Washington Capitals Prospect Report: March, 2023 – Ivan Miroshnichenko, Connor McMichael And Alexander Suzdalev Finish Regular Season Strong; Jake Karabela, Ryan Hofer Cool-Off Down The Stretch

Welcome to the sixth installment of NoVa Caps’ Washington Capitals Monthly Prospects Report for the 2022-2023 season. The report summarizes activities for each of the Capitals’ prospects for the month of March, 2023.  

The report is categorized by the leagues/regions in which each of the prospects play:

  • AHL (Hershey Bears)

We are implementing a new monthly scoring system this season in order to enable a greater flexibility and granularity for monthly analysis and reporting. Each player will be scored 0-5 for the month, with 2.5 being an average development score.

Previous 2022-23 Monthly Prospect Reports

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


The Hershey Bears were as up and down as the weather in March. They started the month off by winning a pair of games, only to lose their next three. The chocolate and white bounced back to prevail in three straight and then dropped two of three. Hershey closed out the month with a win in Toronto.

The Bears finished the month with a record of 7-3-0-2. Hershey sits in second place of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Atlantic Division with 87 points. Todd Nelson’s charges clinched a Calder Cup playoff berth with a win in Syracuse on March 25.

The Bears surrendered multi-goal leads in three of their defeats. On March 11, they held a 2-0 advantage after two periods, but gave up three straight to lose in Providence 3-2. Then, the chocolate and white raced out to a 3-0 lead in Rochester on March 24, but watched the Americans score the next three. Hershey would fall in a shootout. Two days later, the Bears were up 2-0 and 3-1, but again gave up their advantage and lost in another shootout. This is a trend Hershey needs overcome down the stretch.

The penalty kill showed improvement during March, killing 35 of the 40 power plays that they faced (87.5%). That is nearly six percentage points better than their season percentage of 81.7. Two of the goals scored against the unit came in the first game of the month. In the last 11 games of March, the Bears were successful in killing 33 of the 37 power plays against them. In that stretch, the unit had a kill rate of 89.2%.

Offensively, the chocolate and white were paced by Joe Snively. The Herndon, Virginia native amassed a team-best 11 points and nine assists. Connor McMichael was right behind Snively with 10 points. Mike Sgarbossa chipped in with nine points in eight games.

The Bears also gocontributions from players who did not play in a lot of games in March. Julian Napravnik played in just five games during the month, but potted four goals and added an assist in the games he played. Sam Anas potted five goals in the five games he played after returning from abdominal surgery.

GARIN BJORKLUND – (G) – 20 – DRAFTED 2020 (Sixth Round, #179 Overall)
Bjorklund was re-assigned to South Carolina at the beginning of the season, but has yet to appear in a game. It has been reported that his absence is due to a back injury, although no public announcements have been made by the Capitals organization.

Monthly Score: Incomplete

HENRIK BORGSTROM (C/LW) – 25 – DRAFTED 2016 (First Round, 23rd overall – Florida)
Borgstrom missed the final six games of March with an upper body injury. He played in six games in the month. His lone point came on March 1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Finn opened the scoring with a tally in the first period. Borgstrom stole the puck from Jon Lizotte close to the right boards. He cut to the center and was tripped up. The Helsinki, Finaland native kept his balance and shifted into the slot. He then wristed a shot over the right pad of Dustin Tokarski.

His play in his own zone dipped late in the month. He was on the ice for all three Providence goals in a 3-2 loss on March 11 and was a -5 in his final three games of the month.

Monthly Score: 2.0

GABRIEL CARLSSON (LD) – 26 – DRAFTED 2015 (1st Round, 29th overall – Columbus)
The Swedish defenseman spent most of March in the NHL with the Capitals, skating in six games with the parent club in the month. Carlsson set up Matt Irwin’s second period goal in San Jose on March 4 and then had the secondary helper on the first of Alex Ovechkin’s two third-period markers. Those were Carlsson’s only points during his recall.

The native of Orebro, Sweden returned to Hershey and played in the Bears last four games of March. He posted a single assist in that stretch. Carlsson leads the team with a plus 23 rating and remains Hershey’s steadiest defenseman.

Monthly Score: 3.5

KODY CLARK – (RW) – 23 – DRAFTED 2018 (Second Round, #47 Overall)
Clark has returned to Hershey. He was a participant in a Season Ticket Holder Autograph event and indicated that his recovery from surgery on his left quad is going well. He is still unlikely to play this season.

Monthly Score: Incomplete

ETHEN FRANK (RW) – 25 – Undrafted
Frank ended March by going four games without a goal, his longest stretch of the season. He exited the final game of the month in the first period with an upper body injury.

The Western Michigan alum netted four goals in the first eight games of the month. Frank tallied the game-winning goal against Rochester on March 18. The marker came in the second period when he gathered a feed from Mike Sgarbossa and roofed a shot over the glove of Michael Houser to give Hershey a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.

The rookie winger added two assists in the month as well. Frank leads the Bears with 27 goals. He is also the top rookie goal scorer in the AHL and is fourth in the league in rookie scoring with 46 points. The Papillion, Nebraska native has scored a team best nine power play goals. Frank is also tied for third in the AHL in first goals with seven.

Monthly Score: 4.0

ZACH FUCALE (G) – 27 – DRAFTED 2013 (Second Round, 36th overall – Montreal)
March was a struggle for Fucale. He saw action in seven games, six of which were starts, and gave up three goals in six of those contests. The netminder has posted a save percentage below .890 in five of his six starts in March. The Laval, Quebec native has surrendered three goals in each of his last eight starts.

The lone appearance that Fucale did not cede three goals came on March 12, when he stopped all 28 shots he saw in relief of Hunter Shepard. Despite his struggles, Fucale was able to win three times and finish the month with a 3-1-0-2 record.

Monthly Score: 2.5

SHANE GERSICH (LW) – 26 – DRAFTED 2014 (Fifth Round, 134th overall)
After playing five games in February, Gersich suited up eight times for the Bears in March. The Chaska, Minnesota native finds ways to contribute every time he is in the lineup. He has helped the penalty kill improve with his strong play on the unit. Gersich is a good two-way player and makes good decisions, defensively. Gersich has been a minus player just twice in his last 29 games.

Offensively, the North Dakota product compiled four points in the month. He potted the game-winning goal in Lehigh Valley on March 15. He fired a one-timer past Samuel Ersson from the inside top of the left circle for Hershey in a 5-3 victory. Gersich also had an assist earlier in the game.

The winger scored his second goal of the month in a 4-1 win over Syracuse on March 25. He opened the scoring by one-timing a Beck Malenstyn pass home in the first period.  Gersich has made a case to stay in the lineup, especially with his strong play on the penalty kill, but often finds himself a victim of a numbers game. His game translates well in the postseason and this could lead him to getting a crack when the playoffs come.

Monthly Score: 3.0

MARTIN HAS (RD) – 22 – DRAFTED 2019 (Fifth Round, 153rd overall)
Has has been out of the Stingrays lineup for most of the Month of March. It’s unclear if he is dealing with an injury, or simply a healthy scratch. When in the lineup, Has was floated around the defensive pairings playing on all three pairs.

Has has played in 41 games this season for the Stingrays, recording three goals and eight assists.

Monthly Score: 2.0

BEAR HUGHES (C) – 21 – DRAFTED 2020 (Fifth Round, 148th overall)
On March 4, Hughes scored a goal during a 6-1 win against the Atlanta Gladiators. The Stingrays scored four unanswered goals in the contest. On March 10, Hughes scored the team’s last goal in a 5-1 win against the Florida Everblades.

On March 18, Hughes scored the team’s fifth goal in a 6-0 win against the Savannah Ghost Pirates. On March 25, Hughes scored the team’s second goal at the 6:27 mark of the second frame in a game against the Maine Mariners where they went on to win 7-3.

In their game of March 31 where the Stingrays routed the Cincinnati Cyclones 11-0, Bear Hughes scored a goal on a rebound from the opposing goaltender at 12:27 into the second period. This was the team’s sixth goal of the game. He also recorded an assist on the team’s eighth goal of the game which came at 7:37 in the third period.

For the month of March, Hughes scored five goals and recorded six assists. Hee has 23 goals and 34 assists in 62 games played (0.92 pts/gm) for South Carolina. He currently leads the Stingrays in goals.

Monthly Score: 3.0

VINNY IORIO (RD) – 20 – DRAFTED 2020 (Second Round, 55th round)
Iorio only played five games for Hershey in March due his first NHL callup and an injury. He played three games for the Washington Capitals in the early part of the month.

In his NHL debut on March 4, Iorio recorded his first NHL point by picking up the primary assist on Alex Ovechkin’s second third period tally against the Sharks in San Jose. The Coquitlam, British Columbia native came back to the Bears on March 11 and had a secondary assist on Beck Malenstyn’s opening goal against Providence.

The rookie blue liner suffered an injury the next night and missed the next four games. He returned to play in two of the last three games of the month and dished out a secondary helper on Hendrix Lapierre’s opening goal in Toronto on March 29. Being in and out of the lineup prevented Iorio from getting into a groove in March.

Monthly Score: 3.0

LUCAS JOHANSEN (LD) – 25 – DRAFTED 2016 (First Round, 28th overall)
The good news for Johansen is he played in 10 games in March, the most he has played in a month this season. The Vancouver, British Columbia native also compiled a season-best three points in March. He now has seven points on the season. All three of his points came on assists. Johansen’s backhanded feed set up Joe Snively’s even-strength goal in the second period versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 1.

He also recorded the primary helper on Hershey’s opening goal in Providence on March 11 after Beck Malenstyn redirected his shot home. Defensively, it has been a mixed bag for the defenseman. He has some good games, but then struggles in others. Johansen still has not found the consistency he displayed last season.

Monthly Score: 2.5

HENDRIX LAPIERRE (C) – 21 – DRAFTED 2020 (First Round, #22 Overall)
After missing the first seven games of the month with an injury, Lapierre returned to play three straight games. He was scoreless in those three games and made little impact on the ice.

The Gatineau, Quebec native was then a healthy scratch on March 26. He returned in the month’s final game and netted his first goal since January 14, ending a 15-game goalless drought.

The rookie pivot has hit a wall. Lapierre has just two assists two assists in his last 16 games.

With Sam Anas back from injury and Shane Gerisch and Julian Napravnik playing well, Lapierre could find it hard to get into the lineup come playoff time unless he starts to pick up his game.

Monthly Score: 2.0

BENTON MAASS (RD) – 24 – DRAFTED 2017 (Sixth Round, 182nd overall)
Maass had another good month in March, including his first callup to AHL Hershey where he spent a majority of the month. He played in two games for the Bears an recorded an assist on March 18 against Rochester.

Maass has played in 48 games for ECHL South Carolina, recording four goals and five assists and is a +16 for the season. He will be in the conversation for Hershey’s blueline in September.

Monthly Score: 3.0

BECK MALENSTYN (LW/RW) – 25 – DRAFTED 2016 (Fifth Round, 145th overall)
Malenstyn posted his second-straight three-point month to run his season total to nine. He redirected a Lucas Johansen shot in for Hershey’s opening goal in Providence on March 11.

Offense, however, is not where the winger makes his biggest contribution to the Bears. That comes on the penalty kill. The unit showed vast improvement in March and Malesntyn was a major part of the uptick.

The native of Delta, British Columbia is consistently one of the first forwards, usually with Riley Sutter, over the boards when Hershey is shorthanded. He is usually in the right position and is never afraid to put his body in front of a shot to keep it out of the net. Malenstyn is one of the team’s top penalty killers. He also brings a physical presence to the lineup and is a key component of a very effective and energy providing fourth line.

Monthly Score: 3.5

DYLAN MCILRATH (RD) – 30 – DRAFTED 2010 (First Round, 10th overall – New York Rangers)
The Hershey captain spent the beginning of the month in Washington with the Capitals. He picked up his first NHL point of the season on March 1 with an assist on Martin Fehervary’sopening goal in the first period. He came back to the Bears and played in Hershey’s last nine games of March.

He recorded a pair of assists in the month. The second of those helpers was a primary assist on Sam Anas’ first period goal in Rochester on March 24. It was McIlrath’s 12th assist of the season and that number is a new career high for the Winnipeg, Manitoba native.

Monthly Score: 3.0

CONNOR MCMICHAEL (C) – 22 – Drafted 2019 (First Round, 25th overall)
The Ajax, Ontario is riding an eight-game point streak. McMichael recorded a point in 10 of the 11 games he played in March.

The pivot potted three goals and dished out eight helpers in the month. He scored goals in back-to-back games against the Rochester Americans on March 18 and 24. His tally on the 18th came 28 seconds after the Americans opened the scoring in the first period. McMichael intercepted a clearing attempt and lifted a shot over Michael Houser’s glove.

The former London Knight picked up his play in his own zone as well. After being on the ice for all three Providence goals on March 12, McMichael rebounded to be a plus player in his next six games.

On the season, he has 35 points in 49 games and ranks fifth on the Bears in scoring. Of those 35 points, 27 of them are primary points. This means that those points are either goals or primary assists.

Monthly Score: 4.5

JULIAN NAPRAVNIK (RW) – 25 – Undrafted
The German born winger saw action in five games in March, tied for the most he has played in a month this season. Napravnik was an impact player when he was on the ice. He was held off the scoresheet versus Providence on March 4, but then posted points in each of his next four games.

The Minnesota State product recorded his first multi-point game as a pro at Lehigh Valley on March 15. With the matchup tied in the second period, Napravnik accelerated down the left wing. Lehigh Valley defenseman Wyatte Wylie dropped to the ice and tried to poke the puck away in the left circle. He pulled the puck back and slid it under Wylie and then elevated his shot past the blocker of Samuel Ersson to put the Bears up 3-2. Napravnik then scored Hershey’s fifth goal in the third period when he slid a shot through Ersson’s five hole.

Two days later, the Bad Nauheim, Germany native again found the back of the net against the Phantoms. He was then scratched for two games, but returned to the lineup on March 25 in Syracuse and tallied a third period insurance goal. Still in the lineup on March 26, Napravnik put a shot by Ersson’s blocker to run his goal streak to four games. The winger has played well enough to keep his spot in the lineup, but again has been a victim of the team having too many forwards. He has outplayed some of his teammates that continue to play night in and night out. If Napravnik continues to score when in the lineup, he will force head coach Todd Nelson to find a spot for him in the lineup.

Monthly Score: 3.5

BOBBY NARDELLA (LD) – 26 – Undrafted
The Notre Dame product amassed three points in a pair of games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on March 15 and March 17. He did not record a point in the other nine games he played in the month.

Nardella has 22 points on the season, but 11 of those came in the first two months of the season and he has nine points in 2023. The lack of offensive production from the Rosemont, Illinois native is concerning. He is a puck-moving defenseman who is in the lineup to provide offense. Nardella is not a strong defensive player and his value decreases if he does not compile points. He needs to be more a consistent offensive producer as the season winds down.

Monthly Score: 2.0

GARRETT PILON (RW) – 24 – DRAFTED 2016 (Third Round, 87th overall)
March was not a productive month for Pilon. He failed to record a point in the first 10 games of the month to run his scoreless drought to 11 games. A bigger issue for Pilon was that he was not noticeable in many of those games.

The Mineola, New York native finally broke out of his funk on March 26 in a home contest with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Pilon tallied the first goal of the game in the second period when he wired a shot from the left faceoff dot past the blocker of Samuel Ersson for his first goal since February 25.

The son of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon added the primary assist on Hendrix Lapierre’s first period goal in Toronto on March 29. The Bears need more consistency from Pilon offensively as the playoffs near.

Monthly Score: 2.0

HENRIK RYBINSKI (C) – 21 – DRAFTED 2019 (Fifth Round, 136th overall – Florida)
Rybinski enjoyed his most productive offensive month of his rookie season in March. This came after registering one point in February. The rookie center netted one goal and compiled five helpers for a six-point month.

Rybinski produced his first multi-point game since December 6 on March 12 in Providence. He dished out the primary assist on Aaron Ness’ late first period marker. The Vancouver, British Columbia native brought the Bears within one early in the third when he deposited a rebound into the net.

Rybinski then recorded his second consecutive multi-point game on March 15 when he assisted on both of Julian Napravnik’s goals in Lehigh Valley. The one-time Seattle Thunderbird’s play has been up and down this season. However, he may be finding his form at the right time for Hershey.

Monthly Score: 3.0

MIKE SGARBOSSA (C) – 30 – Undrafted
The Campbellville, Ontario native enjoyed another productive month. Sgarbossa compiled nine points in March, despite missing four games with an injury. He began the month by dishing out a season high three assists in a 5-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 1. The pivot followed that performance up with another multi-point game at home against Toronto.

Sgarbossa netted the second Hershey goal of the game and also had the secondary assist on Mason Morelli’s game-winning power play marker. He had a four-game point streak from March 18 through March 26.

Sgarbossa potted the eventual game-winning goal in Syracuse on March 25. He stole a Philippe Myers clearing pass at center ice, poked the puck around Myers and then beat Hugo Alnefelt with a wrist shot. It was his fifth game-winner of the season, tied for the most on the team.

Sgarbossa sits atop the Hershey scoring list with 55 points. He also leads the Bears with 35 assists and 15 power play assists.

Monthly Score: 4.0

HUNTER SHEPARD (G) – 27 – Undrafted
Shepard started six games in the month of March. He surrendered a single goal in five of those starts. The Minnesota Duluth alum was the hard luck loser against Providence on March 4. He gave up a single goal but lost 1-0.

Shepard’s next start was his worst outing of the season. He was pulled halfway through the first period after giving up four goals on nine shots in Providence on March 12. The netminder bounced back and surrendered four goals total in his next four starts, all victories. He made 21 saves in a 2-1 win in Lehigh Valley on March 17.

The next night he turned away 22 shots, including 14 in the third period, as the Bears edged Rochester 2-1. Shepard produced one of his best efforts of the season in Syracuse on March 25. He made two ten bell saves in succession in the first period to keep the game scoreless. The Coleraine, Minnesota native kicked out his left pad to deny Simon Ryfors. He then got his toe on the rebound attempt from Cole Koepke on what looked like a certain goal.

By the time the game was over, Shepard had stopped 33 shots, tied for the most he has had in a game this campaign. He was named the game’s number one star and was the biggest reason Hershey prevailed 4-1.

Shepard ended the month with a 21-save effort in a 3-1 triumph in Toronto. He leads the AHL with a 2.09 goalsagainst average.

Monthly Score: 4.0

JOE SNIVELY (LW) – 27 – Undrafted
The Yale University product amassed a team-leading 12 points in March. Snively opened the month with his first three-point game of the campaign. He gave the Bears a 3-1 lead over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second period.

The Herndon, Virginia native pulled the puck to his backhand in front of Dustin Tokarski’s goal and elevated his over the glove. After the Penguins rallied to tie the game in the third, Snively put the chocolate and white back in front with 4:05 remaining in regulation by snapping a shot of the skate of Tokarski and in. It was the game-winning tally. He completed his three point effort with an assist on Mike Vecchione’sempty netter. The two goals against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were his only markers of the month, but Snively contributed eight assists the rest of the month.

He registered two assists against Providence on March 11 and versus Rochester on March 24. The Virginian has 21 points in 26 games this season.

Monthly Score: 4.0

CLAY STEVENSON (G) – 23 – Undrafted
It was a rough month for Stevenson as he won just one game and lost five times. It should be noted that did not get much offensive support during the stretch.

He was in goal for a 10-2 win against the Atlanta Gladiators on March 3, making 26 saves in 27 chances. On March 5, he was pulled after giving up four goals in an eventual 7-2 loss to the Orlando Solar Bears. He made 8 saves on 12 shots.

On March 8 he made 37 saves on 39 shots in a 2-1 loss against the Florida EverbladesOn March 11, he lost a 3-1 decision to the Florida Everblades, making 25 saves on 28 shots against.

On March 17, he was in goal for a 4-1 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits where he made 28 saves out of 32 shotsHe was in goal for a 2-1 loss to the Maine Mariners on March 25.

On March 20, he was called up to the Hershey Bears but on March 24, he was reassigned to the Stingrays from the Bears.

For the season, Stevenson has a record of 17114-1 with two shutouts. He has a goals against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .916.  He played three games with the Hershey Bears, has a record of 3-0, a goals against average of 1.96, and a save percentage of .924

Monthly Score: 3.0

RILEY SUTTER (C) – 23 – Drafted 2018 (3rd Round, 93rd overall)
Sutter struggled to find his niche during the first few seasons of his career, but has found his role this season and he has played his part very well. The Calgary, Alberta native does the little things well.

Sutter centers the fourth line, the team’s energy trio. The line has proven to be a productive in the past few months and can be counted on to be strong defensively.

The pivot is one of Hershey’s best penalty killers and has helped the Bears improve on the kill in March. He usually comes over the boards with Beck Malenstyn as the first forwards on the ice when the team is shorthanded.

Sutter failed to score in March, but he still played his role and contributed in other ways.

Monthly Score: 3.5

MIKE VECCHIONE (C/LW) – 30 – Undrafted
Vecchione netted five goals in March, the second most he has scored in a month this season. The Union College product now has 22 goals on the campaign, which is a new career high. He only had two helpers in March. That is tied for the fewest he has in a month this season.

Vecchione opened the month with back-to-back multi-point games. The Saugus, Massachusetts native had the secondary assist on Joe Snively’s third period game winner and then potted an empty net goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in March 1. Two days later, he repeated the feat by earning the primary assist on Mason Morelli’s opening goal in the second period and then roofing a shot over Toronto’s Keith Petruzzelli for Hershey’s third goal.

Vecchione is second on the team in scoring with 48 points. That is a career high in points for the veteran. He has dished out the second most assists on the team, and has the second most goals with 22. Vecchoine is also tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with five.

Monthly Score: 3.0


HAAKON HANELT (C/LW) – 19 – DRAFTED 2021 (Fifth Round, #151 Overall)
Hanelt missed all of January and February due to foot injury suffered in the run-up to World Juniors. Hanelt returned to practicing with the team the first week of March and to game action on March 15.

For the season, Hanelt had three goals and 14 assists in just 34 games played in the QMJHL.

Hanelt and the Gatineau Olypiques opened their first round of the QMJHL postseason against the Saint Johns Sea Dogs on March 31. Hanelt has a primary assist in the first game.

He will be fighting for a starting spot, as the Olympiques are currently playing great hockey, the roster is deep and Hanelt is still getting up to speed following his return from injury.

Monthly Score: 2.5

RYAN HOFER (C) – 20 – DRAFTED 2022 (Sixth Round, 181st Overall)
The Capitals announced on March 1 that they had signed Hofer to a three-year entry-level deal. It was the first day to register entry-level contracts for 2023-24. Hofer’s contract will carry an average annual value of $851,666.67 (NHL) and $82,500 in the AHL. [More here]

“He’s relentless in his puck pursuit and he’s a physical player,” Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. “And I would say that he’s got a good shot. He’s probably been working on his skill, even more this year, because he’s always had kind of a physical aspect to his game. And he plays hard; he’s a pretty intense guy. He seems like a physical player, but he’s probably working more on his skill level, on his hands and his shot.”

Mahoney feels Hofer, the latest in the Capitals WHL pipeline, has benefited from a recent change in his role on the team.

“He’s playing a lot of big minutes, a lot of responsibility and more of an offensive role. Last year was more of a two-way checking, hardworking guy, and I think it’s been really good for him as far as his development. We’re really pleased with how he’s doing.”

Offensively, Hofer cooled down in March, recording four goals and six assists in 13 games played. Not bad, but down significantly for him, an overager. For the regular season he finished with 40 goals and 28 assists in 66 games played. He shot the puck 278 times for a 14.38% shooting percentage.

Hofer and the Kamloops Blazers opened their WHL first round series against the Vancouver Giants on March 31.

Monthly Score: 2.5

JAKE KARABELA (C) – 18 – DRAFTED 2022 (Fifth Round, 149th Overall)
Karabela cooled off quite a bit down the stretch of the regular season. He went without a single goal in the month of March and added just two assists in 11 games played.

Watching three of his games this month, it’s fairly clear he’s hit a wall, which is not that unusual for 18 year olds. For the season, he has 18 goals and 21 assists in 68 games played.

Karabela and the Guelph Storm begin their OHL postseason run with a first round series against the Sarnia Sting on March 31 in Sarnia.

Monthly Score: 1.5

DRU KREBS (LHD) – 19 – DRAFTED 2021 (Sixth Round, 176th Overall)
Krebs and the Tigers rebounded nicely this season after a rough going in the 2021-22 season.

Krebs was solid on the backend in the four games we watched in March, which included a 7-0 shutout of the high-flying Regina Pats (Connor Bedard and Alexander Suzdalev).

Offensively, Krebs ended the season with eight goals and 33 assists in 67 games played and was a +27, a far cry from his -58 a season prior. As a result, Krebs was named to the WHL’s Central Division’s second all-star team on March 28.

Krebs and the Medicine Hat Tigers face the Winnipeg Ice in the first round of the WHL playoffs beginning March 31 in Winnipeg.

Krebs will need to be signed by the end of the season or the Capitals will lose his rights.

Monthly Score: 3.0

ALEXANDER SUZDALEV (LW) – 19 – DRAFTED 2022 (Second Round, 70th Overall)
The Western Hockey League announced on March 1 that Suzdalev was named the WHL Rookie of the Month for the month of February. Suzdalev led all first-year players with nine goals in February, finishing the month with 15 points from his 10 appearances. He also recorded his first WHL hat-trick as part of a four-point effort February 25 versus the Brandon Wheat Kings. Suzdalev was previously named the WHL Rookie of the Month for December 2022.

Suzdalev celebrated his 19th birthday with his 36th goal of the season on March 5 against the Saskatoon Blades.

Suzdalev led all WHL rookies in goals (38), assists (48), points (86), power play goals (17), and power play assists (19), and tied for first in points per-game (1.30). He’s a lock to win rookie of the year in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, but in the mean time the Regina Pats named Suzdalev their Nick Pappas Rookie of the Year on March 27.

Suzdalev and the Regina Pats open the WHL postseason against the Saskatoon Blades on Friday, March 31, and won the series opener, 6-1. He was likely slated to head to Hershey at the end of the season, but that may not happen if Regina advances deep into the playoffs, which is a very likely scenario.

Monthly Score: 3.5


RYAN CHESLEY (RHD) – 19 – DRAFTED 2022 (Second Round, 37th Overall)
Chesley and the Minnesota Golden Gophers ended their regular season at 25-8-1 overall and 19-4-1 within the Big Ten Conference, finishing first in their conference.

Chesley spent the early part of March recovering from a wrist injury he sustained during a game on February 11, but was able to return for the playoffs.

As it turned out, Chesley would play in the Semi-Finals against Michigan State. He was initially listed as the seventh defenseman. However, he shined in his return to the lineup as he recorded two assists in a 5-1 victory.

Chesley had the primary assist on the team’s second (and game winning) goal. At 17:51 in the first period, Chesley ripped a shot from the point which John Mittelstadt tipped into the net.

Chesley also recorded the secondary assist on the team’s last goal, which came at 15:59 into the third period. Chesley passed to Snuggerud who ripped the puck down the ice. Logan Cooley got to the puck and tapped home the team’s last goal.

Chesley’s return to the lineup introduced a physical element to the lineup. Coach Motzko’s specific comment on Chesley’s play was, “Kinda crazy — I don’t think he missed a beat. He’s just a whale of a competitor.”

The Gophers lost in the Big Ten Finals to the Michigan Wolverines but were still the top seed going into the NCAA Tournament. This was the Gophers40th all-time appearance in the postseason, an NCAA record.

The Golden Gophers won 8-2 against Canisius to advance to the NCAA Fargo Regional Final and Chesley was kept off score sheet. The Gophers then faced St. Cloud State in the NCAA Regional Final in Fargo on March 25 and won 4-1. Chesley was kept off the scoresheet in that game as well. The Golden Gophers have advanced to the Frozen Four and will travel to Tampa Florida. This is their 23rd trip to the NCAA Frozen Four.

Chesley has been the 6th/7th defenseman for the Gophers in recent games, following his return from a late-season upper body injury. For the season so far, Chesley has played in 34 games, scored two goals and recorded seven assists. He is +14. He has made 49 shots on goal and blocked 50 shots.

Monthly Score: 2.5

CHASE CLARK (G) – 22 – DRAFTED 2021 (Sixth-Round, 183rd Overall)
Quinnipiac University finished first in the ECAC and earned a first round bye for the ECAC playoffs.

The Bobcats then beat Yale 3-0 on March 10 and beat them 6-2 on March 11, thus advancing to the Semi-Finals against Colgate University.  Clark appeared in the game on March 11 where he played 2:51 and did not make any saves or give up any goals.

The Bobcats fell in the ECAC Semi-Finals to Colgate University but earned an “at-large” berth and played as the top seed in the Bridgeport Regional against Merrimack University on March 14, beating them 5-0. They next faced Ohio State in the Bridgeport Regional Finals on March 26 and beat them 4-1, advancing to the Frozen Four in Tampa Bay. Clark did not play at all in the Bridgeport regionals as the team’s number one goaltender, Yaniv Perets, played in all the games.

For the season, Clark has played in eight games, all in relief. He has played a total of 78:29. He has made a total of 21 saves out of 25 shots for a .840 save percentage and has a goals against average of 3.06.

Monthly Score: 3.0

MITCHELL GIBSON (G) – 23 – DRAFTED 2018 (Fourth-Round, 124th overall)
By virtue of finishing in second place in the ECAC, Gibson and the Harvard University Crimson earned a bye week for the first round of the ECAC Conference playoffs on March 3 and 4 and moved directly to the ECAC Quarterfinals.

The Crimson beat Princeton in the ECAC Quarterfinals on March 10 and March 11 by identical 6-1 scores which allowed them to advance in the Semifinals against Cornell on March 17.

On March 10, Gibson made 31 saves in 32 chances with Princeton registering 17 shots during the third period alone. This included two big saves on Mackenzie Merriman midway through the period to keep Harvard in control of the contest.

On March 11, Gibson made 34 saves in 35 chances, as Princeton made the most of their shots during the last two periods. Gibson improved to 8-1-0 in ECAC Hockey playoff contests after this weekend.

Gibson stopped 34 of 35 shots faced in Game 2 (.971 sv%) and stopped 30 of 31 in game 1 (.969 sv%) – 64 of 66 shots faced for a .970 weekend sv%.

On March 16, ECAC Hockey announced its year-end awards, with Mitchell Gibson, Matthew Coronato, and Alex Laferriere were Second Team All-ECAC Hockey honorees,

Gibson was one of nine semifinalists for the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goaltender (and one of two on that list from ECAC Hockey),

In the ECAC Semi-Finals, Harvard beat Cornell on March 17 by a 1-0 score in Overtime. Gibson made 15 saves. This included a great stop at 1:24 into the second period on a net drive by Jack O’Leary to keep the game scoreless.

Laferriere’s Dramatic OT Game-Winner Sends No. 6/6 Men’s Ice Hockey Past No. 10/11 Cornell, 1-0, in ECACH Semifinal – Harvard University (gocrimson.com)

However, on March 18, Harvard fell to Cornell by a 3-2 score in the ECAC Hockey Championship. Gibson made 20 saves in 23 chances.

Harvard then played Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal on March 24 in Bridgeport, Connecticut where and lost 8-1. Gibson made 27 saves and gave up seven goals before being pulled in favor of backup goaltender Derek Mulcahy at 3:50 into the third period. This loss finishes the collegiate season for Harvard and Gibson.

Gibson’s final statistics were: 27 games played, compiling a record of 18-7-2 with a save percentage of .919 which was a career high, and a goals against average of 2.25.

The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli is reporting that the Washington Capitals have signed goaltender prospect Mitchell Gibson to a one-year deal. Gibson is also expected to sign an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the Hershey Bears, which will allow him to join the team this season.

Note: The Capitals nor the Bears have made any official announcement regarding the signing of Gibson.

Monthly Score: 3.0

DAVID GUCCIARDI (LHD) – 20 – DRAFTED 2022 (Seventh Round, 213th Overall)
Gucciardi and the Michigan State Spartans finished in fifth place in the Big Ten Conference and as a result, played in the Big Ten Conference Quarterfinals against the Notre Dame Irish on the weekend of March 3-5.

On March 4, the second game of the Quarterfinal series, Gucciardi had the secondary assist on the team’s first goal which occurred at 8:38 during the second period and evened the score at 1-1. Gucciardi also blocked five shots which was a career-best five from him.

The win was the first-ever Big Ten Tournament win for the Spartans after a combined 0-13 through the first nine seasons of the league.

The Spartans went on to win the “rubber” game on March 5 by a 4-2 score. Gucciardi had a big shot block during a penalty kill, which at the time kept it a 3-1 game, but he had no goals or assists.

This win gave Michigan State University their first postseason series win since 2013 and allowed them to advance to the Semi-Finals to against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 11. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they lost to the Golden Gophers which finished the season for David Gucciardi and the Spartans.

For the 2022-23 season, Gucciardi played in 36 games of the team’s 38 games. He scored four goals and recorded six assists. He had 83 shots on goal and blocked 46 shots. He scored no goals in the playoffs but recorded one assist.

Monthly Score: 2.5

BRENT JOHNSON (RHD) – 19 – DRAFTED 2021 (Third Round, 80th Overall)
Brent Johnson played in no games for the North Dakota Flying Hawks during the month of March. This included the last two games of the regular season and the three-game Big Ten Quarterfinal series, all against University of Nebraska-Omaha. The last game in which he played was on December 3. He played in just one game since November 19.

Johnson played in 13 games for the season, scored one goal, and recorded five assists. He was +5 for the season. He took 13 shots on goal and blocked 8 shots. He took three minor penalties for the season.

He had fallen to the bottom of the defenseman depth chart for North Dakota. This prompted him to enter the transfer portal to find a new college team for which to play. He has not officially transferred to another team as of March 31.

Capitals 2021 Draftee Brent Johnson Enters College Transfer Portal | NoVa Caps (novacapsfans.com)

Monthly Score: 2.0

JOAQUIM LEMAY (LHD) – 20 – DRAFTED 2021 (Fourth Round, 114th Overall)
During the month of March, Joaquim “Jo” Lemay played in five games for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, which included the last two regular season games and the three games of their NCHC Quarterfinal playoff series against North Dakota.

On March 3, in their penultimate regular season game against North Dakota, Lemay had the secondary assist on the team’s second goal which came at 9:28 during the third period, cutting the deficit to 3-2. They ultimately lost 5-4.

Lemay scored the team’s first goal on March 11 at 12:24 in first period on the power play in a game they ultimately lost 2-1. At the time, it tied the game at 1-1.

While the Mavericks won the first game of their Quarterfinal series against North Dakota, they lost their next two games, which ended their season.

Lemay’s final statistics for 2022-23 were: played in 32 games out of the team’s 37 games, scored two goals, recorded 10 assists, made 35 shots on goal, and blocked 20 shots.

Monthly Score: 3.0


TOBIAS GEISSER – (LHD) – 23 – DRAFTED 2017 (Fourth Round, 120th Overall)
During March, Geisser played in two games to close out the regular season where he scored one goal and recorded an assist..

On March 4, in a game against Lausanne, he scored the team’s fourth goals at 11:24 in the second period in a game they won 5-0. The win allowed the team to qualify for the Quarterfinal against RC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers. Spielübersicht (nationalleague.ch)

On March 17, in a 4-3 win in the third game of their playoff series against the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers, Geisser had three points. He assisted on the team’s second goal that came at 10:47 into the second period, which was scored by Carl Klingberg. Geisser scored the game tying goal at 17:20 during the third period. Not even two minutes later, at 18:51, he assisted on the game winning goal scored by Fabrice Herzog. Spielübersicht (nationalleague.ch) EV Zug – SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers | EV Zug – Die offizielleWebsite Highlights: EVZ vs SCRJ Lakers 4:3 | EV Zug – The official website

He is a top defenseman on his team and takes a lot of important ice time. Through the end of February, he has played in 50 games, scoring seven goals and recorded 13 assists for the season.

His final stats for the regular season are: 52 games played, eight goals, and 14 assists.

Monthly Score: 3.0

OSKAR MAGNUSSON (C/W) – 19 – DRAFTED 2020 (Seventh Round, 211th Overall)
Magnusson scored six goals and 10 assists in 52 regular games played this season. He has played in four playoff games and has been kept off the scoresheet.

Monthly Score: 2.0

LUDWIG PERSSON – (C/LW) – 19 – DRAFTED 2022 (Third Round, 85th Overall)
During the month of March, Persson played in four regular season games for Karlskoga in Hockey Allsvenskan (Second Tier Swedish League) and had no goals nor assists. He played in all four playoff qualifying games in which the team played against Djurgarden and were swept. He was kept off the scoresheet in all four of those playoff qualifying games.

With Karlskoga being swept, they are now out of the playoffsand Persson’s season is over.

Persson has four goals and 11 assists in 45 regular season games played this season. He had no goals and no assists in four playoff games.

Monthly Score: 2.0

DAMIEN RIAT (F) – 25 – Drafted 2016 (Fourth-Round, 117th Overall)
During March, Riat played in the last two regular season games for Lausanne and did not score any goals or assists. As Lausanne did not qualify for the playoffs, Riat’s season is over.

His final statistics for Lausanne in the Swiss National League this season, he played in 52 games, scored 9 goals, and recorded 16 assists.

Monthly Score: 2.0


IVAN MIROSHNICHENKO (F) – 19 – DRAFTED 2022 (First Round, 20th Overall)
Miroshnichenko recorded an assist on March 11 in Game One of the Omskie’s first round series against Tolpar (MHL) on March 23 in a game they won 5-1.

He recorded two assists on March 13 in Game Two and won 5-3. He had a goal and an assist on March 23 where they lost 5-4.

Miroshnichenko had a goal and two assists in their game of March 25 where they won 5-4.

Miroshnichenko has played in the KHL, the VHL, and the MHL. His overall KHL statistics are that he played 23 games, scored three goals, and recorded one assists. His VHL statistics for February are four games played, two goals, and one assist.

His regular season totals in the MHL are 12 games played, 10 goals scored, andfour assists. For the playoffs this season with the MHL, he has 2 goals and 5 assists in 7 games. His team,

Omsk Yastreby (Hawks) have advanced to the third round of the playoffs by winning their Best of 5 series with Tolpar and will begin their series with SKA-1463 on April 3.

Monthly Score: 3.0

BOGDAN TRINEYEV (F) – 20 – DRAFTED 2020 (Fourth Round, 117th Overall)
Trineyev’s end of the year stats for Moscow Dynamo in the regular season were 39 games for Moscow Dynamo, scoring two goals and recorded 11 assists. In the playoffs, he played five games and records two assists.

He earned an assist in Moscow Dynamo’s game on March 6 when Dynamo won 3-0 in their series against Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo.

He recorded an assist in the game on March 10 in a 4-3 OT loss against Torpedo. He assisted on the team’s first goal, scored by Eric O’Dell at 5:56 into the second period. That goal tied the game at 1-1 at the time.

With Dynamo being eliminated from the playoffs in Round 1, his KHL season is done. As a result he was officially re-assigned to the Hershey Bears but has yet to play in any games with them or even arrive in Hershey.

Monthly Score: 3.0

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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37 Responses to Washington Capitals Prospect Report: March, 2023 – Ivan Miroshnichenko, Connor McMichael And Alexander Suzdalev Finish Regular Season Strong; Jake Karabela, Ryan Hofer Cool-Off Down The Stretch

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks again you guys!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s a shame Suzdalev unlikely gets to Chocolate Town this spring. You now Bedard and Company are running deep this postseason

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Same with Hofer/Memorial Cup. Was looking forward to those two getting some AHL time.

    • KimRB says:

      I dunno about that. Regina is the 4th worst defensive team in the WHL. That was an upset last night, but I can remember what seems like a decade’s worth of Caps teams in the 90s winning Game One against the Penguins, only to go down to crushing defeat in the series.

      Hofer’s Kamloops team is loaded for a deep run, though. They have 7 NHL prospects, including Dallas phenom Logan Stankoven, who had a pedestrian 5 points last night. Kamloops dominated Vancouver in every aspect in their 8-0 win. Coulda been worse, but you could see Kamloops let up, and showed some mercy.

  3. KimRB says:

    I watched Geisser closely yesterday, in Zug’s semifinal match up against Geneva Servette. He plays a pugnacious style, and was patrolling his net like a cop on the beat. Everytime a Servette forward approached his goalie, Big Toby was in his face. Suffice to say, the Geneva forwards won’t be sending him Christmas cards. That style reminded me of his former Bears teammate, one Mr. McIlrath. I gather Toby was getting pointers from Dylan.

  4. KimRB says:

    Great as always Jon. Very thorough.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well done folks! I really value your honest, objective/critical assessments.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s tough to see Hendrix struggle.

  7. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

  8. novafyre says:

    After a 10 hour bus ride, Stingrays had audio difficulties to start their game in Cincinnati Friday but that was all they suffered as the Rays beat the Cyclones 11-0 tying a franchise record for goals. Going into today’s game in Fort Wayne against the Komets they are tied with Greenville at the top of the South with 81 points but no South team has yet clinched a playoff spot. Cyclones are currently on top of the Central and have clinched. Komets are fourth in Central but have not clinched.

    Stingrays scored 5 in the first, 2 in the second, then 4 in the third. Three newly signed college grads did well in their first pro game: Baker Shore, Harvard, got his first pro goal and an assist, Connor Hall, New Brunswick, got his first goal and 2 assists, and Ryan Liebold, Merrimack, got his first 2 assists.. Kevin O’Neil got a hat trick in the first period.

    Bear Hughes got a goal and an assist, Benton Maass 4 sog, and The Mighty Kim 2 assists. Tyler Wall was in goal and stopped all 17 shots as the Cyclones just didn’t produce much offense to go with their poor defense. Cyclones are the second highest team in the ECHL (95 pts) and were on a 21 game point streak. Sinclair let in 8 goals, Warm let in 3.

    • novafyre says:

      Was interesting to rewatch the game with the Cyclones audio. They were on a 21 game point streak and before the game the whole pregame was how they could pass the ECHL record of 23 games held by the Stingrays. Stingrays weren’t having any of it. The 11-0 drubbing not only tied a Stingrays record for most goals but set a Cyclones record for the biggest loss. That was ending a streak with a thud.

      Their announcer did mention how the Rays were a younger team than the Cyclones. Adding those three college grads didn’t make them older. They all had a pretty good start to their pro careers.

  9. Brianna says:

    Why Bogdan not in Hershey yet is he dealing with family or visa issues

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      He’s en route. Last year it took him a week to get from Russia to US. He spent a few days in the country of Georgia in the process. Not sure if it’s easier/harder or the same to get here because of war.

    • Novafyre says:

      We no longer issue Nonimmigrant visas in Russia. Applicants have to get to another country and apply for a US visa at our Embassy or a Consulate there. Performance visas do require more paperwork than just showing up.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        That’s probably why he had to stop in Georgia (country) for a few days.

        • Novafyre says:

          Yep. Has to be able to get to the third country and it might be very busy there to boot. In addition to the normal P visa delays. Could be a delay at the Hershey end preparing and sending the paperwork.

          • Anonymous says:

            Crazy. Kid just wants to play hockey.

            • KimRB says:

              And it might get crazier. If there’s a World Cup of Hockey again in 2024, Russia might not be allowed to participate. So it might be a WCH without well known veterans like Ovi, Malkin and Kucherov, and youngsters like Shesterkin, Svechnikov and Kaprizov. It’ll definitely be watered down without Russia.

              • Anonymous says:

                That would be a sad day. I mean, what is that going to do in the grand scheme of things?

                • KimRB says:

                  Leaders have been playing politics with sports at least since 1936, when Hitler used the Olympics as a platform to show off Nazi ideology to the world. Probably goes back much longer than that. Carter pulled the US out of the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the USSR returned the favor in 1984. It’s nothing new.
                  But yeah, I see your point. It’s not fair to athletes to use them as pawns.

              • novafyre says:

                There are many who have spoken up or written articles (especially in the Canadian press) who already want Ovi to be banned from playing if not all Russians. Remember this: “Dominik Hasek calls Alex Ovechkin a ‘chicken (expletive),’ wants NHL to suspend all Russians”

                • KimRB says:

                  Lordy. I remember Peter Bondra crosschecking Hasek in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1998, and poor whittle Dom throwing his glove at Banzai. What a punk. Great goalie though.

                • KimRB says:

                  And also: I remember when wars used to be a bad thing. It really depends on who’s running things.

                  Not trying to get political, just pointing out hypocrisy.

  10. Prevent Defense says:

    Compared to ten or twenty years ago, the Caps have a BUNCH of mega-talented prospects in the pipeline, especially fancy scoring forwards. Then also have a clutch of NHL-ready Hershey-ites. The cupboard is not bare! All the more reason for the incoming Caps Head Coach to have both the talent for and the mandate to Win Now and Do It with Integrated Prospects

  11. Anonymous says:

    A thank you for these monthly reports. No team-provided takes, just honest analysis. I appreciate that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I thought Carlsson might stick in DC. I think he can do what Irwin does. Hopefully they re-sign him.

  13. Jon Sorensen says:

    • KimRB says:

      I am really, really, really thinking he’ll get moved to wing, when he turns pro. He can be a center in juniors, but his overall game just screams out wing.


  14. dwgie26 says:

    Always love these write ups. Since you score these based on the current month (March in this case), One thing i miss that you used to do is the table with scores across the last few months since season started. Who is progressing and who is regressing and who has been consistent. Love to see a macro view paired with the monthly detail at least a couple of times during the year. 🙂

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Dwgie. And we always value input on what/how we do. My thinking was to tabulate all the scores and post at the end of the season (which I am working on right now) but your point about going “blind” during the season is making me rethink the process. It’s a very good point, and something we will strongly consider doing next season. I think you have sold me.

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