Washington Capitals Prospect Rankings: Winter 2014

Chandler Stephenson has been one of the most impressive Caps prospects this season (Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The first half of the 2013-14 season has been mostly positive for Washington Capitals prospects. Unknowns like Andre Burakovsky and Chandler Stephenson have shown real NHL potential, while the elder statesmen of the pool like Nate Schmidt and Patrick Wey, both coming off tremendous college careers, have made steps up the Caps’ depth chart.

However, top two Caps prospects will wish their first half was better: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s injuries have limited his action and Tom Wilson has had a hard time gaining a meaningful role with the big club.

The feel-good story of the season so far has been Stephenson, who had been bugged by injuries in the past, but is now thriving in a veteran role as an offensive go-to guy for his team. I’ve got more on these stories and our full top-20 ranking below. Continue Reading

andre-burakovsky

During an OHL game last weekend, Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky absorbed a dangerous, illegal hit from Cristiano DiGiacinto of the Windsor Spitfires. 

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Andre Burakovsky is a Hugger (Video)

In all honesty, we don’t know much about Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky. While Evgeny Kuznetsov is an open-yet-confusing book, all we know about Burakovsky is that his dad used to play in the NHL and the dude really, really likes macaroni and cheese and cinnamon rollers.

But everything changed last week when we saw a special feature on Burakovsky filmed by SVT — better known as Sveriges Television. The angle of the feature focused on Burakovsky’s reunion with his best friend in the whole wide world, Nick Sörensen, and playing on the same line together at the World Junior Championships.

We learned that Burakovsky is a playful and inquisitive guy. And that he’s a huge hugger. Like zero respect of personal space with this guy.

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Photo credit: Lars Dareberg

Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.

Burakovsky had two shots in Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to Finland in overtime of the gold medal game.

Kent Jonsson of the local Malmo newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet caught up with Burakovsky after Team Sweden’s crushing loss in the Gold Medal game. He was upset.

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2014 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images

Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.

On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.

Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.

Sad Swedes are sad.

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Andre Burakovsky rushes the puck up the ice. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)

In the gold medal game of the 2014 World Juniors, Team Sweden faced Team Finland. As the favourites and the hosts, the Swedes probably didn’t expect a cakewalk against arch-rivals Finland, who had embarrassed Canada in the semifinals, but what happened next may have surprised even the Finnish fans.

Suomi kicked the game off with a shocker just 28 seconds in, Esa Lindell opened the scoring. Tre Kronor were increasing the pressure, but it took them more than 25 minutes to tie on a goal by Lucas Wallmark. Not even a minute later, Finland came right back with a goal of their own on a great set up by Teuvo Teravainen, Saku Maenalanen beat Oskar Dansk. The Sweden again took the full control of the game, but had problems finding the net. With only nine minutes to go, a powerplay bomb by Capitals prospect Christian Djoos tied the game and forced overtime.

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Connor Carrick rushes the puck up ice (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)

World Juniors semifinalists were determined on Thursday. Washington Capitals prospects combined for three points. Riley Barber had one assist to his name, while Andre Burakovsky recorded a pair of helpers.

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Photo credit: Ludwig Thunman/AP

Washington Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky scored a hat trick in the World Juniors preliminary round game against Norway that ended, quite unsurprisingly, in a blowout of the Norwegians, 10-0.

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Burakovsky at Team Sweden camp (Photo credit: Claes Hall/Skanskan Dagbladet).

Washington Capitals 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky created a little bit of controversy before the World Juniors in his hometown of Malmo. In an interview to Skanskan Dagbladet’s Christer Cederlund, the shifty Swedish winger said that Tre Kronor is better than the annual favorites, Team Canada.

Here are Burakovsky’s quotes, as translated by friend-of-the-blog Jacob Ware:

Burakovsky: I know what the Canadians bring and when I look at what they have and what we have, I think we have a better team on paper. We will see how they play and how it goes for us.
Cederlund: What do Swedes do better than Canadians?
Burakovsky: Canada has a few “skill players” but the rest are just hard-hitting, grinding guys. We’re more well-rounded, more skill to go with physical play. We also have much better goaltenders.

Sick burn, Andre.

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Burakovsky carries the puck during a game against USA at the U18 World Championships last spring. (Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos have been selected to the list of 26 players named to Sweden’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors, which will be held in Malmo, Sweden.

Djoos, 19, won silver with Team Sweden last year in Ufa, Russia, while Burakovsky was left off the roster.

Djoos is an offensive defenseman with good passing and a high hockey IQ. His size and defensive abilities are question marks as he looks to move to the next level (the Caps have until next June 1st to sign him). He has struggled offensively this year with Brynas in the SHL after an impressive second half of last year.

Burakovsky is on a roll as of late. On a stacked Erie Otters team, he has 39 points in 27 games so far. This will be a special tournament for Burakovsky, who was raised in Malmo and played there for the local Redhawks before coming over to North America to sign with Erie, where he plays with his fellow countryman goaltender Oskar Dansk.

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