Welcome back to my top ten prospects series.
Last time, we took a look at the Vegas Golden Knights farm system, highlighted by some talented prospects such as Cody Glass, Nic Hague, and Lucas Elvenes. Today, we are going to continue with the series and take a deep dive into the Washington Capitals’ farm system. Without further ado, let’s take a look and see who the nation’s capital has to offer.
1. Ilya Samsonov (G, 1st Round, 22nd Overall in 2015)
Goalies being taken in the first round is a pretty rare occurrence. Goalies are harder to judge than forwards or defensemen, so you’ll normally find them taken in the second round or later. (The New York Islanders found this out the hard way in 2000..Rick DiPietro anyone?). Anyways, there are some cases when a goalie is first round worthy, and Samsonov was one of them. After three dominant seasons in Russia, Samsonov is in his first season in North America where he sports a 14-11-1 record with a 2.84 goals against average and a .892 save percentage with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. With star net-minder Braden Holtby in the crease, it’s unknown when Samsonov will get his shot in the NHL, but with skill like he has it’s going to come one way or another.
2. Alexander Alexeyev (D, 1st Round, 31st Overall in 2018)
The 2017-18 season was a good one all around for the Washington Capitals. The obvious reason is the fact that they won the Stanley Cup. On top of that, they picked up a pretty solid prospect at 31st overall in Alexander Alexeyev. There isn’t much to dislike about this guy. He has good size at 6’4 and 201lbs, he’s solid defensively and he’s having a great season offensively with the Red Deer Rebels, with 40 points in 44 games thus far. It’s looking much like he could develop into a solid top four guy for the Capitals in the future.
3. Lucas Johansen (D, 1st Round, 28th Overall in 2016)
In his second year of AHL hockey, Lucas Johansen is developing slowly but surely. The brother of Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen has 10 points in 26 games with the Hershey Bears and is adjusting well to pro hockey. While it might be a few years before we see the Port Moody native in the NHL, he’s shaping up to be a good one for the Capitals.
4. Connor Hobbs (D, 5th Round, 143th Overall in 2015)
Hobbs finished off his final WHL season two years ago with incredible final totals at 85 points in 67 games. Like Johansen, Hobbs is currently in his second pro season and is having a good sophomore campaign with 18 points in 43 games. He will more than likely see another year or two in the AHL before the Capitals give him a look but he will easily find his way on the main roster sooner or later.
5. Riley Barber (RW, 6th Round, 167th Overall in 2012)
With a plethora of offensive talent on the main roster such as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie among others, there’s nothing alarming about the fact that most of the Caps’ top prospects are defensemen. Granted, they still have Riley Barber sitting at #5 who could make the Capitals roster full-time as soon as next year. He’s more than paid his dues in the minors and seeing that he’s currently in the midst of a career season with 47 points in 49 games, he will get his shot eventually.
6. Chase Priskie (D, 6th Round, 177th Overall in 2016)
The Capitals are loaded with back-end prospects, but Priskie is proving to be a bit of a dark horse among the obvious names like Johansen and Alexeyev. The Florida native is currently in his fourth season with Quinnipiac University of the NCAA and is having a phenomenal season offensively with 39 points in 32 games thus far. If he keeps up this pace, it’s extremely likely the Capitals could offer him a contract and bring him into the organization for next season.
7. Riley Sutter (RW, 3rd Round, 98th Overall in 2018)
It’s safe to say that the Sutter family name is a popular one around the NHL. Upon looking at Sutter’s eliteprospects.com page, 12 of his family members are featured on his profile. No joke. Anyways, the Calgary native is currently playing for the Everett Silvertips and has 41 points in 38 games. He plays an elite power-forward style of game and will certainly be given a close look as he nears the end of his junior career.
8. Kody Clark (RW, 2nd Round, 47th Overall in 2018)
Clark will be garnering some extra attention as he moves towards the pros, considering he’s the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs legend Wendel Clark. The 6’2 King City native is currently with the Ottawa 67s of the OHL and has 41 points in 50 games thus far.
9. Garrett Pilon (C, 3rd Round, 87th Overall in 2016)
Pilon never really lit the lamp in his junior career but he was always a strong offensive player, finishing most of his seasons at or just above a point per game pace. The Mineola, New York native is currently in his first pro season with the Hershey Bears and has 23 points in 55 games thus far.
10. Shane Gersich (C, 5th Round, 134th Overall in 2014)
Gersich is the perfect example of a player who will have a long development but could very well become a solid depth centre for the Capitals eventually. He played out his college career with the University of North Dakota until last year and actually saw three games of NHL time, putting up one assist. He’s currently with the Hershey Bears and has 18 points in 45 games.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time where we’ll close out the series by checking out the Winnipeg Jets’ farm system.
stats from eliteprospects.com and theAHL.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler