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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Burakovsky celebrates his goal.

Just one day after snapping a three-game pointless streak, Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky added two more points, a goal and an assist, to his playoff stat line. In doing so, Burakovsky helped the Erie Otters to a series win over the Greyhounds. Continue Reading

 

caleb-herbert

Photo: Kyle Mace

Newly-signed Capitals prospect Caleb Herbert had a fantastic debut with the Hershey Bears last Wednesday, picking up two points in a 3-2 win over the Portland Pirates. The 22-year-old forward recently finished his junior season at University of Minnesota-Duluth before opting to turn pro this spring.

“It was an exciting day when I found out I was going to be in the lineup,” Herbert told Patriot-News’ Tim Leone. “It was kind of a shock. Not really a shock, but my head was kind of spinning all day. I was thinking about the game all day. It was kind of tough to settle down.”

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Photo: Erie Highlight Reel

Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky was dominant late in the OHL regular season, and he has kept that trend going in the playoffs. In two games against the Saginaw Spirit, Burakovsky scored three goals, turning the Otters’ second line into a lethal weapon. (You know you have deep forward corps when your team can put both him and Brendan Gaunce on the second line.)

The Erie Otters won both games with a final score of 4-3, the second game decided in overtime. The third game will be held on Monday at 7:11 PM ET.

Burakovsky is currently tied for first in goals in these still-young OHL playoffs.

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Photo: AP/Winslow Townson

The Capitals have signed forward Caleb Herbert from the University of Minnesota-Duluth to an entry-level contract beginning next season, according to the official press release. The 22-year-old, who was drafted by the Caps 142nd overall in 2010, spent the past three years with the Bulldogs. He completed his NCAA career with 89 points in 112 games. Before that, he spent a season with USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. He was originally drafted out of the Bloomington Jefferson High School.

Herbert is a heart and soul player who can effectively forecheck due to his good skating ability. During the past season, he spent a lot of time in the sin bin with 85 penalty minutes, sixth most in the nation.

Two of his goals this season were nominated for NCHC fan-selected Goal of the Year honors.

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