Update And Forecast For Capitals Organizational Depth At The Goaltending Position

We conducted our last assessment of the Capitals organizational depth at the goaltending position back in July (here), so it’s time for an update. This post will provide a full depth chart and brief player summary for each goaltender in the Capitals organization, and conclude with a brief one-year forecast for the position.

The Washington Capitals organizational goaltending assessment includes: Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren, Zach Fucale, Hunter Shepard, Clay Stevenson, Garin Bjorklund, Mitchell Gibson and Chase Clark:


Here is the Capitals current organizational depth chart for the goaltending position, with basic stats through play completed on November 14:


Darcy Kuemper – Tossing out the first period in Sunday night’s game against the Lightning, Darcy Kuemper has been as advertised in his start with the Capitals, and a big reason why the Capitals have been in almost every game so far this season. He’s been under siege at times, but saving more goals than his expected goals against statistics. He has the 16th-best goals differential (xGA – GA) among all NHL goaltenders with a minimum of 150 minutes of ice time.

Charlie Lindgren – Lindgren has also started the season strong and is looking like another bargain-bin find by Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. One could even argue that Lindgren has earned a few consecutive starts, but that’s a post for another day. He currently has the 17th- best goals differential among all NHL goaltenders. (Chart below). Any positive number means the goaltender is saving more than expected.


Zach Fucale – As expected, Fucale has been the Bears number one netminder since the beginning of the season. He continues to draw a bulk of the work and two games in three-game weekends. His play has been solid, with very little, if anything negative to report. Hershey is 8-2-2-0 on the season, and goaltending is a big reason why.

Hunter Shepard – The Bears number two has also got off to a pretty good start this season, and could arguably be the Bears number one netminder right now. While his won-loss record is not what Zach Fucale has posted, Shepard has been better, statistically. Don’t be surprised if Shepard gets two games in a three-game weekend set in the near future.


Clay Stevenson – The Capitals announced on October 1 that Stevenson would miss 4-6 weeks after an injury and surgery to his right hand. Stevenson recovered and returned faster than originally forecasted and currently has the best stats among all goaltenders in South Carolina. Look for him to eventually head north for a game or more with the Hershey Bears as the season progresses.

Garin Bjorklund – Bjorklund spent time in the Bears training camp before being re-assigned to the South Carolina Stingrays on October 9. Since his arrival in Charleston, not much has happened on Bjorklund’s end, as he has yet to see any game time. He could be dealing with a minor (unreported) injury. Bjorklund, Stevenson and Tyler Wall makeup netminders on the Stingrays roster.


Mitchell Gibson – “Gibby” has picked up where he left off last season, and has been solid for Harvard in the early going. He’s second in the NCAA in GAA and 20th in overall save percentage in the NCAA so far this season. Gibson is considered a senior, but his sophomore season (2020-21) was a complete wash-out due to the pandemic, therefore it’s believed college eligibility remains for Gibson. The question remains, will he use it or move on to the pros?

Chase Clark – Clark began the 2022-23 season dealing with undisclosed “injuries”, but has finally made his first appearance. He’s stopped all four shots he’s faced in just 5:05 of time on ice. He is backing up Yanev Pareets, who was outstanding last season, posting a 1.17 goals against average, which broke the NCAA record of NHL All-Star Jimmy Howard (1.19), who set the record with Maine in 2004. While Clark’s ice time maybe be limited in his Freshman season, he is backing up and learning from a pretty good goaltender, which has to be considered an overall win for his development.


In Washington, barring any drastic changes (trade, injury, etc.) the Capitals are pretty locked-in with Kuemper and Lindgren for this season and next season. That’s not to say a netminder further down the chart won’t be able to challenge Lindgren for the backup role next season, or make an appearance this season.

In Hershey, we could see one of the netminders go unsigned this off-season, depending on the play of both Shepard and Fucale, and the play of Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund. There is plenty that remains to be decided.

In the college ranks, Gibson has stated he is staying at Harvard until he gets his degree, which could come this spring. Will he stay for another year or look to turn pro remains to be seen. As for Clark, he will hopefully takeover the starters role next season for Quinnipiac.

By Jon Sorensen

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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7 Responses to Update And Forecast For Capitals Organizational Depth At The Goaltending Position

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for these regular updates on the organization as a whole. Very helpful in seeing the big picture

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excited to see Clark and Gibson move up through the system.

  3. novafyre says:

    Sammy aside, I feel the Caps have always had a good goalie pipeline.

    Darcy had way too many rebounds at the start but seems (to my eye) to have improved in that area a lot. I still prefer Chuck.

    I really don’t think Hershey has a #1 and #2. In fact, so far I think my opinion of the Stingrays goalies are pretty evenly split between Clay and Tyler. Garin is completely off the radar. He is listed on their roster but that’s been it. Maybe, Jon, as a credentialed NHL reporter, you could do some prying.

    To me all three clubs are pretty even in their goaltending pairs. Rays are a bit weird not having either of the goalies that they started the year with and Garin a no show. But I think fans should be very comfortable with all the pairings.

  4. Brian B says:

    I’m a Hershey STH… Fucale has been much better this season in my eyes. The new goalie coach has him playing a little higher in the crease and the results are being seen. He also seems to be much more confident. Very excited for him and really want him to succeed. It does not hurt that he seems to be a great locker room guy too. Shepard is a “all business” kind of guy. Yo ucan see it in the way he goes through pre-game warm ups. No doubt he has the goods. A few minor quibbles in his game is he commits low too early some times nad his head stays low with that. Adds a microsecond to him tracking a rebound. That can be fixed with coaching. Very excited for this position right now.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Greetings Brian, appreciate your perspective.

      I agree, Fucale seems to have found a little higher gear this season, and has been consistent at maintaining that level. And yes, he’s always been an asset as far as being a “locker room guy”.

      Also agree on your take on Shepard. I always thought he was a wild card, we just haven’t seen enough of him, but I personally (having watched every game this season) feel he has a very slight edge over Fucale right now – just my $0.02. But regardless, like you indicated, it’s great they are both off to a good start.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Capitals goaltending core looks fairly healthy, once again. I wonder if they will add any in upcoming drafts. Doesn’t seem to be a need right now, and Danny Brooks is doing a great job of finding and recruiting pretty good talent.

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