The Washington Capitals are currently in Stanley Cup contention mode as they have made little to no roster moves throughout this off season. It appears the Capitals are keeping in mind the future of the organization by not moving many of their young prospects for rentals. With as many as six contracts potentially coming off the books Washington could have a large roster turnover next season necessitating the need to get some young players NHL playing time. The Capitals farm system seems ready to have as many as three to seven players become full time NHL players in 2017-2018.
Deep on defense, notably six high percentage potential NHLers
Large number of forward prospects knocking at the NHL door
Depth on the wings
Lack of depth on the Right Wing
No true centre top flight prospect
Notable drop off after top two goalie prospects
Sanford – Would not have been on this list had he decided to go back to Boston College. One of a handful of players singled out by Capital’s General Manager, Brian MacLellan, during prospect camp as having a chance to play in the NHL this season, but will likely play a majority of the year in the AHL.
Barber and Boyd – In the below video/link both players were told they had as good a chance as any to make the NHL squad out of training camp especially Barber. Watch their short interviews at 4:03 (Barber) and 3:15 (Boyd) to listen to how high Trotz and the coaching staff view them. Also watch it for additional Capitals rookie coverage.
Hobbs – The fifth round selection in 2015 had a break out year in the WHL playing for the Regina Pats posting 41 points in 58 games, with 19 of them goals and added an additional 106 penalty minutes for good measure. In 12 playoff games he was also able to put up 10 points, placing fourth overall in points for the team in both the regular season and playoffs. He is one to keep an eye on, and one this scout needs to pay more attention too.
DiPauli – Did not sign with the Capitals after a disappointing final year in college. Signed with the Penguins but likely has a better chance to make the NHL on that squad as they have less depth in their prospect ranks.
Siegenthaler – He is a player who will be better in real hockey than fantasy hockey. Has never put up more than eight points in any season, but if there is a chance for him to show some offense the 2016-2017 season in Hershey could provide good opportunity.
Galiev – One of those prospects where the team does not want to send him down as they will likely lose him to waivers but cannot give him a chance to play regularly in the NHL. He needs playing time to develop into an NHLer, and he has upside (I still believe), but all the Capitals did in the off season was sign Brett Connolly and tell rookies they have a chance to play in the NHL on the open third line spot. That third line spot of course would have been his but I believe the combination of the Connolly signing, and open rookie spot, means that Galiev likely will not be in a Capitals uniform much longer, unless he has an amazing Bochenski-like training camp and exhibition stats.
Gersich – In his first year of higher play at the University of North Dakota, Gersich posted a low 11 points in 37 games. He had just come off of a strong final season in the USHL, but perhaps found the higher level overwhelming to start. Likely requires more strength to compete in higher leagues, has the skills and speed needs to learn to play with stronger and smarter competition.
Top positions: F, D, G
Vrana – Highly skilled scoring winger, do not sleep on him. If he is given top six ice time, and learns to be better in his own end, he could potentially be a perennial 30 goal scorer with a couple years of 40.
Bowey – Smart, skilled, and tough two-way defenseman, will be playing in the Capitals top four before anyone realizes.
Samsonov – Top flight goalie prospect, only problem with him is waiting for him to come over. After he is finished his KHL commitment will likely play a full season or two in the AHL and could supplant Holtby as the teams #1 Goalie by the time he is NHL ready.
#1 Jakub Vrana
#2 Madison Bowey
#3 Riley Barber
#4 Ilya Samsonov
#5 Zach Sanford
#6 Travis Boyd
#7 Lucas Johansen
#8 Vitek Vanecek
#9 Chandler Stephenson
#10 Christian Djoos
#1 Andre Burakovsky
#2 Jakub Vrana
#3 Philipp Grubauer
#4 Madison Bowey
#5 Riley Barber
#6 Ilya Samsonov
#7 Vitek Vanenek
#8 Nate Schmidt
#9 Zach Sanford
#10 Travis Boyd
Thanks for reading,
Pat Quinn. I am on the internets with a twitter machine ( @FHPQuinn )
Check out last month's 30 in 30: http://www.dobberprospects.com/30-in-30-washington-capitals/