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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 through the Alex Ovechkin period and have received a Stanley Cup.

Clearly, as a perennial Stanley Cup contender, the emphasis is on successful now, and sometimes on the expense of draft picks and different future issues. Washington has been prepared to commerce first-round picks as they’ve solely had three prior to now 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 through the years. 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 just lately 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 resolve to maneuver on from the Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom regime, there will likely be years of ache because the franchise must 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 ability and offensive upside to be a first-round decide, however as a result of he was restricted to simply 19 video games in his draft yr attributable to accidents. Specifically, accidents to the top.

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 yr was restricted, he posted 17 factors in these 19 video games. Following his draft, he was restricted once more to simply 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 begin the yr taking part in in six NHL video games and scoring his first profession NHL aim earlier than being returned to the Q.

It then got here as a shock to many when Staff 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 sport in his ultimate season.

The gifted playmaker has proven an evolution in his taking pictures and scoring sport, making him much less predictable and a dual-threat. An necessary 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 seemingly see extra taking part in time within the AHL as a rookie. His upside may see him fill a top-six position in a yr 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 yr as a professional, he was trending in the direction of cracking the Capitals roster as a rookie, however an damage sustained on the 2019 prospects showcase match price him a spot. He made his professional debut within the AHL posting a robust 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 sport in December.

The massive Russian performs a superb two-way sport, he’s bodily aggressive, has a superb shot, and is sweet at transferring the puck by way of good, misleading passes. His skating has been the knock on his sport, however it isn’t 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 kind of roster spots subsequent yr.

  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 successful the WHL Championship in his draft yr, he returned for one more 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 yr 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 dimension and ability. He could cap out in a middle-six position, however he brings a robust net-front presence and could be a handful within the crease on the ability 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 a superb 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 is just not a flashy offensive participant, however he’s subtly and persistently 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 a superb audition for the Canadian WJC roster on the choice camp however didn’t crack the ultimate roster. Lorio will make the bounce to professional following the Wheat Kings playoff run subsequent yr and can want a yr 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 an extended street to the NHL for the Virginia native. After 4 seasons within the NCAA with Harvard the place he was over some extent per sport participant, Snively signed his ELC as a free agent and completed the yr within the AHL. It was a strong professional debut with seven factors within the ultimate 9 video games. His rookie season got here through 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 yr.

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 more likely 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 sport. This has him beneath 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 aim in two video games.

Pilon tasks as a 3rd or fourth line, two-way participant that’s robust on attracts and is a high-volume shooter. With a robust coaching camp, he may power his means 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 through 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 workforce Captain, Hughes led the Chiefs in objectives, assists, and factors and received the Most Sportsmanlike Participant of the 12 months Award. At 20-years-old and having a breakout season within the WHL, it may be troublesome to discern if he’s a late bloomer or making the most of being older and greater than many of the opposition within the league.

Hughes has seen his sport enhance in his taking pictures quantity and proportion together with his 24-goal season. He has at all times performed with tempo and been harmful in near the web, however he has developed some scoring from vary means as nicely.

Hughes has signed his ATO for the steadiness of the AHL season however has not performed a sport. He stays unsigned by the Capitals thus far however is more likely 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 supply 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 dimension and a excessive compete stage. His mixture of skating ability and hockey sense permits him to be an efficient defender and forechecker in addition to a sound playmaker.

His robust overage season of 65 factors in 47 video games is encouraging, however once more will be troublesome to say if it’s a breakout efficiency, or simply an older participant taking part in nicely 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 sport. It will likely be an necessary season of improvement to see if he can turn out to be 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 yr 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 consequently, 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 instances and solely managed three factors via 23 video games performed. UND had a robust defensive core lead by Ottawa Senators prospects Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven consuming up all the large minutes.

As a sophomore, Johnson will likely be given a much bigger position and may see his sport enhance. Search for Johnson to play a much bigger position, play with extra confidence and show his misleading offensive type we noticed within the USHL. He’s a long-term undertaking and desires so as to add some power 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 at all times longshots at finest, and Magnusson is not any completely different. At 5-10, he lacks spectacular bodily prowess. His defensive sport is common, and his shot is predictable and never extremely correct.

What offers him an opportunity is his mobility. He’s not even a burner, however the mechanics behind his skating are robust and he’s very elusive on his ft. He reads the offensive zone very nicely and might distribute the puck successfully and discover open ice and time his arrival to the mushy ice at simply the suitable second.

His post-draft yr 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 nicely, however there’s nonetheless time for him to search out his sport and probably be an NHL participant.

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