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Washington Capitals Prospect Update: December

Checking in on how the organization’s depth has performed last month

NHL: Preseason-Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check in on the Capitals’ organizational depth for the last month of 2022... let’s take a look!

CHL

Jake Karabela, C
DEC: 11GP - 4G - 2A - 6PTS
SEASON: 35GP - 9G - 9A - 18PTS

Karabela had a similar November as October. Point wise 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 as he’s constantly in the top six. But he is really young still and has time to develop.

Hakon Hanelt, C/W
DEC: 6GP: 1G - 3A - 4PTS
SEASON: 28GP - 3G - 14A - 17 PTS

Hanelt had a fine, not great December, not as good as his November. The bad news though is that Hanelt went to the world juniors, and just the day before the tournament was supposed to begin he suffered a foot injury and missed the whole tournament. Last year he missed the world juniors due to an injury as well. Such a shame he never got to play in the tournament for his home country of Germany.

Ryan Hofer, C
DEC: 10GP - 4G - 3A - 10PTS
SEASON: 33GP - 20G - 11A - 30PTS

If Hofer has been anything he’s been consistent, being exactly or close to exactly a point per game every month. He should 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
DEC: 10GP - 6G - 11A - 17PTS
SEASON: 34GP - 21G - 26A - 47PTS

Suzdalev had another strong month and not enough people are paying attention to him. It makes sense because generational talent Connor Bedard plays on his team, but Suzdalev is tied for second in points on his team and is fifth in league, and he doesn’t even play on Bedard’s line. The Regina Pats basically only have four good players: Bedard, Suzdalev, forward Tanner Howe (2023 eligible), and defensemen Stanislav Svozil (2022 2nd round pick). Suzdalev has played just three games on Bedard’s and only a handful with Howe (who gets to play with Bedard every night) since Bedard went to world juniors.

Speaking of world juniors, it’s an absolute sham that Suzdalev wasn’t invited to Sweden’s team but he didn’t let that get to him. With both Bedard and Svozil off to world juniors, Suzdalev stepped up, scoring 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in eight games, that’s 1.5 points per game. Which is better than his season total at 1.38 points per game. And over the last 22 games, Suzdalev has 38 points, good for 1.72 points per game, he’s just gotten better and better. What he’s doing as a rookie in a tough North American league is all sorts of impressive.

Dru Krebs, LHD
DEC : 11GP - 2G - 5A - 7PTS
SEASON: 36GP - 3G - 17A - 20PTS

December was Krebs best month in awhile even stretching into last season. Last year he was on the worst team in the league so it was hard for him to tread above water but with a new roster he’s been thriving. He is the only drafted player on his team, so the team still isn’t great but it’s much better than what he dealt with last season. He’s already [tied] his point total from last season in 31 (!!!) less games. Still, he shouldn’t be known as an offensive guy, he’s more of a reliable skater and defender, it’s just a plus he’s putting up points.

NCAA

Joaquim Lemay, LHD
DEC: 8GP - 0G - 3A - 3PTS
SEASON: 16GP - 1G - 6A - 7PTS

Like Krebs, Lemay had a better offensive month than last month but that’s normal for a freshman getting bottom pairing minutes, a lot of ups and down - 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: 7GP: 1G - 2A - 3PTS
SEASON: 13GP - 1G - 5A - 6PTS

Johnson has double his point total from last season in 10 less games. It’s nice to get more than extra D ice time. He isn’t tearing it up but that’s okay with the minute he’s been given. As long as he keeps progressing through out his college career that’s big. He has pretty good potential.

David Gucciardi, LHD
DEC: 6GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 20GP - 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. You want to see at least a bit more offense than this because as of now, he’s on pace to have less points than last season

Ryan Chesley, RHD
DEC 4GP - 1G - 0A - 1PTS
SEASON: 20GP - 1G - 2A - 3PTS

Chesley started the season really well offensively with two points in the first two games, but then went pointless in his next 16... 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 three, and that lack of production is so glaring that there has to be some (bad) luck involved. The good news is though he hasn’t been producing he was still made the American world junior team, getting second pairing minutes. The coach knows that even though he isn’t putting up points his strength is his defensive side.

Chase Clark, G
SEASON: 4GP - 3.20GAA .875sv%

Those stats don’t look amazing but Clark has yet to even start a game because he’s backing one of the best goalies in college, Yaniv Perets. All four games are coming in relief so you can’t blame him. He came into the game on 10/23, 10/24, 12/9 , and 12/10. It wouldn’t be easy for anyone to put up good stats in a situation like. For now, he’ll just have to keep sitting in the back and be ready if he’s ever called upon.

Mitchell Gibson, G
SEASON: 8GP - 1.83GAA, .932SV%

It’s early in the season, but Gibson seems to be having another strong year for Harvard. If you follow Harvards hockey Twitter, it seems like they post like five tweets a game talking about a huge save. 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
DEC: 1GP: 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 18GP - 0G - 3A - 3PTS

Bogdan played all of one game in December. Unknown if it was because it was an injury or he was a healthy scratch. He’s just a kid playing in the KHL so it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a healthy scratch. Hopefully he gets more time going forward.

Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW
KHL
DEC: 9GP - 1G - 0A - 1PTS

Ivan didn’t have as a fun of a month as his November but there’s a good and bad reason for that. The good reason is because he was called up to play in the KHL, the second best league in the world. The bad part of it is he was either on the fourth line or worse, the 13th forward, so he didn’t get to play with a lot of offensive talent. The fourth liners he played with the most were Nikita Mikhailov and Fyodor Malykhin, they combined for 11 points in 56 games. The last game he played, Ivan played just 1:53, which might say he’s headed back down to the VHL, which would be the best place for him unless his KHL team wants to start playing him in the top 9. This is just another version of the Connor McMichael situation Caps fan dealt with over here. It’s better for everyone if Miroshnichenko is sent down to the VHL to get big minutes there.

Tobias Geisser, LHD
National League (Swiss)
DEC: 6GP - 2G - 1A - 3PTS
SEASON: 30GP - 3G - 11A - 14PTS

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)
DEC: 5GP: 0G - 2A - 2PTS
SEASON: 31GP - 6G - 8A - 14PTS

Riat is projected to score five 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
DEC: 7GP - 0G - 4A - 4PTS
SEASON: 23GP - 3G - 8A - 11PTS

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. He’s sixth among forwards in points on his team, which is always a good sign.

Oskar Magnusson, C/RW
HockeyAllsvenskan
DEC: 8GP - 1G - 2A - 3PTS
SEASON: 28GP - 4G - 8A - 12PTS

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. Persson is a year younger than Magnusson, but Magnusson is only leading him by one point in five more games. Oskar is seventh forward on his team in points. So all in all, good, but you’d like to see more from him.

ECHL

Bear Hughes, C
DEC: 11GP - 5G - 9A - 14PTS
SEASON: 25GP - 12G - 16A - 28PTS

Hughes isn’t a Capitals prospect technically, he was drafted by the Caps, but was only signed to AHL/ECHL deal. He had another strong month and not only does he lead his team in points but he leads all U22 players in the ECHL in points. The Caps need to sign him ASAP because any NHL team can sign him to a NHL deal at any point.

Martin Hugo Has, RHD
DEC: 10GP - 0G - 2A - 2PTS
SEASON: 19GP - 1G - 2A - 3PTS

Hugo still hasn’t really put up the points but that shouldn’t be concerning. 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: 11GP - 2.24GAA - .927sv%

Stevenson is looking really good to start his professional career. His ECHL save percentage is sixth in the ECHL and fourth among U24 players. Even better, he got a stint in the AHL and played fantastic in the three games, posting a 1.96GAA and .924sv%. The Caps once again, are building a strong goalie pipeline.

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
DEC: 0GP
SEASON: 13GP - 2G - 6A - 8PTS

Pilon hasn’t played a game since 11/19, which is never a good sign. Hopefully he gets back out there soon because the Bears depth could use him.

Beck Malenstyn, LW/RW
DEC: 2GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 4GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS

Malenstyn returned from injury and was assigned to the Bears. He got to play two games before the flip of the calendar.

Bobby Nardella, LHD
DEC: 4GP - 1G - 1A - 2PTS
SEASON: 23GP - 3G - 10A - 13PTS

Nardella only got to play four games in December before getting hurt, which is a shame because he’s the Bears best offensive defensemen. Like Pilon, the Bears could really his his offensive ability.

Hendrix Lapierre, C
DEC: 13GP - 3G - 0A - 3PTS
SEASON: 32GP - 8G - 9A - 17PTS

Lapierre had a down December, but it really wasn’t his fault. The Bears got really hurt on the offensive end leaving them with little depth for Lapierre to play with. For example, the most recent game, Lapierre centered between Beck Malenstyn and Shane Gersich. It’s no offense to those guys but they are grinders, they aren’t known for their scoring ability on the professional level. Lapierre is still only getting third line minutes with second unit power play, which doesn’t help either. Lapierre was thriving when he had Ethan Frank on his line but he was put on the top line since all the injuries leaving Lapierre with little to work with.

Riley Sutter, C/RW
DEC: 12GP - 0G - 2A - 2PTS
SEASON: 32GP - 2G - 3A - 5PTS

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. But he still enamore the Bears with his hard work and willing to do anything to win with a big hit or shot block.

Lucas Johansen, LHD
DEC: 4GP - 0G - 0A - 0PTS
SEASON: 13GP - 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 on the baord. Most of all he needs to stay healthy, which he was for a bit but has missed handful of games due to an injury. He did get a call up to play with the Caps in December, which is always a good sign, meaning the coaches like him.

Vincent Iorio, RHD
DEC: 12GP - 0G - 3A - 3PTS
SEASON: 32GP - 1G - 9A - 10PTS

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. He wasn’t as strong as he was in December as he was in November, but not a lot of Bears were due to the team dealing with injuries.

Henrik Rybinski, C/RW
DEC: 7GP - 0G - 2A - 2PTS
SEASON: 23GP - 2G - 5A - 7PTS

Just as Rybinski was starting to get going he got hurt. He still out as of this writing. Hopefully he gets back in because the Bears depth could use his skill set.

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
SEASON: 11GP - 1.88GAA - .928sv%

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 1.83GAA and .932sv% in 23 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. He did get a call up when Darcy Kuemper went down but he never got to see play time because Charlie Lindgren was playing so well.

Zach Fucale, G
SEASON: 18GP - 2.50GAA - .900sv%

Fucale just isn’t having a great year and with the NHL duo playing so strong and Shephard taking the number one spot in Hershey, Fucale will need to really kill to keep his NHL hopes alive.

NHL

Alexander Alexeyev, LHD
DEC: 6GP - 0G - 1A - 1PTS
SEASON: 7GP - 0G - 1A - 1PTS

With all the injuries the Caps have been facing Alexeyev was able to finally get some consistent NHL playing time, but like last time, an injury took him out of the lineup after a dirty hit to the head. He returned to playing time before Martin Fehervary returned to the lineup. Either way it was good for him to see some NHL time.