Boyd Gordon and DJ King are the only players on the Caps’ roster who have won the Memorial Cup
On Friday, the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament will get underway at the Hershey (what?!) Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. It’ll feature three of what Hockey’s Future deems as the Capitals top 20 prospects including 2009 third round pick Cody Eakin (#5), 2010 third round pick Stanislav Galiev (#6) and 2009 fifth round pick Brett Flemming (#17). Last year, current Caps goalie prospect Philipp Grubauer – who at that point had not been drafted by the team yet – helped lead the Windsor Spitfires to their second straight Memorial Cup title. Many current NHL stars have won the prestigious junior tournament including Brian Campbell, Derek Roy, Cam Ward, Brad Richards, Shane Doan, Shea Weber, Dan Girardi, Milan Lucic and Mike Richards.
Let’s learn more about the three talented Caps prospects participating, shall we?
Cody Eakin, Kootenay Ice, WHL Champions
Eakin is sitting in the row below the cup, 2 players over to the right. Click to enlarge. (Photo credit: Kootenay Ice)
When Swift Current Broncos GM/head coach Mark Lamb traded Cody Eakin away for five players and three draft picks on the WHL’s deadline day, he exclaimed that “Eakin [was] the best player to come to this team since Joe Sakic.” He certainly lived up to his billing as one of the WHL’s premier offensive players, notching 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 19 playoff games for the eventual 2011 WHL Champion Kootenay Ice. The Winnipeg native also finished second overall in playoff scoring and shared the team-lead with Matt Fraser for the most game-winning goals. Eakin, whose 1.42 points per game average during the playoffs dipped slightly from his 1.48 PPG pace in the regular season (83 points in 56 games), looks to deliver Cranbrook its first Memorial Cup since the 2001-02 season. The Ice had the WHL’s best playoffs record this season going 16-3, sweeping opponents in two of four series. Next year, Eakin will join the Capitals organization and he’s certainly one of the players we can count on in terms of cracking the NHL line-up sooner rather than later.
Stanislav Galiev, St. John Sea Dogs, QMJHL Champions
Galiev is seated on the ice all the way in the front. Click to enlarge. (Photo credit: QMJHL)
Stanislav Galiev racked up 27 points in the playoffs and was among the QMJHL’s highest scorers. He led the league in shots and improved his scoring from 1.02 points per game scoring average in the regular season (37 goals, 28 assists) to 1.42 points per game during the playoffs (10 goals, 17 assists). Galiev’s a top line winger for the Sea Dogs, playing with two draft-eligible prospects: top-10 lock Jonathan Huberdeau and Zack Phillips. Phillips, who’s projected to fall to a team in the bottom-10 of the first round, is a guy who could potentially be on the Caps radar during the upcoming NHL Draft. Especially when considering Washington’s dearth of quality prospects at wing. The Sea Dogs, like the Ice, also went a remarkable 16-3 in the playoffs, capturing their first-ever league championship.
Brett Flemming, Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, D
Photo credit: OHL
Brett Flemming and the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors made the Memorial Cup as the host team this year. In the previous seven years of the tournament, only once did the host city not make it to the finals. This is the “Modern” Majors (re-founded in 1996) first time participating in the tournament, and Dave Cameron’s team is determined to not let someone else win the championship in their hometown. Flemming, who was signed by the Caps to an entry level deal earlier this season, is one of the key puck-moving defensemen for the Mississauga. After notching 43 points (four goals, 39 assists) in 68 regular season games, Flemming continued his strong play in the playoffs, tallying one goal and 12 assists. He was also a club record plus-60 during the 2010-11 regular season.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland