Next up in our Washington Capitals annual prospect review and forecast series is Henrik Rybinski, forward for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League (AHL). (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 22 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 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.
The 2022-23 season was a mixed bag for Rybinski. He suffered an injury at the beginning of the season that caused him to miss the Bears first four games. When he played he began the season well, starting consistently for the Bears. As the season progressed he became a victim of a numbers game and saw a few healthy scratches. He also suffered an injury and illness in December and January. He finished the year five goals and 13 assists in 51 games played, and has been a healthy scratch in all four of the Bears postseason games to date.
2022-2023 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Henrik Rybinski during the 2022-2023 season. Also included are his monthly scores (0-5, with 2.5 being average). You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Rybinski’s AHL debut was put on hold after the rookie suffered an injury late in training camp. He missed Hershey’s first four games. The Vancouver, British Columbia native played his first game in Hartford on October 28.
Rybinski skated in all three games during October’s final weekend. He was held off the scoresheet while firing three shots.
The former Seattle Thunderbird has been deployed on the penalty kill. Rybinski plays a smart game and does the little things well. He is not afraid to deliver a hit or muck it up.
Monthly Score: 2.5
After playing only three games in October due to injury, Rybinski started to hit his stride in November. He potted his first professional goal and point on November 6 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when he roofed a rebound of an Aaron Ness shot over the glove of Filip Lindberg. The goal put Hershey up 4-0 in the second period and seemed like it would be a goal in a rout.
Henrik Rybinski with his first AHL goal and the Bears are pounding the Baby PEns, 4-0. #HBH #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/xpwFVx3lWI
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 6, 2022
In the end, Rybinski’s tally proved to be the game-winner as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallied with three goals in the third.
The Vancouver, British Columbia native’s second goal was an empty netter against Laval on November 13.
Rybinski amassed three assists for the the remainder of the month to finish with five points in the month. In November’s last game at Lehigh Valley, Rybinski set up Hendrix Lapierre for an easy goal with a nice feed after he drew Lehigh Valley goalie Samuel Ersson out of position.
Henrik to Hendrix. Hendrix Lapierre with his 5th goal of the season. Bear lead 1-0. #HBH #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/cChNBYKUJX
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 1, 2022
The rookie has also been a responsible player, defensively and is a key component to Hershey’s strong penalty kill unit.
Monthly Score: 3.5
Rybinski played seven of the 12 games on the schedule in December. He missed the last four games of the month due to injury. The Vancouver, British Columbia native dished out a pair of assists on December 6 in a 4-2 win over Charlotte.
Those helpers would be the only points Rybinski registered in the month. He still plays on the penalty kill unit when in the lineup, but is no longer one of the first over the boards when the kill starts. On the season, Rybinski has two goals and five assists.
Monthly Score: 2.5
January was a tough month for the rookie. Rybinski played in just five games, after suffering from injury and illness. The Vancouver, British Columbia native compiled two helpers in the month.
The first was a primary assist on Beck Malenstyn’s first period goal versus Syracuse on January 8. The second was a secondary assist on a Malenstyn shorthanded tally in Belleville on January 28.
Rybinski is a solid penalty killer and fills a bottom six role well when in the lineup. He just needs to stay healthy.
Monthly Score: 2.0
February was a quiet month for Rybinski. He missed the first three games of the month with an illness. The Vancouver, British Columbia native’s lone point of February came against the Hartford Wolf Pack on February 11. With the Bears on a penalty kill, Rybinski took a feed from Shane Gersich at the top of the left circle. He accelerated up the ice and lifted a shot over the blocker of Dylan Garand for the first shorthanded goal of his professional career. It also proved to be his second game winner of the campaign.
Henrik Rybinski receives a nice outlet pass and motors past Wolf Pack player, finishes for a shorthanded tally. Bears lead 2-0. #HBH #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/vRrbrfi4l8
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 12, 2023
When in the lineup, the rookie usually skates on the fourth line and is effective in the role. Rybinski is also a good penalty killer. He needs to provide more overall to stay in the lineup with players like Shane Gersich and Matt Strome playing well.
Monthly Score: 2.0
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.
Henrik Rybinski with his 4th of the season. Bears cut Bruins lead to 4-3 early in 3rd period. #ALLCAPS #HBH pic.twitter.com/zN0ZXXCMPw
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) March 12, 2023
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
Rybinski got games down the stretch, recording a goal and assist in seven regular season games played in April. Unfortunately he has been a healthy scratch in the posts on, but that’s more a reflection of the Bears depth at this point in the season.
Monthly Score: 2.5
MONTHLY SCORE SUMMARY
Rybinski had a fairly productive season with the Bears, but had to deal with at least two injuries and an illness along the way. As noted, he’s been a healthy scratch in the postseason, but that’s more a reflection of the Bears depth than Rybinski’s overall play.
Rybinski showed solid skills, particularly at playmaking and a decent shot when he saw consistent playing time. He has also demonstrated he can play a physical game which was more noticeable this season than the games we watched last season when he was with Seattle. His game and playing time should improve next season with the Bears.
By Jon Sorensen
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2022-2023 Prospect Reviews And Forecasts
Hank was hot or miss depending on game. He did deal with some adversity so I think next season will be his ceiling decider.
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I hope next year we utilize him at center. He is clearly more effective in that role. Problems is numbers with Sgarbossa resigning. It’s probably Rybinski or Sutter at 4C.