Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds
He went unsigned in the NHL as a winger. Then the Seattle Thunderbirds decided to move him to the center position for the 2021-22 season and his game took off. As a result, the Washington Capitals signed Henrik Rybinski to a three-year entry-level deal on March 1.
The icing on the cake for Rybinski came when he was named the Thunderbirds’ Most Valuable Player for the 2021-22 season. The announcement and award presentation was made Sunday night following the Thunderbirds 4-1 win over the Everett Silvertips.
@Capitals @SeattleTbirds MVP for
Season ? @NoVa_Caps @jon_m_sorensen pic.twitter.com/CKVLIMa1ti
— 📬 Jimmy Milstead (@MilyVanilly) April 11, 2022
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. As previously noted, he mostly played right wing up until this season, when he switched to center.
According to Pro Hockey Rumors, Rybinski was in the Edmonton Oilers development camp last August, and before that, he had been in camps run by the Panthers. That’s actually where he transitioned back to center, the position he now plays full-time.
For the season, Rybinski has 21 goals and 43 assists in 46 games played for a 1.39 points per game average, and shot the puck 146 times for a 14.4% shooting percentage. His game total is on the low side after he sat out most of March with an injury.
Rybinski should be in Capitals development camp this summer and will most likely report to the Hershey Bears for the start of the 2022-23 AHL season.
Stick taps to Jimmy Milstead for his assistance in covering Rybinski since his signing on March 1.
By Jon Sorensen
Impressive turnaround for the kid. Bears will have two pretty good centers in Hughes and Rybinski.
Great accomplishment for Rybinski! (Caps also leading the league in prospects named Henrik)
With Protas, Rybinski, Hughes, McMichael and LaPierre the Caps could have a strong down the C in 2 or 3 years. Maybe they keep Gersich who looks good for the 4th line at either C or F. With Backys contract up in 3 years and Kuzys up at the same time and Ellers up after next year; some of these guys better be ready next year and then someone will hae to take Oshies place in 3 years. Does Protas make the team next season along with McMichael and when will the other 3 be ready? And sad to say we have to tolerate Laviolette for another year and watch our young players stagnate while he isnt a coach who is a teacher or likes young players. So time to get a new HC and GM.
I think the Capitals have done a decent job (so far) restocking the center position. Hershey will have plenty of new faces at that position this fall.
Excited to see him in Hershey next season.
Roger that. Lapierre, Rybinski and Hughes will be a refreshing reset at center for the Bears.