It’s time once again to dive into the Caps’ prospect pool as we take a look at how the organizational depth fared in the first month of the season.
AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Garrett Pilon C, 23yo
October: 7GP - 4G - 3A
Pilon has continued his great play from last season putting up a point per game. He’s been getting his usual top six time and top powerplay time and has made the most of it. He has put up 27 shots in his seven games, which is sixth in the league.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby LW, 23yo
October: 7GP - 3G - 4A
Fjallby has gotten off to a flying start to the season, racking up a point per game, which is nice to see after his journey up and down the waiver wire during training camp. What’s most surprising is his assist total, as he’s already picked up four helpers - that’s a quarter of his entire total through 92 previous AHL games. He is shooting 25%, which is probably slightly too high (though his speed and shot will mean he has a higher shooting percentage) but even with regression he’s looking good to smash his career-best totals this season.
Alexei Protas C, 20yo
October: 6GP - 1G - 3A
If you read my top 25 under 25 article you know how high I am on Protas. He’s off to a great start with the Bears posting 4 points in 6 games, and he’s doing that while playing on the third line. There was a hope that he would get top-six minutes with better talent, but it’s not unusual for Hershey to save those big minutes for veterans. Still, he’s making the most of it (and earned himself a recent callup for his efforts, making his NHL debut against the Bolts last night).
Brian Pinho C, 26yo
October: 7GP - 0G - 4A
Pinho has been mostly used as a defensive center through out his AHL career but has been getting top six wing minutes so far this season. He’s done well with it, and with 20 shots in seven games he’s been a bit unlucky in the goal scoring department. He’ll never be a pure offensive player but it’s nice to see him starting off the year with some points.
Lucas Johansen LHD, 23yo
October: 7GP - 2G - 1A
How awesome is it to see Johansen stay healthy to start the season? After only playing 54 of the 138 available games the last three AHL seasons and only 14 the last two seasons, seeing Lucas stay healthy is a real treat. It’s a bonus he’s also finding the back of the net. He’s been playing on the bottom pairing but could get more minutes if he shows he can physically take it.
Joe Snively LW/RW, 25yo
October: 7GP - 0G - 3A
Snively has gotten off to a fine start but like his first two season he leaves you wanting more. His goal total is probably a bit unlucky, he’s fired the puck on net 20 times, so he should have 2 maybe 3 goals as well. This Joe’s last chance to really prove his worth so hopefully those goals start coming. It his just the first month of the season so plenty of time to get going.
Brett Leason RW, 22yo
October: 5GP - 1G - 0A
Leason has gotten off to a little bit of a slow start in Hershey, but it is just five games. He played well enough that the Capitals thought he earned a call up to play his first NHL game where he looked pretty good. He’s been firing the puck a lot as well, with 11 shots in five games. He was getting third line minutes, which, like Protas, is just dumb. These kids should be in the top six but that’s Hershey for you.
Kody Clark RW, 22yo
October: 6GP - 1G -0A
Clark is getting off to a slow start to the season with just one point. He has only played on the bottom six so it’s hard to blame him too much. He does only have nine shots in six games, and for a guy who’s main weapon is his shot it would be nice to see him shoot closer to two shots per game, whether he’s getting time or not. Hopefully he gets more minutes as the season goes on.
Alexander Alexeyev LHD, 21yo
October: 7GP - 0G -1A
Probably one of the more surprising stats for the Bears to start the season is that AA only has one point through seven games, especially since he put up nine points in 12 games last season. He has been listed as the bottom pairing every single game for some reason so that’s probably the main reason for his low point totals, but it also could just be a very fluky thing. He’s probably going to regress to the positive soon enough.
Tobias Geisser LHD, 22yo
October: 7GP - 0G - 1A
It’s always hard to evaluate a purely defensive first player at the AHL level without more advanced stats but by all accounts he’s doing well since they have stuck with him on the second pairing all season, which shows a lot of trust from the coaches. One surprising stat is that Geisser has 11 shots in his seven games, which isn’t a ton but a lot when you consider how defensive first Geisser is. Adding any type of offensive trait to Tobias is a good thing.
Shane Gersich C/LW/RW, 25yo
October: 7GP - 0G -0A
Gersich has had an interesting road in hockey. He came in as a goal scoring top six potential winger and has now transitioned into a hard nose, grinding fourth liner you can rely on whenever he’s on ice. He didn’t get a point in October, but that isn’t expected of him anymore but it would be nice to see a little something going forward. He only has two shots on net, which is way too low for a player with his shot.
Beck Malenstyn LW, 23yo
October: 7GP - 0G - 0A
Malenstyn and Gersich have been stapled to the fourth line together in Hershey and neither has a point. I think the Capitals know what they will be at the NHL level so they don’t mind the fourth line minutes. The plan is probably to turn them into speedy fourth liners at the NHL level that are strong the penalty kill. Would still like to see them put up some points going forward. Malenstyn did have 12 shots on net with no goal so he’s been a bit unlucky.
Zach Fucale G, 26yo
Season: 3GP - 0.96GAA - .963SV%
Fucale is off to a fantastic start again this season and when you take into account his 1.80GAA and .932sv% last season in 11 games, he’s been stellar the last two seasons. You have to think the Capitals are starting to pay attention and might give him a NHL start soon if a spot opens up.
Bobby Nardella and Riley Sutter haven’t played a game this season due to injury.
Oskar Magnusson C/RW, 19yo
October: 12GP - 2G - 4A
It’s hard enough to try to gauge European players in the bigger leagues like the KHL and SHL, let alone essentially the AHL of the SHL. Oskar has put up a decent output in the that league but it would like to see more. The hope is he isn’t getting a lot of minutes because if he is and putting up just six points in 12 games that would be a bit concerning. Once he gets to the SHL we can get a much better sense of him.
Bogdan Trineyev RW/LW, 19yo
October: (MHL) 4GP - 0G - 3A, (KHL) 7GP - 0G - 0A
Bogdan started his season on a rough note breaking his finger in the KHL preseason. Once he went back and had a stint in the MHL putting up three point. Since then he’s been with the big club playing bottom six minutes in the KHL. He doesn’t have any points but the fact a 19 year old is sticking with the big club and getting more than a handful of minutes a game is a good sign that the coach likes him. Hopefully he can stick in the KHL and get more opportunities.
Damien Riat LW/RW, 24yo
October: 9GP - 3G - 5A
It was a shame Riat didn’t stick in North America but he got off to a great start with his team in the Swiss National League. After nine games he led his team with eight points, unfortunately he suffered an injury and was expected to miss a handful of weeks. Hopefully he gets back and picks up where he left off.
Benton Maass RHD, 22yo
October: 7GP - 1G - 1A
Maass is still trying mimic his Freshman season but is off to decent start. It looks like he transferred over to Minnesota State University. I don’t know why he transferred for his last season but hopefully it gets him going. It’s his last season before being signed or hitting free agency.
Brent Johnson RHD, 18yo
October: 5GP - 0G - 1A
Like Protas, if you know me I’m incredibly high on Johnson. Unfortunately he has been getting bottom pairing and sometimes scratched while playing for North Dakota. It really isn’t a big deal, it’s common for Freshman on a stacked team to not get big minutes, it’s just disappointing. Hopefully through out the season he starts to get more minutes.
Mitchell Gibson G, 22yo
Season: 2GP - 2.40GAA - .867sv%
Gibson missed all of last season due to college sports being cancelled and his first two games were a little rough. Issue is both times his team took massive leads going into the third and that’s where most the damage was done on Gibson. As Caps fan we know what’s that’s like! It’s still early and Gibson probably has lots of rust to shake off.
Hakon Hanelt LW/C/RW, 18yo
October: 7GP - 1G - 4A
After playing fourth line time over in Germany’s men league, Hanelt headed to the QMJHL to get more ice time. He was off to a great start with five points in four games but went dry the last three games. Some of that might be with the fact he has played left wing, center, and right wing on three different lines, so not a lot of consistency with him. He also seems to have been hurt as he’s missing the last handful of games. So far he’s off to a great start as a rookie in North America.
Martin Hugo Has RHD, 20yo
October: 3GP - 2G -0A
Martin has been on a wild ride since the 2018-2019 season. He has played in SIX different leagues and NINE different teams, across two countries. He has settled in the QMJHL and hopefully that is where he settles. He’s only played three games so far but has looked quite good.
Bear Hughes C, 20yo
October: 8GP - 4G - 5A
Hughes got off to a strong start in the WHL scoring nine points in eight games while playing in a top six center position playing on both the penalty kill and powerplay. He has missed a couple games to injury lately so hopefully he’ll be back out there soon.
Vincent Iorio RHD, 18yo
October: 10GP - 0G - 7A
Iorio, like many on this list, has been injured recently but was doing well overall before that. One issue is he has been on the ice for a lot of goals against to start the season. Might just be a sample size issue for now, but without analytics it’s hard to tell if it’s his fault or others. With the way he played the last couple years and how sound defensively he’s been it’s hard to think he just isn’t good in his own end now. Something to keep an eye on going forward.
Dru Krebs LHD, 18yo
October: 11GP - 1G - 0A
For a player that fancies himself an offensive defensemen, Krebs certainly hasn’t put up the points to prove it, scoring just one goal and no assists to start the season. He had 11 points in 23 games last season. But it isn’t all bad, he has consistently played on the top pair for his team, which means the coach trusts him a lot, so maybe he’s just getting a lot of tough defensive zone starts. He’s also been playing the right side, which isn’t his natural side so that can take getting used to.
Garin Bjorklund G, 19yo
Season: 7GP - 3.36GAA - .890sv%
Garin has not gotten off to the start I’m sure he wanted to. He had a strong rookie season last year with a .921sv% in 18 games, but hasn’t followed that strong effort up yet this season. It’s still early, we’ll see how he rebounds.
Joaquim Lemay LHD, 19yo
October: 11GP - 1G - 7A
One of the most surprising players this season has been Lemay, who won USHL player of the week in October at one point. He’ s looked real strong on his skates and transitioning the puck quite well. He’s raw but has a lot of good tools. Hopefully he can keep his play up as the season progresses.
Chase Clark G, 19yo
October: 4GP - 1.99GAA - .935sv%
Clark has been splitting starts with another goalie to start this season and has been killing it. Going forward hopefully he can take reigns of the team and get more games. A bigger sample size is always better.
Connor McMichael C, 20yo
October: 7GP - 0G - 2A
The Capitals’ top prospect has had to step up due to the injury of Nicklas Backstrom and he has been pretty damn good. It’s a shame he has just two points in seven games but his underlying numbers are very strong and the shooting percentage when he’s on ice is well below average, that’s bound to regress to the positive. The hope is Laviolette sees how good Connor has been and keeps playing, the points will come.
Hendrix Lapierre C, 19yo
October: 5GP - 1G - 0A
If it was a surprise that McMichael made the Caps then it blew your socks off that Lapierre made the team. You can see he the raw ability of a very good player but you can also see he just isn’t ready for the NHL yet and that’s perfectly fine. No one was expecting him to be an impactful NHL forward already. The issue is if he isn’t in the NHL he has to go back to the QMJHL, which will be too easy for him. The AHL would be perfect for him but that isn’t allowed. Expect the Capitals to send him back to the QMJHL so they don’t burn a year off his deal. He has a bright future.