We continue breaking down the last 12 months of development for each of the Washington Capitals prospects with a review and forecast for Ethen Frank, forward for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page here.)
Frank, 25, is a 5’-11” right-handed forward from Papillion, Nebraska. He signed an AHL contract with Hershey on April 11, 2022 following a five-year collegiate career at Western Michigan University. The Capitals announced March 2, 2023 that they had signed Frank to a one-year, two-way deal for the 2023-24 season.
Frank served as assistant captain for Western Michigan (NCAA) in 2021-22 and recorded 39 points (26g, 13a) in 38 games. He finished the season with the most goals in NCAA Division I and led the Broncos in shots on goal (141), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (6). In addition, Frank was selected to the NCHC First All-Star Team and the NCAA (West) Second All-American Team. In five seasons at Western Michigan, Frank registered 118 points (70g, 48a) in 158 career games.
Frank was another high-quality college free agent recruit by Capitals’ Director of Player Recruitment, Danny Brooks, who has also successfully recruited and signed undrafted college free-agents Joe Snively, Bobby Nardella and Clay Stevenson, just to name a few. Frank reported to Hershey following the conclusion of his season at Western Michigan and recorded a goal in five games played.
The 2022-23 season was a breakout season for Frank. He finished the regular season with 30 goals and 19 assists and was selected to the 2023 AHL All-Star Game, which took in Laval, Quebec. “It means a lot. I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, so it’s nice to get a little recognition,” Frank told Bears Radio. As part of the All-Star Game festivities, Frank participated in the fastest skater competition. He not only won with a time of 12.915 seconds, he set a new All-Star Game record. Frank cooled off in the postseason, scoring two goals and recording four assists in 20 games.
2022-2023 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Ethen Frank during the 2022-2023 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The Nebraska native missed the last two games of the month after suffering an upper body injury in Hartford on October 28. The injury came at an unfortunate time as Frank had tallied in his last two games, including the one in which he was injured.
The Western Michigan alum netted his first goal of the season in Charlotte on October 22. As he was streaking down the middle, Frank took a feed from Mason Morelli and snapped a shot by Mack Gudza to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.
The winger then scored Hershey’s first goal in Hartford. He one-timed a feed from Henrik Borgstrom for a power play marker in the second period. Frank brings energy to the lineup and was playing on the second power play unit.
Monthly Score: 3.5
Frank missed five games in November, but was very productive when in the lineup. The Western Michigan alum averaged a point per game in the month. He tallied a goal in his first three games in November. His first goal of the month came in the power play at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on November 5 and was his first professional game-winning goal.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 6, 2022
The third of these goals came on November 11 when he registered his first multi-point game as a pro. The goal came in the first period off of a Shane Gerisch feed and he followed that with a secondary assist on Gersich’s third period goal.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 12, 2022
The goal-streak ended in the next game, but Frank had an assist to run his point-streak to six games. Frank produced another multi-point game at Lehigh Valley on November 30. He picked up an assist on Mike Sgarbossa’s game-winning marker in the third and then sealed the victory with an empty netter.
Frank has six goals on the season, tied for the team lead with Mike Vecchione.
Monthly Score: 4.0
The Western Michigan alum tallied a team-best seven goals in December and also added seven assists for 14 points. Frank finished the month with four goals in his last five games.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 22, 2022
Frank netted two goals in a game twice in that stretch. The Nebraskan potted Hershey’s opening goal in the first period at Lehigh Valley on December 21. Frank then ripped a one-timer over the blocker of Pat Nagle for a power play marker in the second. That goal would be the game winning tally.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 22, 2022
The rookie’s best game of the month came on December 9 in Bridgeport against the Islanders. Frank contributed to all four goals the Bears scored. He had the primary helper on Mike Vecchione’s opening goal in the first period.
Frank then picked up a secondary assist on Mike Sgarbossa’s second period goal. He followed with the lone assist on Vecchione’s marker in the second. Frank then sealed the win with an empty net goal. It was his first four-point game as a professional.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 28, 2022
The Western Michigan product leads the Bears in goals with 13 and power play goals with five. He is third on the team in scoring with 22 points.
Frank’s best skills so far this season have been his NHL-caliber shot, his skating speed, and his nose for the puck.
Frank is currently on a Bears contract and inelliglbe for call-up to Washington without restructuring his current deal. It’s very likely the Capitals are considering doing just that, if not now, before the start of next season.
Monthly Score: 4.5
Frank knows how to put the puck in the back of the net. The Western Michigan product potted seven goals in January to run his season total to a team-leading 20. The seven tallies helped him post 13 points in the month, tied for the most on the team. He was named AHL Rookie Of The Month for January.
Frank tallied twice in a a 5-3 win over Springfield on January 13. The second goal came early in the third when he elevated a shot over the shoulder of Joel Hofer. The marker was the game-winner.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) January 14, 2023
On January 21, Frank ignited a third period comeback in Belleville when he lasered a wrist shot from the right circle under the arm of Senators’ goalie Kevin Mandolese. The goal sparked a four-goal third period for the Bears and Frank sealed the 4-2 triumph with an empty net goal.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) January 22, 2023
The Papillion, Nebraska native recorded his second four-point game at Lehigh Valley on January 28. He had the primary assist on first period goals by Mike Vecchione and Mike Sgarbossa. In the third, Frank pushed the Hershey advantage to 5-1 with a breakaway goal 34 seconds into the stanza.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) January 29, 2023
The Nebraskan then added his second marker of the game when he redirected a Dylan McIlrath shot later in the period.
Frank’s 20 goals are the most by a rookie in the AHL and he is tied for the rookie point lead with 35. On the Hershey scoring list, he sits second. Frank also is tied for the best plus/minus rating on the Bears with a plus 20.
Monthly Score: 4.5
At the start of the month, Frank was named the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for January. Then he was selected to the AHL All-Star Classic in Laval, Quebec and caught the attention of the hockey world. The rookie winger participated in the Fastest Skater Event at the skills competition. Frank blazed his way to a record-setting lap of 12.915 to claim the victory in the event.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 5, 2023
The Western Michigan product then scored a goal and a shootout goal in the All-Star Classic, helping the Atlantic Division make the finals against the Pacific Division.
Back in Hershey, Frank netted three goals and dished out two assists in 10 games and has a team-high 23 goals this season. That total is the most among rookies in the AHL and the winger is tied for fourth in the league in rookie scoring with 40 points.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 19, 2023
The Papillion, Nebraska native has scored the first goal six times. That is tied for the second most in the AHL. Also, Frank is tied with fellow rookie Sammy Walker for the most insurance goals scored in the league with six.
Monthly Score: 4.0
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.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) March 12, 2023
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.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) March 19, 2023
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
Frank went cold in the postseason, continuing his drought which began at the end of the regular season. We detailed potential reasons for the downturn at the end of his 2022-23 season (here), but he did include his first professional hat trick in the final game of the regular season wedged in between sizable stretches without a goal.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) June 13, 2023
Frank did heat up for a two-game stretch in the Calder Cup finals, scoring goals in back-to-back games.
Monthly Score: 2.5
MONTHLY SCORE SUMMARY
Frank will be a wildcard in Capitals training camp in September. He definitely exhibited NHL-level skills during the Bears 2022-23 regular season. His speed is well documented, but the power and accuracy of his shot is also NHL-caliber.
Frank will battle for a wing spot or the 13th forward spot when camp begins. He’s on a two-way deal next season, so he may start in Hershey but will most definitely see games with the Capitals this coming season.
By Jon Sorensen
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