Miami University’s Riley Barber headlines a list of Caps prospects at the NCAA Tournament (Photo credit: Rachel Lewis / Triple Deke Photography)
Washington Capitals prospects have been no strangers to the NCAA hockey tournament recently. A year ago, four of them (including then-UFA Cameron Schilling) made it to regionals. This year’s tournament includes six Caps prospects.
Regionals will be held in Toledo, OH; Providence, RI; Grand Rapids, MI; and Manchester, NH. The winners of the tournaments will face each other in Pittsburgh on April 11-13.
Riley Barber attacks Buckeyes’ goal. (Miami University Athletics).
Caps sixth-round draft pick Riley Barber has continued the same strong play that earned him a spot on the 2013 USA WJC team. As part of Miami (OH) University, Barber beat intrastate rival Ohio State, securing victory in the CCHA regular season. In the last game of the season, Barber scored a goal and assisted another, endangering the Buckeyes’ net each time he and linemates Austin Czarnik and Curtis McKenzie hit the ice.
Take a look at Barber’s highlights and stats after the jump.
Over the offseason the Hershey Bears saw several key veterans sign elsewhere, such as future AHL Hall of Famer Keith Aucoin, 2011-12 AHL leading scorer Chris Bourque, and fan-favorite enforcer Joel Rechlicz. The team also had to deal with a peculiar problem due to the lockout: two head coaches, Mark French and new Caps bench boss Adam Oates. Capitals general manager George McPhee mandated that Hershey learn Oates’ new system, so that the organization’s minor league players could be used to it by the time NHL games started being played. All this change has seen the team scuffle to a .500 record through 34 games this season (16-16-1-1).
But now things are starting to look up. Before it was announced that the lockout had been lifted, Hershey had been getting its best goaltending of the year from Braden Holtby, who was recently named AHL player of the month for December. Stan Galiev, who had been struggling with his transition from junior hockey, is starting to look more comfortable on the ice and more worthy of his #29 prospect ranking from Hockey Prospectus. The organization also has a surplus of quality goaltenders in the ECHL knocking at the door of the AHL: Philipp Grubauer and 2012 seventh-round pick Sergey Kostenko.
On Saturday, after the Bears’ 3-1 loss to the Binghamton Senators, I asked French if this is the best he’s seen Braden Holtby play, if the sky is the limit for Riley Barber, and if Caps fans should be worried about Galiev’s early season struggles.
Riley Barber is in the second row, directly to the left of the cup. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Washington Capitals prospect Riley Barber and Team USA upset Filip Forsberg and Christian Djoos of the defending champion Team Sweden 3-1 on Saturday to win the 2013 World Junior Championships. This is the first time that the USA has won the tournament since 2010, when some guy named John Carlson scored in sudden-death overtime.
Team USA was led in the title game by John Gibson, named best goalie of the tournament with a .955 save percentage, and Rocco Grimaldi, who scored two goals. Former Caps defenseman Phil Housley, in his first year coaching Team USA, was the victorious head coach. Assistant Grant Potulny, who scored 19 goals in 50 games during the 2007-08 season for the Hershey Bears, also won gold as an assistant coach.
On Saturday morning, Filip Forsberg and Team Sweden will face off against Riley Barber and Team USA in the World Junior Championships. In the photo above, taken by Grantland’s Katie Baker, you see Forsberg (second from right) and his teammates holding up a newspaper reading, “No More Miracles For You.”
We’ll see about that. Not to be partisan, but I’m firmly on #teamusa come Saturday morning at 8 am. Sweden’s great and everything– with their fish and chefs and Jens Lekman, but it’s USA’s game to lose.
Riley Barber scores his second goal of the game. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images).
At 4am EST Wednesday morning, on the other side of the globe, the United States junior national team blew out the Czech Republic, 7-0. Caps prospect Riley Barber had his second big game of the tournament, this time scoring two goals after being held off the scoreboard for the previous three.
It’s easy to be overlooked when you’re a sixth-round pick in the NHL draft. From 2000 to 2011, only one in five sixth-round selections ever suited up for a NHL game. But for Washington Capitals prospect Riley Barber, being the underdog seems to work in his favor.
After missing a 45-man Evaluation Camp roster in August, Barber, on Monday, was named to the United States’ preliminary 27-man roster for the 2013 World Junior Championships. These 27 players will meet in Tarrytown, New York on December 16-18th to determine who will represent the US in Ufa, Russia this year.
Barber, a first overall pick by the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the 2010 USHL Draft, made this giant leap in the depth chart by putting on a show playing for the third-ranked Miami University RedHawks of the CCHA this season. The 18-year-old right wing currently leads all freshmen in college hockey with 18 points in 14 games, also good for third amongst NCAA players drafted by NHL teams. Barber has been held off the scoresheet just twice in those fourteen contests.
The teams shake hands following the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
As has become tradition, Kettler Capitals Iceplex was packed to capacity Saturday for the final scrimmage of the team’s Development Camp and annual Fanfest. On a mid-July morning, hundreds were jammed into the team’s practice facility to watch prospects and college and free-agent invitees duke it out for the last time. Fans also took advantage of autograph sessions with Caps prospects and new Capitals center/rapperMike Ribeiro, who met the media for the first time yesterday.
As for the game itself, Team Red won in thrilling fashion, pulling out a 4-3 victory in overtime. After red pulled their goaltender, T.J. Syner scored in the final minute of the third period. In overtime, Max Iafrate set-up free-agent invitee Greg Miller for a slam-dunk one-timer in the slot. Stan Galiev and Riley Barber also scored for the red team. Daniel O’Donoghue, Taylor Stefishen, and David Vallorani tallied white’s three goals.
Below, check out my shots from the final day of camp.
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.”