Photo: Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Henrik Rybinski, forward for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or right here.)
Rybinski, who turns 21 on June 26, is a 6’-1”, right-handed forward from Vancouver, British Columbia. He was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the fifth round (#136 overall) of 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but was not offered a contract. He was subsequently signed by the Capitals to a three-year entry-level contract for $925,000 AAV on March 1, 2022.
Rybinski began his junior hockey career with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the 2017-18 season. He would record four goals and 13 assists in 77 games over two seasons with the Tigers before he was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds on January 4, 2019.
Rybinski recorded 11 goals and 20 assists in 53 regular season games for a .62 points per game average in the 2019-20 season for the Thunderbirds.
During the 2020-21 season with Seattle, Rybinski led the team with 28 points (7g, 21a) in 23 games and was tied for 20th in the WHL.
According to Pro Hockey Rumors, Rybinski was in the Edmonton Oilers development camp in August, 2021, and before that had been in camps run by the Panthers. That’s actually where he transitioned back to center, the position he now plays full-time.
The 2021-22 season was Rybinski’s fourth and final season with the Thunderbirds. He was moved from the wing to center and recorded 21 goals and 44 assists in 47 games played for a 1.38 points per game average during the regular season. On April 10 he was named the Thunderbirds’ Most Valuable Player for the 2021-22 season.
Rybinski recorded four goals and 14 assists in 19 postseason games as the Thunderbirds advanced to the WHL finals. He would sustain an injury in the first game of the final series and miss the next three games before returning as the Thunderbirds fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the championship series.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Henrik Rybinski during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The Capitals announced on March 1 that they had signed Rybinski to a three-year deal at $925,000 AAV. (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.
Rybinski went undrafted as a winger. The Seattle Thunderbirds then decided to move him to the center position for the 2021-22 season and his game has took off. As a result, the Washington Capitals signed Henrik Rybinski to a three-year entry-level deal on March 1.
Henrik Rybinski, signed by #Caps on 3/1, with his 2nd goal in as many games. He has 2g, 3a in the 5 games played since returning from injury. (He missed most of March). For the season he has 20 g, 39a in 44 games (1.34 pts/gm). 137 shots for a 14.6% shooting percentage. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/3G8BQMsWOV
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) April 3, 2022
Assist on 4/2
Henrik Rybinski (#12) with a Kuzy-esque assist in same game. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/u497cBXoDY
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) April 3, 2022
The icing on the 2021-22 cake for Rybinski? On April 10 he was named the Thunderbirds’ Most Valuable Player for the 2021-22 season.
@Capitals @SeattleTbirds MVP for
Season ? @NoVa_Caps @jon_m_sorensen pic.twitter.com/CKVLIMa1ti
— 📬 Jimmy Milstead (@MilyVanilly) April 11, 2022
For the season, Rybinski has 21 goals and 44 assists in 47 games played for a 1.39 points per game average and has 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.
Short-side Shooting – A MasterClass taught by @Capitals prospect Henrik Rybinski. 🎯@SeattleTbirds | #WHLPlayoffs | #SEAvsKEL pic.twitter.com/yjH6V6OWU0
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 24, 2022
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.
Rybinski suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the WHL Championship and missed the next three games of the series. In the end he recorded four goals and 14 assists in 19 postseason games for the T-Birds.
Rybinski’s next stop will be in Hershey with the Bears this fall. The first question related to the start of his AHL career will be his durability at the next level. Rybinski suffered several injuries since the Capitals signed him on March 1, so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the increase in physicality at the AHL level.
Rybinski has experience at both the wing and center position, and he will likely see time at both positions, initially in Hershey. However, he excels at the center position, so expect him to get solid minutes at center in the second half of the season.
By Jon Sorensen
Henrik Rybinski scores goal, assist in WHL’s Western Conference Title Game
Henrik Rybinski records two goals, three assists in first two games of WHL playoffs
Henrik Rybinski named MVP of Seattle Thunderbirds
Capitals sign forward Henry Rybinski to three-year deal
Hopefully he “Grows Up” between now & camp!! He made a “crying baby” gesture to one of the Edmonton oil kings during the WHL final last night.
Better not try that in Pro or he’s going to need good dentist,because someone will knock his teeth out!!
Missed that last night. Sounds like he has little growing up to do. AHL is perfect for that.
Geese. I hope he’s not a head case.
Lets see what he can doat Hershey at the C position 1st and then go from there. Not a lot invested and nothing ventured nothing gained. If he turns the corner and becomes a good pro that makes this a nice steal.
Agree Steven. I’m surprised he was signed, but Danny Brooks has a good track record with free agent signing (Snively, Nardella).