Breaking down where the Capitals landed on the 2023 NHL Pipeline Rankings

Ryan Leonard, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ryan Leonard, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It’s the most wonderful time of the summer Washington Capitals fans. The time where Corey Pronman of The Athletic (subscription required) releases his annual NHL Pipeline Rankings for all 32 teams. So where do the Capitals rank in this list?

Pronman has the Capitals at #22. That’s a two step improvement from ranking 24th a year ago. They did take a step forward. Lots of the top prospects got to shine for the Hershey Bears for their Calder Cup run. Besides that, the Capitals had an excellent draft where they took Ryan Leonard at number nine overall in the first round. Pronman graded the Caps a B for their draft performance.

Leonard along with Andrew Cristall were the key additions. Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev were named as key graduates as both got well deserved offseason contract extensions.

Here’s what Pronman said specifically about the Capitals #22 ranking:

"After years of being bottom feeders in these types of rankings, the Capitals have slowly begun acquiring some top young talent led by 2023 No. 8 pick, Ryan Leonard. It takes a while to build up a pipeline, so there is a lot more work left to do in Washington in terms of rebuilding a core, if that is even their intent in Alexander Ovechkin’s final NHL years."

Included in the team specific articles about why they were power ranked where they were, Pronman lists each team’s top prospect. I won’t reveal too much on what he says. I have my own top prospects list coming out this weekend.

But what I found interesting in his prospect rankings was that he included Aliaksei Protas and Connor McMichael on them. I still think McMichael is a prospect but he’s right on the brink of graduating to the NHL.

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As far as Protas is concerned, I don’t understand why he’s on there. He was a key contributor to the Bears don’t get me wrong, but I saw him on the NHL ice a lot. In fact, he suited up for 58 of the 82 Caps games.