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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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Capitals Sign Prospect Chandler Stephenson

Photo credit: Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats

The Capitals have signed forward Chandler Stephenson to an entry-level contract. According to a report by the Regina Leader-Post, the three-year contract is worth $925,000 per season, the maximum an NHL rookie can get.

Stephenson was originally considered a left winger, but he impressed at center for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and for the Caps during last preseason. After missing time due to injury in the 2012-13 season, Stephenson had a huge breakout this year with 30 goals and 59 assists in 69 games, leading his team and finishing 14th in the league in points (89). He played in all situations for the Pats, logging a lot of ice time especially late in games.

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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

Chandler Stephenson Scores a Nifty Goal (Video)

Photo credit: Regina Pats

Washington Capitals 2012 third-round pick Chandler Stephenson of the Regina Pats scored a pretty tricky goal in Wednesday’s game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In the third period, with his team down 5-2, Stephenson toe-dragged the puck around a Lethbridge defenseman before blasting it top-shelf.

We’ve got slo-mo video of the goal below.

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Washington Capitals prospects Madison Bowey and Chandler Stephenson have been named to Team WHL for upcoming games against Team Russia in the annual Subway Super Series to be played in late November. A roster is not yet finalized: just one goaltender, seven defensemen, and 14 forwards have been selected.

Some players only play in just one game of the series, while others– those with a better shot of making the World Juniors squad– will get a two-game audition against one of the world’s best junior teams. Last year, the WHL’s roster consisted of 29 players: two goaltenders, nine defensemen and 28 forwards.

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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.

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For Caps prospect Chandler Stephenson, it’s easy to be overlooked. The Capitals made two selections in the first round before selecting him, so Stephenson may not be on every Caps fans’ radar. But the third round pick can play. He was the fifth overall pick by Regina in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, he was invited to Canada’s Under-18 2011 selection camp with Tom Wilson, and he was Regina’s fourth best scorer last season. For those who went to Development Camp, you’ll recall Stephenson dropped the mitts with Max Iafrate after a few questionable hits by the latter.

On Friday night, Stephenson scored his first goal of the WHL regular season, and it was a big one. With 15.4 seconds left in the regulation against the Red Deer Rebels, the Saskatoon-born forward was first to a rebound and put the puck past the Rebels’ goalie Bolton Pouliot. It would stand up as the game-winner.

Video is below. (Warning: homers yelling.)

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Forsberg speaks to the media after the scrimmage. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

The Caps prospects and invitees to Development Camp played their fourth scrimmage today, but once again some of the most interesting moves were made off the ice. First-round draft pick Filip Forsberg signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals today, and goalie coach Dave Prior expressed disappointment in prospect Steffen Soberg‘s 2011-12 season.

Despite the fact Forsberg has one more year on his contract with Leksand of the Swedish Allsvenskan League, he stressed that he wanted to commit to the team. “It was a dream come true,” he told CSN’s Chuck Gormley. “I got a good first feeling from the Capitals and I thought it was a good decision to get it done right away.”

Team White won the scrimmage 4-1, with White’s goals scored by David Civitarese, Connor Carrick, Barry Almeida, and Chandler Stephenson on a penalty shot. Team Red’s lone goal was scored by T.J. Syner.

Below the jump, check out Chris Gordon’s photos from the day.

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Caps Development Camp had its first fight today, coming after the final buzzer sounded on Thursday’s scrimmage, which Team Red won 6-3. Max Iafrate, son of former Cap Al Iafrate, dropped the gloves with 2012 third-round draft pick Chandler Stephenson after a scrum in front the white team’s net. The bout came after the squads were jawing at each other in the waning minutes of the game. (Some gems from Tom Wilson: “What are you, 25? Let the kids play!” and “Why you do us all a favor a take some skating lessons, [expletive]!”)

“Oates said he didn’t want us fighting, but when your [freaking] adrenaline gets flowing…” Iafrate told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex immediately following the scrap. “I guess fight when the opportunity knocks. You don’t look for it.”

“I was playing the game,” Iafrate continued. “He kind of hit me after I put the puck down the ice. I kind of like swung my foot to try to trip him. Then he cross-checked me.”

Caps Head Coach Adam Oates was not impressed.

“I did talk to the guys [after practice]. I really don’t want that,” Oates said. “We’re all here under the Capitals umbrella. I know you want to show your stuff and there’s plenty of time for that down the road. But they still get frustrated at times and I understand that as well.”

Check out my photos of the scrap below.

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Caps draft pick Thomas DiPauli.(Photo credit: Dave Sanford)

After trading their second round pick and Cody Eakin to the Dallas Stars in exchange for center Mike Riberio, Washington did not move any of their other ten picks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In the first round, they acquired talented winger Filip Forsberg and rough-and-tumble power forward Tom Wilson; through the next six rounds, they would go on to acquire four US players, a Canadian player, a Swedish player, and a Russian.

Notably, the Caps selected three players from the U.S. developmental team, and one player recently of the U.S. developmental team. “I asked [the scouts] ‘What are we doing here?” said McPhee about this trend. “Are we drafting the whole team?’”

“We made a lot of picks today,” McPhee said of the second day overall. “I don’t know those kids very well. [...] It’s nice to sort of restock this year, and we’ll see how they are in a couple of years.”

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