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2021-22 Prime 10 Washington Capitals Prospects

The Washington Capitals have one of many weakest prospect swimming pools within the NHL, and that’s okay. They’ve had large regular-season success for over a decade in the course of the Alex Ovechkin period and have received a Stanley Cup.

Clearly, as a perennial Stanley Cup contender, the emphasis is on profitable now, and sometimes on the expense of draft picks and different future concerns. Washington has been prepared to commerce first-round picks as they’ve solely had three previously 5 drafts and haven’t chosen decrease than 21st total since 2014.

Together with having fewer and later draft picks, the Capitals haven’t had loads of success in drafting and creating over time. Previously 11 years, they’ve solely seven draft picks which have performed over 250 video games within the NHL, and just one (Tom Wilson) stays with the group.

The Capitals do have prospects who’ve not too long ago graduated to the NHL in Connor McMichael, Brett Leason, and Martin Fehervary which depletes their pipeline to arguably the worst within the NHL.

When the Capitals determine to maneuver on from the Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom regime, there might be years of ache because the franchise should construct it again up from the bottom up via the draft.

  1. Hendrix Lapierre, C – Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-0/185
Drafted: 2020 spherical one, 22nd total by Washington Capitals

Drafting Lapierre within the first spherical was a little bit of a gable and a swing for the fences. Not as a result of he lacks the talent and offensive upside to be a first-round choose, however as a result of he was restricted to only 19 video games in his draft 12 months attributable to accidents. Particularly, accidents to the pinnacle.

Lapierre kicked down the entrance door as a rookie within the QMJHL posting 45 factors in 48 video games in his D-1 season to get some early buzz. Whereas his draft 12 months was restricted, he posted 17 factors in these 19 video games. Following his draft, he was restricted once more to only 21 video games and posted 31 factors, however that was attributable to COVID.

The additional day without work could have simply been what the Dr. ordered to permit his head accidents to heal correctly. Lapierre made the Capitals roster to start out the 12 months taking part in in six NHL video games and scoring his first profession NHL objective earlier than being returned to the Q.

It then got here as a shock to many when Group Canada handed over Lapierre for the 2022 WJC. Since that snub, he has been torching the QMJHL to the tune of 21 objectives and 30 factors via 37 video games and is on tempo for 1.38 factors per recreation in his closing season.

The gifted playmaker has proven an evolution in his taking pictures and scoring recreation, making him much less predictable and a dual-threat. An vital improvement for his transition to professional hockey. Lapierre will play his first professional season, however with few expiring contracts coming off the books he’ll probably see extra taking part in time within the AHL as a rookie. His upside might see him fill a top-six position in a 12 months or two as he has little competitors coming from behind for now.

  1. Alexander Alexeyev, LD – Hershey Bears (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-4/214
Drafted: 2018 spherical one, 31st total by Washington Capitals

The massive left-shot Russian has been in North America for years now as a product of the Purple Deer Rebels within the WHL. His junior profession was spectacular with 101 factors in 135 profession video games. He dominated within the 2019 WJC with Russia scoring six factors in seven video games to assist Russia win the Bronze.

In his first 12 months as a professional, he was trending in direction of cracking the Capitals roster as a rookie, however an damage sustained on the 2019 prospects showcase event price him a spot. He made his professional debut within the AHL posting a powerful 21 factors in 58 video games. The pandemic had him return to Russia on mortgage to Salavat within the KHL and he was good there scoring 16 factors in 58 video games earlier than ending the season in Hershey. Alexeyev has performed this season again within the AHL with Hershey, and whereas his offensive totals are barely down, on tempo for 19 factors in 64 video games, he was recalled for his first profession NHL recreation in December.

The massive Russian performs two-way recreation, he’s bodily aggressive, has shot, and is sweet at transferring the puck by way of sensible, misleading passes. His skating has been the knock on his recreation, however it’s not sufficient of a priority to maintain him out of the NHL. With Justin Shultz, Michal Kempny, and Matt Irwin all on expiring contracts, Alexeyev is the possible reply to a type of roster spots subsequent 12 months.

  1. Alexi Protas, C – Hershey Bears (AHL)

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 6-6/225
Drafted: 2019 spherical three, 91st total by Washington Capitals

The massive Belarussian has been rising up the ranks with the Capitals since his draft in 2019. After profitable the WHL Championship in his draft 12 months, he returned for an additional season of junior in 2020 the place he had an offensive breakout to the tune of 80 factors in 58 video games earlier than the pandemic struck.

The next season he started play within the KHL with Dinamo Minsk on mortgage, and in his professional debut, had 10 objectives and 18 factors in 58 video games earlier than returning to North America when play resumed. Protas performed in six AHL video games earlier than ending the 12 months with Belarus within the WC. Protas started this season full time in North America and hit he floor operating scoring 5 factors in 9 video games to earn an NHL recall. In 33 video games in Washington, Protas posted 9 factors and has since been returned to the AHL.

Protas has good measurement and talent. He could cap out in a middle-six position, however he brings a powerful net-front presence and generally is a handful within the crease on the facility play.

  1. Vincent Lorio, RD – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-3/201
Drafted: 2021 spherical two, 55th total by Washington Capitals

After having draft season within the pandemic shortened season within the WHL with 12 factors in 22 video games with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Lorio has had a breakout D+1 season. The B.C. native had 11 objectives and 44 factors in 60 regular-season video games.

Lorio will not be a flashy offensive participant, however he’s subtly and constantly efficient. He makes fast passes, finds open passing and taking pictures lanes and creates house and alternative with good deception of his intentions with look-offs and fakes.

Lorio had audition for the Canadian WJC roster on the choice camp however didn’t crack the ultimate roster. Lorio will make the leap to professional following the Wheat Kings playoff run subsequent 12 months and can want a 12 months or two of improvement within the AHL earlier than he will be thought-about a contender for the NHL roster.

  1. Joe Snively, LW – Hershey Bears (AHL)

Age: 26
Ht/Wt: 5-9/181
Drafted: Free Agent signed 2019 by Washington Capitals

It has been a protracted highway to the NHL for the Virginia native. After 4 seasons within the NCAA with Harvard the place he was over some extent per recreation participant, Snively signed his ELC as a free agent and completed the 12 months within the AHL. It was a stable professional debut with seven factors within the closing 9 video games. His rookie season got here in the course of the pandemic shortened season and he scored 17 factors in 30 video games for the Bears.

The caps re-signed Snively to a one-year extension for the 2021 season and have been impressed sufficient after its conclusion to re-up him to a different contract extension, this time for a two-year time period. Snively has continued to develop and acquire confidence in himself and from the group, incomes a recall for his NHL debut this 12 months.

Taking part in in 12 video games with the Capitals, Snively notched 4 objectives and 7 factors. He has eclipsed the point-per-game tempo within the AHL with 38 factors via 35 video games and has established himself as a legit NHL choice. His long-term ceiling at 26-years-old appears prone to high out as a third- or fourth-line participant, however for discovered cash as a free agent, that’s fairly good.

  1. Garrett Pilon, C – Hershey Bears (AHL

Age: 24
Ht/Wt: 5-11/187
Drafted: 2016 spherical three, 87th total by Washington Capitals

Washington’s third-round choice from the 2016 draft has been slowly and quietly creating within the Caps system for what appears an eternity. Nonetheless solely 24-years-old, he’s nonetheless a prospect. Pilon has misplaced waiver exemption, so now’s the time for him to maneuver as much as the NHL roster full time.

Pilon was an everyday on the taxi squad for the 2020-21 season taking part in in simply 14 AHL video games and one NHL recreation. This has him underneath the radar coming into this season the place he performed the lions share in Hershey posting 42 factors in 60 video games. He did get a glimpse of the NHL scoring his first profession NHL objective in two video games.

Pilon initiatives as a 3rd or fourth line, two-way participant that’s sturdy on attracts and is a high-volume shooter. With a powerful coaching camp, he might power his method into the lineup.

  1. Bear Hughes, C – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-2/172
Drafted: 2020 spherical 5, 148th total by Washington Capitals

After a disappointing season within the USHL in the course of the COVID season of 2020-21, Hughes had a pleasant rebound season within the WHL with 67 factors in 64 video games again with Spokane. As crew Captain, Hughes led the Chiefs in objectives, assists, and factors and received the Most Sportsmanlike Participant of the Yr Award. At 20-years-old and having a breakout season within the WHL, it may be tough to discern if he’s a late bloomer or profiting from being older and greater than many of the opposition within the league.

Hughes has seen his recreation enhance in his taking pictures quantity and share along with his 24-goal season. He has all the time performed with tempo and been harmful in near the online, however he has developed some scoring from vary means as effectively.

Hughes has signed his ATO for the stability of the AHL season however has not performed a recreation. He stays unsigned by the Capitals to this point however is prone to be signed to his ELC for the beginning of the 2022-23 season the place he’ll play his rookie season with the Bears.

  1. Henry Rybinski, C/W – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Age: 20
Ht/Wt: 6-1/172
Drafted: 2019 spherical 5, 136th total by Florida Panthers

Initially a Florida Panthers draft choice, Rybinski went unsigned and have become a free agent. He attended the Edmonton Oilers rookie camp as an invitee then returned to the WHL for his overage fifth season and was spectacular sufficient to earn a contract provide from the Capitals.

Rybinski is a tenacious forechecking ahead. He excels at breaking down oppositions rushes, creating turnovers, and transitional hockey. He’s an above-average skater, with common professional measurement and a excessive compete stage. His mixture of skating talent and hockey sense permits him to be an efficient defender and forechecker in addition to a sound playmaker.

His sturdy overage season of 65 factors in 47 video games is encouraging, however once more will be tough to say if it’s a breakout efficiency, or simply an older participant taking part in effectively in a top-six position in a youthful league. Rybinski will play within the AHL within the upcoming season as a rookie the place he’ll attempt to adapt to the professional recreation. Will probably be an vital season of improvement to see if he can change into a dependable third-line checking ahead within the NHL in time.

  1. Brent Johnson, RD – College of North Dakota (NCAA)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 5-11/170
Drafted: 2021 spherical three, 80th total by Washington Capitals

Johnson had a breakout draft 12 months within the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede posting 11 objectives and 32 factors in 47 video games as a rookie. His play had him rank between the second and third spherical so the Capitals discovered good worth in deciding on him 80th total.

After his draft, Johnson had offseason shoulder surgical procedure and because of this, misplaced a important summer time of coaching and improvement. His freshman season with the Preventing Hawks was a wrestle, he was a wholesome scratch at occasions and solely managed three factors via 23 video games performed. UND had a powerful defensive core lead by Ottawa Senators prospects Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven consuming up all the massive minutes.

As a sophomore, Johnson might be given an even bigger position and will see his recreation enhance. Search for Johnson to play an even bigger position, play with extra confidence and show his misleading offensive model we noticed within the USHL. He’s a long-term venture and desires so as to add some energy and physicality whereas in school to be an efficient professional participant.

  1. Oskar Magnusson, C/RW – AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)

Age: 20
H/Wt: 5-10/165
Drafted: 2020 spherical seven, 211th total by Washington Capitals

Gamers drafted within the seventh spherical are all the time longshots at finest, and Magnusson isn’t any completely different. At 5-10, he lacks spectacular bodily prowess. His defensive recreation is common, and his shot is predictable and never extremely correct.

What offers him an opportunity is his mobility. He isn’t even a burner, however the mechanics behind his skating are sturdy and he’s very elusive on his ft. He reads the offensive zone very effectively and may distribute the puck successfully and discover open ice and time his arrival to the tender ice at simply the best second.

His post-draft 12 months offensively on mortgage in HockeyEttan was underwhelming. He performed this previous season in Allsvenskan and solely produced 11 factors via 41 video games. As a 20-year-old this doesn’t bode effectively, however there may be nonetheless time for him to seek out his recreation and probably be an NHL participant.

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