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Washington Capitals Prospect Update: November

Checking in on how the organization’s depth has performed through the first two months of the season

© Photo: Imago

CHL

Jake Karabela, C
NOV: 11GP - 2G - 3A - 5PTS
SEASON: 24GP - 5G - 6A - 11PTS

Karabela had a similar November as October. Pointwise he did fine, and there’s still plenty of time to up the offense, but you will want to see him produce more with the minutes he is getting and it’s a little bit concerning that he’s off to such a slow start offensively to his season.

Hakon Hanelt, C/W
NOV: 9GP: 1G - 7A - 8PTS
SEASON: 22GP - 2G - 11A - 13 PTS

Hanelt improved from the start of the season by putting up almost a point per game in November. He has the skill level to see that number keep climbing and be over a point per game, and while he’s not there yet, he’s certainly headed that way (although a recent injury has him out indefinitely). Hopefully he gets back to health and back on the ice soon.

Ryan Hofer, C
NOV: 11GP - 7G - 3A - 11PTS
SEASON: 22GP - 13G - 8A - 21PTS

Hofer put up exactly 11 points in 11 games in October and did exactly the same in November. He’s been used as a top-six center and looks comfortable. He could probably dominate even more as a 20-year-old in the W, but his destiny isn’t to be a top-six player in the NHL so it’s not a huge deal. He looks like he has the identity of a strong fourth-liner as his ceiling and that’s perfectly fine.

Alexander Suzdalev, LW
NOV: 11GP - 9G - 12A - 21PTS
SEASON: 23GP - 14G - 16A - 30PTS

Suzdalev had an amazing month, averaging two points per game and going pointless just once in the month of November. He currently leads the WHL in power play goals with 11 - in fact, 19 of Suzdalev’s 31 points are on the power play. Scoring over half your points with the extra man could mean a weakness at five on five.

That’s unlikely in this case, though, and here’s why: outside of generational talent Connor Bedard, the Regina Pats are a terrible team, and Suzdalev - one of just two drafted players in the lineup - has not spent a ton of time on a line with Bedard, just two games to this point. The bulk of his time has been on a line with Tye Spencer (30 points in 95 career WHL games) and Riley Ginnell (an undrafted 20-year-old with 53 points in 143 games), which means the only time Suzdalev can really produce is when he’s on the power play. It will be fascinating to see what happens if he gets legit time with Bedard. But so far, Suzdalev is looking great all on his own.

Dru Krebs, LHD
13GP: 1G - 3A - 4PTS
SEASON: 24GP - 1G - 11A - 12PTS

November wasn’t as good for Krebs as October, at least offensively, but it’s important to remember that offense isn’t Krebs’ main ability. He’s been getting top-four minutes but relied on more heavily for his defensive play than his offensive production. For him, it’s all about learning to use his skating as a shutdown mechanic.

NCAA

Joaquim Lemay, LHD
NOV: 6GP - 0G - 1A - 1PTS
SEASON: 14GP - 1G - 4A - 5PTS

Like Krebs, Lemay didn’t do as well offensively as he did last month but that’s normal for a freshman getting bottom pairing minutes - and, similar to Krebs, offense isn’t his whole game either (although he has more of it in his game than Krebs does, so a bit more offensive production wouldn’t be bad).

Brent Johnson, RHD
NOV: 6GP: 1G - 2A - 3PTS
SEASON: 12GP - 1G - 5A - 6PTS

In just 11 games this season, Johnson has already doubled his point total from the 23 he played last season. Finally getting some top-four ice time will help, as opposed to a limited minute seventh defenseman. It’s all about Johnson getting more time and just gaining experience and strength. So far, so good for the Sophomore.

David Gucciardi, LHD
NOV: 8GP: 0G - 3A - 3PTS
SEASON: 14GP - 2G - 3A - 5PTS

Gucciardi started this season like Johnson did last season, as his team’s seventh defensemen, but after just a handful of games he’s moved up to the bottom pairing and recently has been settling in on the second pairing. While it is his first year in the NCAA, at 20 years old you want to see him get as many minutes as possible, and as he continues to get comfortable, up that offense as well. He’s been good, not great (but not bad, either) to start his NCAA career.

Ryan Chesley, RHD
NOV: 8GP: 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 16GP - 0G - 2A - 2PTS

Chesley started the season really well offensively with two points in the first two games, but then went pointless in his next 14... which is wild considering he’s on a strong team getting top-four time. He isn’t a pure offensive defensemen, but he should have way more points than two, and that lack of production is so glaring that there has to be some (bad) luck involved. The good news is he was promoted to the top pair recently (on his offside) so he’s doing something right, it just hasn’t translated to points somehow. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him go on a tear at some point soon.

Chase Clark, G
SEASON: 2GP - 0.00GAA 1.00sv%

No games for Clark in November, so not much to share here. It’s his first year in the NCAA and he’s backing one of the best goalies in the league so he won’t get much time unless there’s an injury, which is a shame.

Mitchell Gibson, G
SEASON: 6GP - 1.97GAA, .927SV%

It’s early in the season, but Gibson seems to be having another strong year for Harvard. The biggest question for him right now is whether he decides to sign with the Caps this spring, or hit free agency in the summer.

EUROPE

Bogdan Trineyev, LW
KHL
NOV: 7GP: 0G - 1A - 1PTS
SEASON: 17GP - 0G - 3A - 3PTS

Bogdan got back tot he KHL after some VHL and injury time in October. Obviously, he hasn’t been tearing it up but it’s always good news when a kid sticks in the KHL, especially when he’s getting looks at center as well, it means the coach likes what he sees. Still, if he wants to prove himself more he needs to start producing. He doesn’t need to be a point per game but still want to see a handful more points as the season goes on.

Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW
MHL: 8GP - 8G - 3A - 11PTS
VHL: 2GP - 0G - 3A - 3PTS

Finally, the wait is over to see the Capitals best prospect since Evgney Kuznsetov hit the ice after his cancer diagnosis, and Miroshnichenko did not disappoint. After going scoreless his first game back, he’s been on a tear ever since, scoring eight goals and six assists in the nine games he’s played (MHL and VHL). I don’t think anyone expected him to get back to this level so quickly. He’s bringing all of the things that made him a possible top five pick in the draft: speed, skill, high end passing, elite goal scoring, huge hits, leadership, etc.

It’s worth noting that Miroshnichenko is probably too good for the MHL and should be a full-time VHLer, but spending some time in the MHL to find his legs - and put up huge point totals - is not a bad thing. The good news, just announced, is that he will be called up to the KHL and will be playing his first game this Sunday!

Tobias Geisser, LHD
National League (Swiss)
NOV: 8GP - 1G - 2A - 3PTS
SEASON: 24GP - 1G - 10A - 11PTS

Geisser will never be confused for being an offensive defensemen but it’s good to see him keep producing at the level he has so far. He’s got a lot about his game that seems Jonas Siegenthaler-esque: a high-end shutdown defensemen with size and speed.

Damien Riat, RW
National League (Swiss)
NOV: NL 11GP: 4G - 1A - 5PTS
SEASON: 27GP - 6G - 6A - 12PTS

Riat’s poor start to the season continued into November, and at his current pace he’s projected to score fewer points than last season (in 17 more games). It’s doubtful he’ll ever come back to North America, though, so while it’s never great if a prospect doesn’t pan out, it won’t be a surprise nor a huge loss for the organization at this point.

Ludwig Persson, C/LW
HockeyAllsvenskan
NOV: 7GP - 0G - 2A - 2PTS
SEASON: 16GP - 3G - 4A - 7PTS

Persson has continued to have a decent start to the season in what is essentially Sweden’s AHL-type development league. It’s unknown how much time he’s getting or where he’s being slotted, but while more production would be nice, there’s nothing to be concerned about as of now.

Oskar Magnusson, C/RW
HockeyAllsvenskan
NOV: 9GP - 2G - 2A - 4PTS
SEASON: 21GP - 3G - 6A - 9PTS

Like Persson, Oskar is having a good-not-great season. He is currently projected to double his point total from last season, but in 11 more games. So all in all, good, but you’d like to see more from him.

ECHL

Martin Hugo Has, RHD
NOV: 8GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 9GP - 1G - 0A - 1PTS

Hugo scored in his very first game of the season and hasn’t scored since, but this shouldn’t be too worrisome. If Hugo is ever going to make an impact on a professional level it will be due to his defensive side of the game. He’s been getting top four time and it’s a good guess he’s probably being used as a shutdown guy due to his size and skating ability.

Clay Stevenson, G
SEASON: 7GP - 2.82GAA - .910sv%

Stevenson is looking good starting his mid-level professional season. The numbers don’t blow you away but they aren’t terrible like the other goaltenders on the team (3.67GAA - .888sv%). Stevenson has all the right tools to be a good goaltender in the NHL, it’s just a matter of getting there. A reminder that Braden Holtby put 2.95GAA and .911 in 12 ECHL games.

Garin Bjorklund, G
0GP

For some reason Bjorklund hasn’t played a game yet this season. It might be injury related. Either way, hopefully he gets some games at some point because he’s just 20 years old and needs to be playing.

AHL

Garret Pilon, C/LW/RW
NOV: 6GP - 1G - 2A - 3PTS
SEASON: 13GP - 2G - 6A - 8PTS

Pilon is hitting a critical part of his career. It’s probably the last year he has to prove he’s a NHL player. By the way he play he certainly looks like he could be a good third line player in the NHL but the Caps are stacked at forward. He’s bound to have a good AHL season and probably go elsewhere next season. He’s been

Bobby Nardella, LHD
NOV: 11GP - 1G - 5A - 6PTS
SEASON: 19GP - 2G - 9A - 11PTS

Nardella is like Pilon, probably a NHL player, but just won’t get a chance here with the Caps. He’s off to a good start in the AHL though leading all Bear defensemen in points and projected to score over 40 points on the season. Hopefully he keeps putting up points and maybe Caps can find him a new home.

Hendrix Lapierre, C
NOV: 13GP - 4G - 6A - 10PTS
SEASON: 20GP - 5G - 9A - 14PTS

Lapierre has been getting better and better as the season has gone on. He is tied for the most points on the Bears all while playing on the third line and the second power play unit. Another promising stat is he has took 47 shots so far this season, which lead the Bears. The hit on Lapierre has always been he doesn’t shoot enough because his playmaking is elite, but now he’s become a duel threat. If he starts to get more and more minutes, which is hopefully the plan, he could really light it up.

Riley Sutter, C/RW
NOV: 13GP - 0G - 1A - 1PTS
SEASON: 20GP - 2G - 1A - 3PTS

Sutter probably won’t be much of a NHL player, more of a tweener. If he wants to prove he’s more he needs to stay healthy and start producing, which won’t be easy since he mainly plays on the fourth line with the Bears.

Lucas Johansen, LHD
NOV: 3GP - 0G - 1A - 1PTS
SEASON: 9GP - 1G - 1A - 2PTS

Johansen probably should have made the Caps out of camp with the way he played in preseason, but alas... Laviolette. Points are not that important for him, as he’s more of a defensive guy, but you’d still like to see a couple more points to start the season. Most of all he needs to stay healthy, which he was for a bit but has missed the last handful of games due to an injury. Hopefully he gets back soon. He just needs to keep playing minutes.

Vincent Iorio, RHD
NOV: 13GP - 1G - 5A - 1PTS
SEASON: 20GP - 1G - 6A - 7PTS

Iorio is shooting up the rankings of the Caps best prospects. Watching him play you can’t help but see a NHL player in him. It’s too early to tell if he’ll be a top or bottom three guy in the NHL but he’ll make a career of it. He’s so reliable and smart you can trust him out there in any situation. He looks a lot like a right handed Alexander Alexeyev, well, hopefully a healthy version of the Russian. Plus minus is not a very healpful stat but must means a little something he’s tied (with Lapierre) for the team lead with a +8.

Henrik Rybinski, C/RW
NOV: 13GP: 2G - 3A - 5PTS
SEASON: 16GP - 2G - 3A - 5PTS

Rybinski started his AHL career slowly with no points in the first four games but he’s be upping his tempo getting more ice time producing more and more scoring five points his last 12. It’s still not amazing by any means but as the season goes on it’s a good bet he’ll produce more and more and his monthly updates will get better and better.

Kody Clark, RW
0GP

Clark has been injured since the preseason. It might be time to give up all hope on him. He can’t seem to stay healthy and when he is he isn’t producing like a second round pick.

Hunter Shepard, G
8GP: 1.83GAA - .932sv%

The Caps might have something in Hunter Shephard. Everywhere he’s played he’s just put up big numbers. Including his AHL games last year he has a 1.80GAA and .934sv% in 20 games. Not a huge sample size but big enough to take notice. He is 27, so he’s on the older side, but it would be great to see him get some NHL games at some point this season. And o yeah, he won goalie of the month of October in the AHL.

Zach Fucale, G
SEASON: 12GP - 2.00GAA - .912sv%

Fucale got off to a rough start to the season but has picked it back up recently. The issue for him is Hunter is tearing it up so he has taken a back seat for now.

NHL

Alexander Alexeyev, LHD
NOV: 1GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 1GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS

It was a quiet November for Alexeyev because he only got to play two games with the Bears before being called up to the Caps playing just one game. The good news is he’s healthy, all he needs now is to stay healthy and get some minutes, but that will be hard to come by. Alexeyev is not waiver exempt so Caps can’t send him down to Hershey to play but at the same time there is no way Laviolette will play him over Matt Irwin or Erik Gustafsson, so I don’t know how we will be able to improve his game. Sucky situation.

Beck Malenstyn, LW/RW
NOV: 1GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 5GP - 1G - 1A - 2PTS

Malenstyn got to play one game in November for all of three minutes with the Caps before breaking his finger and going on LTIR. He won’t be out too much longer though.