Andre Burakovsky during last year’s rookie game. (Photo: Chris Gordon)
Preparation for 2014-15 NHL season begins this week as rookie camps kick off around the league. Capitals’ camp will start today, and will end next Tuesday with a 3PM rookie game that has been held every (non-lockout-shortened) year since the Caps’ re-build.
Andre Burakovsky is the best Caps prospect yet to play a game with the big club (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images).
With rookie camp upon us, RMNB presents the new edition of its semiannual prospect rankings.
Prospect rankings factor in a player’s potential, his probability to reach his ceiling (including an assessment of that player’s adaptation to NHL’s style of play), and physical and mental maturity.
The Caps prospect pool is considered top-heavy, with four Caps prospects ranked in top-50 league-wide by both Corey Pronman and NHL.com. However, there’s believed to be a significant drop-off in talent after that. While Capitals management has tried to make their prospect pool deeper, they’ve still got work to do. The Caps are considered thin at center in particular, underlined by auditioning their two top wingers for a center slot.
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.”
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.
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
Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey during Caps Development Camp in July. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
[Editor's Note: Fedor has reported on Washington Capitals prospects for RMNB for the last three years. This year we're proud to introduce his prospect rankings. The rankings will be updated three times during the season-- with the goal of updating you on how prospects are or not progressing. The first edition of the rankings come on the second day of Rookie Camp, as Caps prospects jockey for position within the organization.]
The Washington Capitals have re-stocked their prospect pipeline over the past two NHL drafts, giving fans a wealth of new players to get excited about in addition to a few solid free-agent prospects signings.
The 2012 Draft is turning out be a sterling spot on George McPhee’s resume. After picking Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson in the first round, GMGM made a few strong picks in the latter rounds with Thomas DiPauli, Connor Carrick, Riley Barber, and Christian Djoos– all of whom have been invited to their junior national team camps and left good impressions.
Depth on defense is an area of strength for this crop of talent, with more than a few prospects ready to compete for roster spots as soon as they open.
Below, check out inaugural edition of the RMNB prospect rankings.
Danick Paquette dishes out a hit along the boards.
After participating in workouts for first two days of the Capitals’ annual Development Camp, 19 of the organization’s prospects and 25 free agent invites took to the ice for the first intra-squad scrimmage of the summer on Wednesday.
Group B — wearing the red sweaters — controlled the play throughout the game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, taking it by a score of 4-2. Caleb Herbert, Stanislav Galiev, Travis Boyd and Aaron Schmit scored for the winning team while Andrew Cherniwchan and Garrett Mitchell tallied in the losing effort.
“The thoughts were is they played hard,” Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters after the game. “I think there was a lot more physical contact than the last two development camps, at least early on for the first game. … They’ve gotten better every day, I expect them to be even better tomorrow and by Saturday I’ll be a pretty good game.”
Forward Cody Eakin, a third-round draft pick in 2009 and a veteran of three camps, attributed the style of play to the players desire to make an impression on Washington’s brass.
“They’re some big guys out here and everyone is fighting for a job, a second chance and a second look so it was pretty physical. Guys are stepping up and there wasn’t a lot of room out there.”
Ed. note – Fedor Fedin and Roman Piontkovsky of GlobalCapsFans live to dish out salacious gossip about those players orbiting just out side the Capitals’ exosphere. Here is your sorta bi-weekly edition about kids in the Caps system (CHL, USHL, NCAA, KHL, TL;DR). It’s Prospect Watch!
Ed. note – The sole duty of Fedor Fedin and Roman Piontkovsky of GlobalCapsFans is to serve you tasty morsels of news about your favorite not-yet-but-maybe-one-day Caps. Russian Machine gears up once more to give you your bi-weekly offering of players in the far reaches of the Caps system (CHL, USHL, NCAA, KHL, DADT). Prospect Watch incoming!
Ed. note – Fedor Fedin and Roman Piontkovsky of GlobalCapsFans are not at fault for the tardiness of this week’s entry. That’s all on Peter. Regardless, Russian Machine is proud to provide the bi-weekly lowdown on players somewhere beyond the Caps system (CHL, USHL, NCAA, KHL, XBOX360). Prospect Watch incoming!