andre-burakovsky

While the Washington Capitals’ past season was an unmitigated disaster, there was one bright spot located about 364 miles northwest of the district in Erie, Pennsylvania. Unheralded 2013 first round draft pick Andre Burakovsky had a breakout year with the OHL’s Erie Otters. His rapid development in Erie could launch him into the NHL next season.

But things could have gone very differently. Last July, after being selected fifth overall by the Otters in the CHL Draft, Burakovsky revealed disappointment with the decision, telling a local reporter, “this is not what I had in mind.” The young Swede, who spent the season before playing for the Malmo Redhawks of the HockeyAllsvenskan, did not want to join the OHL team.

It wasn’t until some convincing from then-GM George McPhee that Burakovsky signed on to play for the Otters, who were led by future 2015 first overall draft pick Connor McDavid.

Speaking to Uffe Bodin of hockeysverige.se, Burakovsky explained just how happy he was with that decision.

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Ice celebrate the victory (Photo: USHL Images)

The Indiana Ice, featuring Washington Capitals draft pick Brian Pinho, have won the Clark Cup. In game five of a best-of-five series, the Ice rallied to beat Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 to win the USHL championship. Pinho scored the game-winning goal with just over two minutes to go in the third period. 

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christian-djoos

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

According to a report out of Sweden by Uffe Bodin of HockeySverige.se, the Washington Capitals have signed 2012 seventh-round pick Christian Djoos (pronounced “YO-os”) to an entry-level contract.

There’s been no official confirmation of this information from Washington or Djoos’s current club, Brynas of the SHL.

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Two Washington Capitals Capitals prospects, Zach Sanford and Brian Pinho, will play against each other in the Clark Cup finals of the USHL, the top-tier junior league in the United States.

Pinho’s Indiana Ice swept the Dubuque Fighting Saints in a best-of-five series while Sanford’s Waterloo Black Hawks needed four games to defeat the Sioux City Musketeers, a team featuring another Caps prospect, Blake Heinrich.

After two series, Sanford, a 61st overall pick at the 2013 Draft, has seven points in seven games, while Pinho, who was a 174th overal pick at the same Draft and finished 15th in points in the regular season, has just three in seven.

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burakovsky-bowey

Two top Washington Capitals prospects in the Canadian Hockey League, Andre Burakovsky and Madison Bowey, saw their team’s seasons end on Friday night. Burakovsky’s Erie Otters fell to the Guelph Storm, and Bowey’s Kelowna Rockets were knocked out by the Portland Winterhawks (who feature another Caps draft pick, Garrett Haar).

Both series ended 4-1.

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jaynen-rissling

Photo: WHL Images

“Where were you when it happened?” That’s what your grandchildren will ask you about the events of April 19, 2014, when the Capitals announced the trade of a 20-year-old WHL D-man for a pick that has a one-in-nine chance of having an NHL career.

Jaynen Rissling has played 273 games for the Calgary Hitmen, who were eliminated from the playoffs by the Kootenay Ice last month. Rissling now belongs to the Nashville Predators and everything has changed.

We are now living in the Post-Rissling Era. Adjust your calendars accordingly.

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madison-bowey

Washington Capitals prospect Madison Bowey scored a goal and tallied an assist in the Kelowna Rockets’ game one 5-4 Western Conference finals win over a team with another Caps’ draft pick, Garrett Haar‘s Portland Winterhawks.

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Andre Burakovsky‘s junior team, the Erie Otters, kicked off the OHL Western conference finals against Guelph Storm on Thursday.

The series features the league’s two best regular-season teams and could become the best match-up of the playoffs, featuring three NHL first-round draft selections (Burakovsky, Brendan Gaunce, and Jason Dickinson) as well as three shoo-ins to be picked in the first round of either 2014 or 2015 (Robby Fabbri, Connor McDavid, and Dylan Strome).

Game One more than lived up to the hype: the teams combined for nine goals on 53 shots, trading the lead all game long. Guelph won 5-4 at home and retained home-ice advantage. Burakovsky, playing on the Otters second line with Strome and Michael Curtis, was the catalyst of Erie’s attacks, earning third star of the game honors.

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chandler-stephenson

On Wednesday, Washington Capitals third-round pick Chandler Stephenson played in his first game as a Hershey Bear. His team battled the Norfolk Admirals, with whom they were tied in points for eighth and final postseason spot but held the tiebreaker, on the road.

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Photo: Brynas IF

The 2013-14 season was a breakout year for Capitals prospect Christian Djoos. His ice time with Brynas of SHL went up from 15:35 in the previous regular season to 17:16 this year. He scored more too, getting 13 points (a goal and 12 assists) in 47 games after just eight a year ago. Also importantly, Djoos cut down on time spent in the penalty box– four minutes as opposed to 48 last season.

Djoos took over the leading role on his team’s blue line in the postseason, logging 23:26 in the playoffs as a teenager in one of the best leagues in the world. He also had a notable performance at home World Juniors, scoring a goal and getting an assist in Sweden’s disappointing goal medal game loss.

Djoos’ increased role in the postseason could be attributed to an injury to Ryan Gunderson, a University of Vermont graduate and a Brynas’ leader on the blueline for the last three seasons. Next season, Gunderson won’t be with Brynas as he’s signed with KHL newcomer Jokerit Helsinki. That gives Djoos a chance to establish himself as an elite SHL defenseman.

The Washington Capitals have until June 1st to sign Djoos, whom they selected in the seventh round of 2012 Draft. There’s been little information on whether the Caps are interested in bringing him into the organization. It’s clear that he’s not leaving Brynas, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be on loan from a NHL club or unattached.

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