Despite a disappointing 2013-2014 season, Washington Capitals fans have a reason for hope- their prospects. The Washington Capitals’ farm system is often overlooked, but a strong group of prospects is looking to change that.
Top 10 Washington Capitals Prospects
- Andre Burakovsky, LW, Erie Otters- Andre Burakovsky has cemented himself as the #1 Washington Capitals prospect. In 57 regular season games with the Otters in the 2013-2014 season, Burakovsky had 87 points (41 goals, 46 assists). In 14 playoff games, he added 13 points (10 goals, 3 assists). He’s a dynamic playmaker who has the ability to create scoring chances every time he touches the puck. He could be on the 2014-2015 Opening Night roster, but I think he’ll spend some time in Hershey before arriving in DC.
- Madison Bowey, D, Kelowna Rockets- You know you had an excellent season when you set a franchise record for points by a defenseman in a season (60) when two of your team’s alumni are Norris Trophy candidates (Shea Weber and Duncan Keith). Bowey is by far the Washington Capitals’ best blue-line prospect. Bowey is a future top 4 two-way defenseman. He has an extremely aggressive style of play, which can be a good thing (21 goals) or a bad thing (93 PIMs). Bowey served as the Captain of the Rockets during the 2013-2014 season and I think it did him a lot of good. He can’t go to Hershey next season, so he’ll probably go back to the Rockets for one more season.
- Riley Barber, RW, University of Miami (Ohio)- Barber followed his impressive freshman year with an even more impressive sophomore season at the University of Miami Ohio. In 39 games, he scored 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists). He was a staple of the Redhawks’ power play and penalty kill. He is a very fast and strong skater. He projects to be a top 6 two-way forward, but he’d be a great fit as a 3rd line forward too thanks to his defense. He’ll spend at least one more year with the Redhawks before officially joining the Washington Capitals organization.
- Philip Grubauer, G, Hershey Bears- Grubauer impressed during his brief stint with the Washington Capitals last season and he is penciled in to backup Braden Holtby next season. Grubauer is very athletic and can make saves that few others can. His positioning still needs to improve though. He projects to be an average NHL starting goalie or an above average backup.
- Connor Carrick, D, Hershey Bears- Despite Carrick’s rough 2013-2014 season that saw him struggle with the Washington Capitals, he still has a lot of upside and projects to be a top 4 D. He is very good at moving the puck and at running the point during power plays, but he lacks ideal size and must improve his positioning. A full season in Hershey should help his development.
- Chandler Stephenson, C/LW, Hershey Bears- Stephenson is a fast, quick two-way forward. He battled back from injuries in 2012-2013 to have a very strong 2013-2014 season. He projects to be a 3rd line wing or center, though he could be a decent top 6 forward. He should benefit from regular playing time in Hershey next season and might be one of the first forwards called up in case of an injury.
- Nate Schmidt, D, Hershey Bears- Schmidt did well during his stint with the Washington Capitals last season. If the Capitals utilize him correctly, he could be a valuable player for them. He’ll be an RFA once free agency begins. Judging by the Capitals’ current blue line depth, I assume that they’ll keep him. He has a very unique offensive game for a defenseman, but his defense is still somewhat of a work in progress. He projects to be a decent top 4 D option, but would be best suited as a 3rd pairing defenseman/power play specialist.
- Michael Latta, C, Hershey Bears- Latta was a part of the infamous Filip Forsberg- Martin Erat trade. He did very well in Hershey last season and I believe he’s ready to contribute at the NHL level. Defense and checking are his strong points, but he has some upside on offense. He projects to be either a 3rd line or 4th line center who will definitely see time on penalty kills. He’s a restricted free agent, but I definitely see the Capitals bringing him back.
- Patrick Wey, D- Wey is arguably the Washington Capitals’ best stay at home defenseman prospect. He played well while paired with Orlov. His defense is very good, but he is somewhat of a liability on offense. He struggles to get the puck out of the D-Zone. Despite his struggles on offense, I still think he projects to be a very serviceable third-pairing defenseman, especially if paired with a puck mover like Orlov.
- Zach Sanford, C- Sanford had a successful season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and will be attending Boston College starting next season. He has the potential to be a top 6 forward, but I’m not sure if he’ll stick at center.