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Caps Prospect Roundup: It Begins Again
Welcome to the new season of the Caps Prospect Roundup. Here, you’ll find highlights of the current 13 Caps prospects still playing in juniors/college/over seas. Since there are 13 prospects to follow this year, after this week, updates will be given for the prospects who have done something worth reporting. Without further ado, the Caps Prospect Roundup begins again:
Kevin Elgestal: Winger for the Vita Hasten HC of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league; drafted seventh round, 194th overall in 2014
Elgestal started last season with Frolunda HC J20. He played 16 games there before being loaned out to Vita Hasten for his remaining 27 games. He also made a brief pit stop in Hershey for the Bears’ playoff run, though he didn’t get any game action. This season, back with Vita Hasten, he has no goals, no points and is a minus-5. On the plus side, he also has zero penalty minutes. Over the summer, CSN called him an up-and-comer, so there must be something he brings to the table that isn’t being shown in the stats. Certain systems don’t always work for everyone, so in Elgestal’s case, the faster he can crack into the Caps’ system, it’ll probably be for the better.
Shane Gersich: Sophomore center for University of North Dakota (#19); drafted fifth round, 134th overall in 2014
Last season, Gersich came down with mono within the first month of the season. According to his stats, he had a hard time finding a scoring touch. This year? Completely different story. Gersich is leading defending NCAA Champion North Dakota with 14 points in 11 games. That means he’s averaging 1.273 points per game. Talk about a turnaround.
In this weekend’s matchup against No. 1-ranked Denver, No. 8 North Dakota tied the first game 1-1 and lost the second 3-2. Gersich scored both goals in Saturday’s loss. While he didn’t appear on the official scoresheet in Friday’s game, Gersich did score the crucial “second overtime” goal to earn North Dakota an extra point in the standings. If there’s one highlight you watch in this roundup, make sure it’s this one.
Highlights from Saturday’s game vs. Denver (Gersich scores at the beginning and at 2:24 on the power play):
Connor Hobbs: Defenseman for the Regina Pats of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 143th overall in 2015
Hobbs is definitely more of an offensive defenseman — he proved that last season — and he has continued that streak this season. In 15 games played, he has 22 points (six goals and 16 assists), averaging 1.467 points per game. He also still has his tough side with 42 penalty minutes. Granted, 19 of them came a couple of weeks ago when a line brawl broke out at the end of Regina’s game against Saskatoon (see clip below).
This past weekend, Regina beat Moose Jaw (and fellow prospect Dmitri Zaitsev — more on him below) 5-4 in overtime. Hobbs notched two assists in that game, including on the game-winning overtime goal. The Pats also whooped Red Deer 8-4, in which Hobbs had two goals. Check out highlights below.
5-4 overtime win against Moose Jaw (Hobbs assists on the goals at 1:25 and 3:13). Zaitsev assists at 0:57 if you want to jump ahead.
8-4 win against Red Deer (Hobbs scores at 1:10 and 3:28)
The line brawl from a couple weeks ago in Regina’s 9-6 win over Saskatoon.
Lucas Johansen: Defenseman for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL; drafted first round, 28th overall in 2016
Johansen, who’s probably one of the most highly-anticipated of the Caps’ prospects, just so happens to be on one of the not-so-great teams in the WHL. Kelowna is currently sitting at No. 14 in the league. While Johansen doesn’t appear to be super offensive, he is getting power play time and has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 17 games. Not terrible for a defenseman. This past weekend, Johansen recorded one assist, on the power play, in Kelowna’s 7-1 shellacking of Prince Albert.
Beck Malenstyn: Center for the Calgary Hitmen (#11) of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 145th overall in 2016
Malenstyn is another newbie to the Caps prospect family. Calgary, like Kelowna, isn’t doing overly well in the standings, but the Hitmen are playing slightly above .500. As for Malenstyn, he’s got six points (three goals and three assists) in 13 games. He’s also getting some time on the power play. While his scoring stats aren’t terrible, his minus-7 rating is a bit troublesome. However, there’s still plenty of season left, and at 18, Malenstyn still has growing potential. It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the season brings for him.
As for last weekend, Malenstyn scored an assist and was named third star, in Calgary’s 3-1 win over Seattle. See the highlight below (Malenstyn assists on the first goal).
Garrett Pilon: Center for the Kamloops Blazers (#41) of the WHL; drafted third round, 87th overall in 2016
Pilon has been a pleasant surprise as a Caps prospect. He’s got 16 points in 20 game (three goals and 13 assists). He’s also a plus-6 and has had adequate time on the power play. Here’s a different breakdown of those three goals: one was on the power play, one was shorthanded and the third was a game-winner. This kid might not score often, but when he does, he does it with style.
This past weekend, he scored three points — and was named the first star — in Kamloops’ 5-2 win over Prince Albert. Seems like these prospects have had no problem finding the net against Prince Albert this season. Anyway, in the below highlight, Pilon scores at 1:30, and has a nice pick which leads to a goal at 3:17.
Brian Pinho: Junior center for Providence College (#26); drafted sixth round, 174th overall in 2013
Pinho and No. 19 Providence College didn’t play last weekend, but that doesn’t mean he gets skipped on the roundup. One of his standout stats last year was his strength on the faceoff dot. This season he’s managed to keep himself above .500 — .576 to be exact — through eight games. Not too shabby for the junior center. He’s also riding a five-game point streak. Mostly assists, but what do you expect? The Friars are back in action this weekend in a series against Northeastern.
Chase Priskie: Sophomore defenseman for Quinnipiac University (#13); drafted sixth round, 177th overall in 2016
Priskie has been a bit of a surprise defenseman. He definitely has a scorer’s touch with eight points in 10 games (one goal and seven assists). He’s also a plus-5, which is definitely a more promising stat for a defenseman. In this past weekend’s games against Dartmouth and No. 11 Harvard, Priskie not four total assists. He’s also got at least one point in three of his past four games. That sort of consistently certainly doesn’t hurt.
And now for the highlights. In Friday’s 6-3 win over Dartmouth, Priskie scored three assists for No. 4 Quinnipiac (the first goal, at 0:34, then the immediately following goal)
In Saturday’s 4-2 win over Harvard, Priskie assists on the first goal
Damien Riat: Center/right wing for the Geneve-Servette HC of the National Swiss League; drafted fourth round, 117 overall in 2016
Riat is another decent scorer. He’s playing in the Swiss league, so it’s high quality hockey (this is the same league Brooks Laich played in during the last lockout). Probably even more impressive, this is the same league that got Auston Matthews to go first overall in the draft. Leave the fact that they both play in the Toronto organization out of this. Back to Riat. He’s 19 and was drafted in the fourth round, so don’t expect Auston Matthews-levels from him, but his eight points (three goals, five assists) in 21 games is a decent foundation. We’ll see what can happen once the Caps can get more of their claws into him.
As for last weekend, he had an assist in the Geneve-Servett’s 3-2 win. The team is back in action Tuesday.
Ilya Samsonov: Goaltender for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL; drafted first round, 22nd overall in 2015
Samsonov is still solidly holding down the backup role for Mettalurg. So far, he’s only played 11 games, but in those 11 games, he has yet to record a regulation loss (he has one shootout loss). So far, he’s let in 18 goals on 222 shots for a .919 save percentage. Last weekend, he helped Mettalurg to a 5-3 win over HC Lada. He stopped 33 of 36 shots. The last time he played was Oct. 26, a game Samsonov also won 3-2. Pretty consistent, especially as a backup.
Joans Siegenthaler: Defenseman for the ZSC Lions of the National Swiss League; drafted second round, 57th overall in 2015
Editor’s note: I don’t get the hype around Jonas Siegenthaler. That said, someone somewhere must be buying what he’s selling because he stuck around training camp until pretty much the very end. So props to him. However, since returning to ZSC and the Swiss league (fun fact: this was the exact team that Auston Matthews played for), Siegenthaler has played seven games, has zero points, two penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating. Not impressed just yet, but there’s clearly someone out there with more hockey knowledge who sees potential from him. So good luck with everything, kid.
Steve Spinner: Sophomore right wing for University of Nebraska-Omaha (#26); drafted sixth round, 159th overall in 2014
Spinner is having a pretty solid sophomore season. In 10 games, he’s scored eight points (two goals and six assists), including one goal on the power play. Speaking of the power play, he’s getting good time on the power play and penalty kill, since last week he notched a short-handed assist. He’s also got a plus-4 rating, so he’s definitely become more consistently offensive compared to last season.
Over the weekend, Nebraska-Omaha put a beat-down on Miami-Ohio (the team current Hershey Bear Riley Barber used to play for — ha ha, suckers, he’s ours now), defeating the Redhawks 6-4 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday.
In Friday’s game, Spinner recorded an assist and a goal (at 2:12 and 3:01, respectively).
In Saturday’s game, he recorded an assist (at 3:09 in the below video).
Dmitri Zaitsev: Defenseman for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL; drafted seventh round, 207th overall in 2016
Zaitsev is a Russian who just signed with Moose Jaw of the WHL. In some ways, this is better than playing in the KHL. While the KHL can be more competitive with older players, Zaitsev is young and it’s almost better for him to get used to the North American style of hockey. Sure, Kuznetsov played years in the KHL and his NHL adjustment period was basically zero (and of course Ovechkin pretty much hit the ground running), but back to Zaitsev. Playing in the WHL doesn’t seem like a bad move for him, and he seems to be a little assist machine. Yes, Moose Jaw has lost its past three games, but in 18 games played, he has 10 assists and a plus-3 rating. Not bad considering the Warriors have been beat 8-7 (in overtime) and 6-2 in the past month. Clearly he’s doing something right, so keep it up, kid.
As a refresher, Zaitsev assists at 0:57.