Ivan Miroshnichenko Capitals 2023-24 Final Grade & Review

A look back at Ivan Miroshnichenko’s role with the Capitals this season
Ivan Miroshnichenko, Washington Capitals
Ivan Miroshnichenko, Washington Capitals / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Washington Capitals forward Ivan Miroshnichenko still has a lot of growing to do. There were only glimpses this year at the Russian forward’s potential, but there’s a strong possibility Miro may have a more permanent role with the Capitals next year. If nothing else, it’s clear that in a few years maximum, Miroshnichenko will be a popular name in the NHL. 

Miro’s Role with the Capitals 

Miroshnichenko made his NHL debut with the Capitals this season on Dec 20, 2023 in a 3-2 OT home win against the New York Islanders. Through 21 total regular season games with the Capitals, Miroshnichenko tallied 2 goals (both 5-on-5) and 4 assists, per Natural Stat Trick. He managed to stay out of the sin bin, taking only 2 minor penalties yet drawing 3 penalties (though every new kid gets picked on a bit in their first handful of games).

What really sticks out is not so much Miro’s numbers on paper, but rather what the numbers can’t fully show. Thinking back over Miro’s games, the goal he scored against the Edmonton Oilers is particularly memorable. It showcases Miro’s exceptional ability to turn and shoot the puck, all in one motion, even from a less-than-ideal spot on the ice. 

Miro’s first career goal, which was a bit of a burn on goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, was scored against the Pittsburgh Penguins in an eventual 6-0 win for the Caps. If that doesn’t show you Miro is just meant to be a Washington Capital, I don’t know what will.  

Though not the biggest player to ever lace up his skates, at  6’1” and 185 pounds, Miro wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around either. According to Natural Stat Trick, he notched 50 total hits, an average of more than 2 hits per game.

It’s worth noting too that for the most part, Miro’s minutes were heavily managed by the coaching staff. In general, the coaches tended to put Miro in relatively safe situations on the ice, meaning less defensive zone starts and more time in offensive and neutral zones. Almost 80% of  Miroshnichenko’s starts on the ice were in the offensive or neutral zone, from NST. This makes it a little difficult to evaluate Miro’s full contribution to the team and fully understand his defensive capabilities.

Overall, this is a solid start for Miro, especially considering he signed his entry-level contract with the Capitals just over a year ago and has had less than a year to learn English and adapt to living in America. Coupled with his recent recovery from Hodgkin’s lymphoma before being drafted, it’s quite impressive. 

Miro’s final grade with the Capitals: B-

Miro’s Role with the Hershey Bears 

Currently, Miro is still playing with the Hershey Bears in their Calder Cup Playoff run. Aside from Miro’s memorable post-game comments such as “ROOAARRR” and “Bear go hunt wolf”, he has produced a lot offensively for the Bears. Since returning to the Bears after the Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs, he has scored 6 goals, including this rather standout goal against the Hartford Wolf Pack in the Atlantic Division Finals. (Miroshnichenko is #10 on the Bears.) 

In Game 3 of the AHL Conference Finals, Miro had a 3-point night in a decisive 6-2 beatdown of the Cleveland Monsters. Not surprisingly, the Hershey Bears coaches have entrusted Miro with a large offensive role on the power play and in 6-on-5 situations. 

The Bears are currently beating the Cleveland Monsters 3-2 in a best-of-seven in the AHL Conference Finals. If the Bears advance past the Conference Finals, they will be vying for Calder Cups back-to-back. The Bears next game against the Monsters will be at 7pm on Monday (June 10) on Monumental Sports Network 2 (DMV area), Fox43 (PA) and AHLTV (streaming).