning streak to eight games and improving their record to 32-15-2-2 on the season. Lapierre scored once more on March 27 against Cap Breton.

For the month of March he recorded seven goals and 11 assists in 15 games for a 1.20 points per game monthly average. That’s down from his previous two months.

For the season Lapierre has 19 goals and 30 assists in 34 games played for a 1.44 points per game average, which is 4th-best on the Acadie-Bathurst team.

After spending more than 70 days in quarantine last season, Lapierre is starting to finally hit a stretch of consistent games. He is still on the low side, playing in just 80 games since 2018. That’s essentially the equivalent of one AHL season, which is likely next on the agenda for Lapierre. It’s difficult to imagine him playing 76 consecutive games/an AHL season without additional games and conditioning. Hopefully the Titan make a long run in the postseason.

Acadie-Bathurst has 16 games remaining in their regular season, which ends on May 1. From a pure developmental perspective, it’s clear that the value of games in the CHL/QMJHL has maxed out for Lapierre.

TRENDING: SAME


HENRY RYBINSKI (C) – 20 – Drafted 2019 (Fifth-Round, 136th Overall) – Florida Panthers
The Capitals announced on March 1 they had signed Rybinski to a three-year deal at $925,000 AAV. Rybinski, 20, was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 5th round (#136 overall) in 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but was not offered a contract. (March 1 was the first day teams can sign free agent prospects to entry-level contracts). He mostly played right wing up until this season, when he switched to center.

Rybinski was out with an injury for most of the month but returned to the lineup on March 25th. (He had not played since February 26th as he was dealing with an upper body injury). He recorded two assists in the final three games of the month.

TRENDING: SAME


NCAA/USHL/ECHL


CHASE CLARK (G) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Sixth-Round, 183rd Overall)
During the month of March, Clark posted a 1-2 record with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the USHL team that acquired him in February. He was the winning goalie in a 5-4 overtime win against Cedar Rapids. So far, he has played in six games with Muskegon since the trade in February.

Clark has posted a 1-2-0 record with a save percentage of .871 and a Goals Against Average of 5.13. For his prior team, the Tri-City Storm, he had posted a 4-2-1 record, a save percentage of .915 and a Goals Against Average of 2.51.

April should be an interesting month for Clark, as he is now settled in with his new team, and we should get a better feel for his level of play as the season winds down.

Clark is committed to Quinnipiac for this fall, which will be a great next step in his development.

TRENDING: SAME


MITCHELL GIBSON (G) – 22 – Drafted 2018 (Fourth-Round, 124th overall)
Gibson and Harvard won the Whitelaw Cup for the ECAC championship on March 19. As a result they faced Benton Maass and Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA playoffs on March 24. His season would come to an end with a 4-3 loss to Maass and Minnesota state.

Gibson had a strong season once he dusted off the cobwebs. (He too missed about 18 months of playing time during the pandemic). Gibson ended the season 18-10-1-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

TRENDING: SAME


BRENT JOHNSON (RHD) – 18 – Drafted 2021 (Third Round, 80th Overall)
During the month of March, Johnson played in five games for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. These games included the last two games of the regular season, one game in the NCHC Quarterfinals, one game in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, and one game in the NCAA Tournament. All quality starts for the “Frisco Kid”.

He scored a goal against Notre Dame on the NCAA Tournament on March 24. It was the first goal of the game in a game that the Fighting Hawks lost 2-1 in Overtime.

That ended his hockey season. Over the course of the season, he was thrust into a bigger role down the stretch as injuries mounted. For the season, he played in 23 games for the Fighting Hawks where he scored two goals and recorded one assist.

All-in-all a good solid freshman season for Johnson. He should get plenty more starts next season.

TRENDING: UP


JOAQUIM LEMAY (LHD) – 19 – Drafted 2021 (Fourth Round, 114th Overall)
Joaquim “Jo” Lemay played in 10 games for the Lincoln Stars in the USHL during the month of March. During that time, he scored one goal and had seven assists. He had a goal and two assists in a game on March 18 where the Lincoln Stars beat the Des Moines Buccaneers 5-2.

Overall, for the season, he has eight goals and 31 assists for 49 games. He has played on both the first and second defensive pairings for most of the season and served as an alternate Captain.

Lemay has committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall, which is a solid next step in his development.

TRENDING: SAME


BENTON MAASS (RHD) – 23 – Drafted 2017 (Sixth-Round, 182nd Overall)
Offensively, another quiet month for Maass, with no goals and no assists in six games played for Minnesota State. For the season Maass has two goals and 11 assists in 40 games played. He’s shot the puck 62 times for a 3.2% shooting percentage. Again, Maass is much more a defensive defensmen.

Defensively Maass has been strong, played 40 of 42 games for the Mavericks and was a +23, 11th best on the team that could be ranked number one when the postseason dust settles.

Minnesota State has reached the Frozen Four at the time of this writing, so Maass’ season has yet to end. It will be interesting to see where things go at the end of the season. The Capitals’ rights to the defenseman expire this summer.

TRENDING: SAME


EUROPE (SWEDEN/SWISS LEAGUE)


DAMIEN RIAT (F) – 25 – Drafted 2016 (Fourth-Round, 117th Overall)
Riat continued his season for Lausanne HC in the National League in Switzerland. He played in eight games during March, scoring thee goals and recording eight assists.

Overall, for the regular season, Riat scored 11 goals and recorded 17 assists in 35 games. He has played in five playoff games this season, scoring one goal and recording one assist.

His playoff goal on March 22 in the 1/8 Finals against Ambri-Piotta put the team ahead 2-1 and proved to be the game winner in a 5-1 victory. He had a goal and four assists in an 8-2 over Langnau Tigers on March 1. Riat had the game winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Biel on March 4. He scored the team’s second goal in a 4-0 victory over Zug on March 7.

Who knows if we will ever see Riat fully commit to playing in North America. The Capitals signed him, and this was to be his first full year in Hershey. At 25 he is looking less and less likely to ever amount to anything for the Capitals.

TRENDING: UP


OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/W) – 19 – 2020 Draft (Seventh Round, 211th Overall)
Magnusson continued his season with AIK in the Hockey Allsvenskan (Second Highest League in Sweden). He played in six regular season games during the month of March and scored one goal.

Magnusson scored a goal against Vasterviks IK on March 4, which put his team up 2-1 at the time. They were unable to hold the lead and lost 4-2.

His overall regular season statistics are five goals and six assists in 35 games. He played in two playoff qualifying games and did not have any goals or assists. Since his team lost their two playoff qualifying games, his season is now over. Magnusson generally played at left wing on the third line.

TRENDING: SAME


KHL (VHL/KHL)


BOGDAN TRINEYEV (F) – 19 – DRAFTED 2020 (Fouth-Round, 117th Overall)
During March, Trineyev played in one regular season game for MHK Dynamo on March 7 and earned an assist on the team’s first goal in a game they ultimately won 3-2.

He spent most of March with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL, playing in nine playoff games with them, earning one assist, as Dynamo was swept by CSKA during the second round of the playoffs.

Overall, he averaged more minutes in the second round of the playoffs than in the first round. He then returned to MHK Dynamo for their playoffs. He played in just one game, on March 26, and earned an assist. MHK Dynamo lost 6-2 and were eliminated from the playoffs. Trineyev’s season is now over.

Overall for the regular season, his stats with MHK Dynamo were three goals and 15 assists in 31 games. For Moscow Dynamo in the KHL during the regular season, he played in 11 games with no goals or assists.

For post season in the KHL, he had one assist in nine games. He played in one playoff game for MHK Dynamo and recorded one assist in one game.

TRENDING: SAME


ODDS AND ENDS

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.

Prospect Roster

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

The following is a summary of monthly prospect trends through March. [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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9 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Report – March, 2022: Lucas Johansen Continues Impressive Play, Zach Fucale Strong In Goal, Beck Malenstyn Begins To Heat-Up

  1. steven says:

    Love these reports as it is so nice to hear how the Caps future players are doing. Question: as both Samsonov and Vanecek are RFA after this season and Smasonov currently makes $2 million do you see any scenario where he gets traded rather than signing him for more money and a longer contract and having a tandum of Vanecek and Fucale in goal nest year? He has good stats however GAA is 2.95 and hos save % is only 89% and wouldd would not take much to put his GAA over 3. I realize that he is the youngest of the 3 goalies at 25 and only in his first full schedule season but is in his 3rd season although only 81 games. So do they put faith in that he will improve or cut bait and trade him?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      First, thanks for the kind words.

      As for Sammy, we’ve discussed this very scenario at length, and have yet to come to a consensus among all the writers. Having said that, he could certainly get traded. As an RFA, if the Caps want to keep him they need to extend a minimum qualifying offer equal to his current salary. That’s a tough one to swallow after a season like this. The reason I personally believe they will is two fold. 1) Like you said, if they want to trade him they need to sign him. 2) Capitals have shown longer tolerance for first round picks – see Lucas Johansen.

      I think camp will be an honest competition that could likely result in a trade before the season starts.

      • steven says:

        I understand where you are coming from. I think offer him the same dollars on a 2 year deal and see what he does in camp and if there isnt a 3rd goalie who stands out go into the season with him and hipe he does well enough to make him trade bait or that he stands on his head. Letssay that after the season while he is not signed someoen offers him a huge contract. If the Caps did not match it what would their compensation be?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these! It’s tough to keep up with all the moving parts that is the Capitals farm system.

  3. DWGie26 says:

    Interesting that you mention Lucan Johansen. He has played confidently this year and his numbers show it. Glad org was patient with him. If the opportunity to do a callup to Washington, I hope he is first on the list. Like to see him get a couple/few more games. We may need him in playoffs.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Some players just take longer to develop. After his first 130 games with the Bears it looked as though it was never gonna click for him. Agree, it’s a good thing the organization stuck with him (part of the reason I think maybe Samsonov will get more time as well. They seem to stick with their first round picks a little longer).

  4. Rob Cherry says:

    It looks like some of the guys have benefited from the time taken to develop. It bodes well that most are trending up or even.
    Thanks for the report!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Alexeyev has been frustrating this season. Was having a decent game Friday night (finally) and then took a stupid penalty that cost them the game. Average season at best for him. He’s better than that. Underachieving

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