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Caps Prospect Roundup: College Rules
While you’re prepping to stuff yourself with Turkey (or if you’re Canadian, waiting for the Americans to finish their Thanksgiving), now is the perfect time to catch up with the Caps prospects. This week, as seems to be a trend, the college Caps prospects dominated the stat sheet. Well, the college players and Connor Hobbs. Seriously, that kid is straight dominating the WHL. Also in this week’s roundup, one of the Caps’ European prospects had a good week.
Don’t forget, starting this week, updates are given on players who did something worth noting, so not all prospects will appear in this roundup. Please don’t panic.
SHANE GERSICH: Sophomore center (#19) for University of North Dakota; drafted fifth round, 134th overall in 2014
Last week featured Gersich’s amazing, Patrick Kane-esque spin-o-rama goal. This week, he continued his dominance of the NCAA. This past weekend featured a series between No. 5 North Dakota and No. 15 St. Cloud State. North Dakota won 4-0 and 3-0 (hope this makes you happy during your recovery, T.J. Oshie). In Friday’s game, Gersich scored his first collegiate hattrick. However, in Saturday’s game, the slacker sophomore ONLY scored one goal. Yes, that means he scored four goals in two games. Looks like there’s a good chance Zach Sanford won’t be the youngest on the team next year.
As if four goals in one weekend isn’t impressive enough, let’s see how Gersich’s 10 goals and 18 points compare with the rest of the league (because he’s obviously leading North Dakota in goals and points): Gersich is tied for ninth in the NCAA in scoring, but his 10 goals have him tied for fourth. Should the Fighting Hawks make their way back to the playoffs, it’s no doubt Gersich will be one of those big impact players. It’s amazing what a player can do when he earns himself a bigger leadership role.
Friday’s game highlights (Gersich scores at the beginning, 1:23 and 2:01 – this one’s pretty):
Saturday’s game highlights (Gersich scores at 1:14):
CONNOR HOBBS: Defenseman (#44) for the Regina Pats of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 143th overall in 2015
Speaking of dominating Caps prospects … Hobbs is dominating the WHL. The 6-foot-1 defenseman is currently sitting at 13th in the WHL in scoring (but has played at least three fewer games than the other six players he’s tied with), and leads all defensemen in scoring.
This weekend alone, he scored four goals and two assists in three games. He was also named the second star in the Pats’ 5-3 loss to Victoria on Saturday. It’s clear the 19-year-old has outgrown junior hockey and is ready for at least the AHL. Unfortunately, Regina leads its conference with a 16-1-3-0 record (win-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss), so it’s unlikely Hobbs’ season will be over in time to join Hershey’s squad. Still, he’s pretty fun to watch. It’s also been five games since he’s taken a penalty, so it seems like he’s matured, a trait that’s obviously necessary for a defenseman.
Click here for highlights from Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Edmonton (Hobbs assists on the goal at 1:45 and scores at 2:19)
Click here for Saturday’s game highlights (Hobbs scores at 2:04 and 4:33)
Click here for highlights from Sunday’s 8-3 win over Vancouver (Hobbs scores the game-winning goal at 1:16)
BECK MALENSTYN: Center (#11) for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 145th overall in 2016
Deciding to only write about the Caps prospects who were productive was a good idea to saving time writing about stagnant players. Unfortunately, all these prospects seem to be routinely producing. Good for the future of the Caps, exhausting for the reporters. Pity party over. On to Malenstyn. He’s been one of those quietly consistent players. While he’s not scoring hattricks every weekend, he’s been producing as regularly as possible. His 20th-place Hitmen have been struggling lately, posting two losses and a 4-2 win over Kootenay last week. While Malenstyn was kept off the scoreboard in the losses, he rebounded in Saturday’s win, scoring two goals and getting first star honors. Through 17 games, the 6-foot-2 center has eight points (five goals and three assists).
GARRETT PILON: Center (#41) for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL; drafted third round, 87th overall in 2016
Pilon is another of the lesser-known scorers. Sure, he was just drafted so not everyone knows his name, but you should. In 23 games, the 18-year-old center has 20 points (four goals and 16 assists). He also has a plus-11, helped by the two games where he finished plus-3. One of those games happened last weekend in Saturday’s 6-4 win over Spokane. That was also the game where he scored the game-winning goal and received first star honors. This is the second time in the past two weeks where Pilon has scored the game-winning goal.
Highlights from Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime win over Everett (Pilon drives the net at 1:04 and 1:50, which leads to his assist)
Click here for Saturday’s highlights (Pilon assists at 1:30 and 2:16, and scores at 2:39)
BRIAN PINHO: Junior center (#26) for Providence College; drafted sixth round, 174th overall in 2013
After last week’s bye, Pinho and his Providence College Friars were back in action over the weekend when they faced Northeastern. Pinho, now a junior, has proved he’s the go-to guy to take faceoffs. And he’s pretty good at them. Through 10 games, he’s averaging 0.576 on the faceoff dot, including winning 13 of 20 in Saturday’s game for a 65 percent success. He’s also got 10 points through those 10 games (three goals, seven assists). Oh, and by the way, Pinho is also riding a seven-game point streak.
Highlights from Friday’s 5-4 loss to Northeastern (Pinho scores at 1:19):
Highlights from Saturday’s 5-4 win (Pinho assists on the goal at 1:14):
ILYA SAMSONOV: Goaltender (#30) for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL; drafted first round, 22nd overall in 2015
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Samsonov in net, but he started (and finished) both games last week. Oh yeah, and he’s undefeated, posting a 9-0-1 record. Sure, he’s only 19 years old, but someone give this kid more starts. The sooner he can get to North America and into the Caps’ system, the better. He’s proved he’s a steady hand who can win games. Last season, there were many games he came in relief and lead Metallurg to a win. As for last week’s games, he gave up one goal on 78 shots. He stopped 42 of 43 shots Saturday in Metallurg’s 5-1 win, and then all 35 on Monday in the team’s 5-0 win. Seriously, how soon can this kid hop the pond and join the team?
Saturday’s game highlights (just watch the whole thing):
Monday’s game highlights (Samsonov makes an acrobatic save at 2:25):
STEVE SPINNER: Sophomore right wing (#26) for University of Nebraska-Omaha; drafted sixth round, 159th overall in 2014
Spinner is another one of the Caps’ prospects that’s riding a point streak. Last weekend, he extended his streak to four games with two goals in Friday’s 6-4 loss to No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, and an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Bulldogs. Spinner is also getting significant time on the penalty kill and top-ranked power play. In fact, five of his past seven points were scored on the power play. As you’ll see in the highlights below, he’s got “his” spot and he’s real good at scoring from there. Now why does that sound familiar?
In terms of pure production, though, Spinner is having a statistically better season. By the end of last season, he amassed 11 points (five goals and six assists). This year, however, that’s how many points the sophomore has through 12 games. So far, he’s scored four goals and seven assists.
Friday’s highlights (Spinner scores at 0:56 and 1:14):
Saturday’s highlights (Spinner makes a nice block at 0:32 and assists on the goal at 1:05):
AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY: Left wing (#41) for Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey Allsvenskan league; drafted fifth round, 147 overall, in 016
It was brought to our attention that we left off Jonsson-Fjallby last week. That wasn’t entirely a mistake. He’s been bumping between Djurgardens’ J20 and elite team, making it harder to track his progress, but in the interest of giving everyone an equal opportunity, we’ll do our best to track his progress. That said, he’s played 22 games this season and has scored 22 points (12 goals and 10 assists). Pretty good stats, especially for an 18-year-old playing in one of Sweden’s elite leagues. Plus, the kid rocks a mean man bun (see below).