30 in 30 Washington Capitals

Pat Quinn



This is the last big year for the Capitals to compete for the Stanley Cup with many players on their roster either UFAs or RFAs once season ends. They were not far from their goal as they ran into a hot Penguins team that ultimately won in the end. The 2016 draft, and subsequent free agency, for the Capitals was one of minor tweaks and getting all of their ducks (or eagles if you will) in a row.


2016 Draft Recap

#28 – Round 1 – Lucas Johansen – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Heading back to Kelowna of the WHL where they drafted top defensive prospect Madison Bowey in 2013, Washington drafted stand out defenseman Lucas Johansen who is the Brother to Nashville Predators’ centre Ryan Johansen​. Johansen was the first defenseman drafted in the top 50 by Washington since John Carlson in 2008. Johansen is a strong, fluid skater who reads the play very well in his own end, makes a great first pass, and can run a powerplay as his shot is strong and accurate.

He exploded this year for Kelowna posting 49 points, 10 of those goals, in 69 games which is a large improvement on the eight points in 65 games he put up in 2014-2015. With the Capitals plethora of players on the defensive end expect them to give Johasen all the time that is needed to develop properly. Expect him to follow the same path as Madison Bowey towards the NHL as of right now.


#87 – Round 3 – Garrett Pilon – Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

The Capitals traded down in the 2016 first round draft and subsequently ended up with pick number 87 from the Blues, a number most Capitals fans despise, and drafted 5’10 center Garrett Pilon from Kamloops. Not an overly large player the son of former NHL enforcer Rich Pilon is a skilled centre who was pretty buried on a deep Blazers team but fought and won more ice time as the playoffs rolled around.

He played a lot of the powerplay on the point collecting the second most powerplay assists on the team with 14. Pilon needs to bulk up as he develops and begin to become more of a leader to the team, but the scouts do not deny his great shot and hockey IQ.


#117 – Round 4 – Damien Riat – Geneve Servette [Swiss-A]

Damien Riat is a player who has moved around a lot to start his career. First he played two years at Notre Dame private school in Saskatchewan, then moved to Sweden for two more years of hockey, and then ended up returning to Switzerland to play in their National League A. He put up 21 points in 45 games for the Geneve Servette, tying him for for sixth on the team in goals, eighth in points, and ninth in assists.

Riat has a long way to go before he can make an impact but the Capitals must have felt the six-foot winger has enough skill to take a chance on him this late.


#145 – Round 5 – Beck Malenstyn – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

The Capitals love for the WHL continued as they picked power winger Beck Malenstyn from the Hitmen. While Malenstyn will not wow you with skill, he is the type of player all teams covet due to his coachability, size, toughness, battle level, and ability to make room for other players on the ice.

Capitals assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney referred to Malenstyn as more of a complimentary player who is “power forward [who is] strong in the corner [and] strong on the puck”. Long term he is likely a bottom six large winger who can make a few appearances in the top six if a coach feels he needs a larger presence there.


#147 – Round 5 – Axel Jonsson-Fjallby – Djurgarden (Sweden Jrs.)

Personally Axel Jonsson-Fjallby was a favourite pick of mine, not just due to his amazing name, but I felt he was underrated and a team should have taken him in the second round, or early in the third. Jonsson-Fjallby is a player that will agitate and annoy the other team defensively while being able to turn the puck over and create a scoring play the other way using his speed to skate back up the ice. He finished his Sweden Junior season with 29 points in 39 games, an alright total, and came to the 2016 U18’s and posted four points in the seven games they played, and was noticeable during those games.

Jonsson-Fjallby grew his game as his season progressed increasing both his shots and points per game. He is the type of player that has a strong sense of the play and a passion that rarely is matched. In a few season I would not be surprised if he managed to make himself one of the better prospects coming over from Sweden.


#177 – Round 6 – Chase Priskie – Quinnipiac University (ECAC)

The Capitals headed to college for this offensive defenseman standout who racked up 26 points in 43 games last season. At 20 years old he was an older player in the draft but the Capitals saw fit to take him here and hope for the best, as he was a player their scouts liked for his skills and smarts.


#207 – Round 7 – Dmitri Zaitsev – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (NAHL)

With their last pick in the draft the Capitals again went to college this time for a six-foot Russian prospect. Zaitsev let the Knights defense in goals, assists, and points and represented Russia at the 2016 U18 championship posting one assist in five games. Generally drafting seventh round picks rarely pays off in fantasy hockey, but to me Russians are always a different case as they could fall in the draft, not for lack of skill, but because teams think they will stay in Russia and never come over. As long as the Capitals have the most popular Russian player that should not be the case as most young Russian players want to play with Ovechkin.





Brett Connolly

Connolly was an interesting signing by the Capitals as the former sixth overall pick was not qualified by the Bruins. In this writers opinion it is not the best landing spot for him fantasy wise as he will be in tough competition to start, and stay consistently, on the open third line spot alongside Marcus Johansson and Lars Eller. He will also be in competition for that spot with Washington’s top prospect Jakub Vrana, as well as promising players Chandler Stephenson, Riley Barber, Zach Sanford, and Travis Boyd. However, if he manages to sneak into the top six, or really click with any of the lines, and finally bring out the potential saw in him when the Lightning drafted him, he could be a great signing.


{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MacLellan said Connolly is going to have &quot;to earn it.&quot; Can see him on a third or fourth line.</p>&mdash; Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) <a href="https://twitter.com/ikhurshudyan/status/749258096078385153">July 2, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>​{/source}

Joe Cannata

Joe Cannata has been signed on as the Capitals number three goaltender who will compete with, and be a veteran presence to, Vitek Vanecek in Hershey for the upcoming season. He will likely be the next in line to get called up to the NHL and backup if an injury occurs to one of Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer.

Cannata is a 26 year old goalie who played last season with the Vancouver Canucks farm team the Utica Comets. He posted a 20-13-6 record with a 2.52 goals against average and a 0.909 save percentage in 40 starts for the Comets.




Development Camp Notes

The Capitals started their development camp the Tuesday after the NHL 2016 draft, and ran it until that Saturday.

Notable absentees (due to injury or the Capitals holding them out for rest) were: Jakub Vrana, Chandler Stephenson, Vitek Vanecek, Thomas DiPauli, and Blake Heinrich.

It was Travis Boyd’s sixth (!!!!!!!) development camp

Madison Bowey, Riley Barber, and Boyd were the veteran standouts which was to be expected, and this will likely be the last time they are featured there.

All eyes were on Johansen and he did not disappoint all week with his maturity, smarts, skating, and transition play on display

Capitals fifth round pick from 2015, Connor Hobbs, played very well scoring and setting up plays offensively likely raising his stock in the organization. He will return to the Regina Pats for the upcoming season where he looks to improve on the 41 points he scored this prior season.

College signee Adam Carlson, and top prospect Ilya Samsonov, stood out as both goalies made countless spectacular saves during scrimmages really bringing the crowd to life. The Capitals signed the college FA to a to a two-year entry-level contract in March 2016.


Samsonov facing THE SCREEN:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn gives Ilya Samsonov his first experience with a goalie screen. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CapitalsTalk?src=hash">#CapitalsTalk</a> <a href="https://t.co/sIbgw6Emqi">pic.twitter.com/sIbgw6Emqi</a></p>&mdash; Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyNHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckGormleyNHL/status/748178658548977664">June 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>​{/source}

Video of day two of development camp:



Mitch Korn at Capitals development camp (with a special guest reference to Dobber favourite Justin Goldman):





Notable Inclusions

Interview with GM Brian MacLellan about his thoughts on the off season so far (early July):


Great story on Ilya Samonov and how the Capitals help the young Russian learn North America by Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post:



Thanks for reading,

Pat Quinn (No not that one)


Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Garin Bjorklund 5.5 5.5
Hunter Shepard 8.0 4.0
Mitchell Gibson 7.0 5.5
Clay Stevenson 8.0 7.0
Stepan Gorbunov 4.0 4.5
Matvei Shuravin 5.0 6.5
Justin Poirier 8.0 6.0
Noel Fransen 7.0 5.0
Alexander Daryin 5.0 2.0
Carson Bantle 4.0 3.5