August 32-in-32: Washington Capitals

Pat Quinn

2023-09-01

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Welcome to the August edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.

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The Capitals had a brutal 2022-23 season with injuries and missing the playoffs. The positives for the team were Ovechkin getting closer to Gretzky’s goal scoring record and picking new top prospect Ryan Leonard at #8 in the draft, the highest pick the team has had since 2007 when they selected Karl Alzner at #5.

Many prognosticators have the Capitals again missing the playoffs but as a solid squad there is a chance they can make the playoffs in the #3 Metro spot or as a wild card team. Washington is apparently still looking to move #1C Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha, but with so many teams at the cap ceiling it is more likely both players are on the roster to start the year.

A big positive for the Capitals system was the Hershey Bears winning the Calder Cup. The AHL playoffs are a great development setting for many prospects on the team looking to fully make the jump to the NHL. The Bears again are a very strong team, and added countless players this off season, so they have a great chance to be back to back champions.

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Graduates

Joe Snively, LW

Snively is one of the players from the Bears’ recently Calder Cup championship roster that is waiver eligible. If he does not make the Capitals he will either be on a new team or in the AHL again

Beck Malenstyn, C/LW

Another Bears player, but one that missed a lot of time in the first half of the season. He has been in the Capitals system forever and is also waiver eligible. He will likely be in the AHL for 2023-24 but if a team needs a bottom six forward he could be claimed. Darkhorse to make Washington’s bottom line

Lucas Johansen, D

The third and final Hershey player to be waiver eligible, but his contract is also one-way this season and he has requested to be moved in the past. He is likely still on the block so he could be moved as the Capitals have seven defensemen currently listed on the roster

Alexander Alexeyev, D

Not placed on waivers in 2022-23 as the Capitals did not want to lose him, he at least got in 32 games, a majority of which happened when the Capitals were out of the playoffs. Alexeyev has a roster spot for 2023-24 but will need to battle to stay in the lineup nightly

Mitchell Gibson, G

Gibson’s career in the NCAA came to an end with Harvard. He posted seasons with save percentages of 0.916, 0.918 and 0.919. Gibson will not battle with Bjorklund for ECHL starting time as Stevenson and Shepard are likely to see the bulk of the starts in the AHL and Washington has the approach to goalie development when the ECHL is usually the first stop

Clay Stevenson, G

Spent a majority of 2022-23 starting for the ECHL Sting Rays, posting a 0.916 regular season sv% and a 0.926 playoff sv%, while also impressing in three AHL games. He looks to be clear of playing in the ECHL and should be a 1B starter in the AHL.

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KHL to North America

Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW

Bogdan Trineyev, RW

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Risers

Hunter Shepard, G

Sure, he is 27 (28 in November) and despite being overlooked, he has been solid everywhere he has played. He led the Bears to a Calder Cup championship winning MVP for the playoffs. It is unfortunate that Kuemper and Lindgren are signed long-term, but thankfully both have injury history that could give Shepard the window he could use to make an NHL impression

Ethen Frank, RW

For the reasons listed above he could be a sneaky depth add that could rise above expectations in keeper leagues

Vincent Iorio, D

Greatly impressed in 2022-23 with the Bears and became a top four defenseman for the Bears. He also was able to play in three NHL games. While he may not run a powerplay he could be a solid contributor down the line

Alexander Suzdalev, LW

The WHL rookie finished second in scoring to Connor Bedard and greatly impressed in the league. The third-round selection appears to be quite the find, if he can continue his production without Bedard in Regina or in the WHL if he gets traded

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A bump in development for all Capitals prospects that were along the ride for the Calder Cup: McMichael, Lapierre, Protas, Snively, Malenstyn, Frank, Iorio, Shepard, and Johansen

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No Contract to NHL Contract Risers

Pierrick Dubé, RW

Was one of the best players for the Laval Rocket in 2022-23, finishing fifth in points per game with a minimum of 30 games. An impressive year for the Bears and the 22-year-old could propel himself up the prospect charts

Ethen Frank, RW

Finishing first in rookie goals, shots per game (3.26), and setting the AHL fastest skater record, in 2022-23. Another impressive season could see the 25-year-old called up to the main roster or making it in 2024-25

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Fallers

Lucas Johansen, D

Has never been able to really make the Capitals and has been passed by other players, more so to do with injuries than anything

Garin Bjorklund, G

Missed all but one game in 2022-23 due to back surgery. Hopefully he can rebound in the ECHL

Henrik Rybinsky, RW

Signed as a free agent out of the WHL the skilled forward really fell flat in 2022-23, and did not even get in a playoff game. Hershey is loaded with players for the upcoming season, so Rybinsky will have to really work to stay in the AHL

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Prospect Depth Chart

A combination of NHL readiness and upside

LW C RW
Ivan Miroshnichenko Connor McMichael Ryan Leonard
Joe Snively Alexei Protas Matthew Phillips
Andrew Cristall Hendrix Lapierre Ethen Frank
Alexander Suzdalev Ryan Hofer Pierrick Dubé
Beck Malenstyn Bogdan Trineyev
Ludwig Persson Oskar Magnusson
Henrik Rybinski Riley Sutter
LHD RHD
Alexander Alexeyev Vincent Iorio
Hardy Häman Aktell Ryan Chesley
Lucas Johansen Cameron Allen
Joaquin Lemay Brent Johnson
Tobias Geisser Chase Priskie
Goalie
Hunter Shepard
Clay Stevenson
Mitchell Gibson
Garin Bjorklund

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Top 20 Fantasy Prospects

This section is intended to paint a picture of the Washinton Capitals prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact at the time that they reach the NHL. Arrival date and NHL certainty have been taken into consideration. However, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list

  1. Ryan Leonard
  2. Connor McMichael
  3. Ivan Miroshnichenko
  4. Hendrix Lapierre
  5. Andrew Cristall
  6. Alexei Protas
  7. Alexander Suzdalev
  8. Pierrick Dubé
  9. Clay Stevenson
  10. Matthew Phillips
  11. Vincent Iorio
  12. Ryan Chesley
  13. Ethen Frank
  14. Joe Snively
  15. Mitchell Gibson
  16. Alexander Alexeyev
  17. Hunter Shepard
  18. Hardy Häman Aktell
  19. Garin Bjorklund
  20. Bogdan Trineyev

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Thanks for reading, follow me on twitter: @FHPQuinn

Pat Quinn

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

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