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Caps Prospect Roundup: Team Europe Takes Center Stage
Last week’s Caps prospect roundup was all about the college prospects. This week, it was the Europeans who took over the spotlight. Without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy a trip across the pond.
KEVIN ELGESTAL: Winger (#21) for the Vita Hasten HC of the Swedish Hockey Allsvenskan league; drafted seventh round, 194th overall in 2014
Maybe you’ve noticed Elgestal has been missing from the past couple Caps prospect roundups. Well, that’s because he hasn’t been statistically doing anything worth mentioning. That all changed Dec. 3 when he recorded his first point of the season, an assist, in Vita Hasten’s 2-0 win over VIK Hockey. We’ll have to wait with baited breath to see if he continues this momentum and turns it into a scoring streak. Unfortunately, the stats aren’t in his favor. In addition to his one point in 19 games played, he’s also only recorded four shots on goal. Those numbers don’t scream “scoring guru,” but crazier things have happened. Vita Hasten has two games this week, so we’ll have to wait and see what Elgestal accomplishes.
SHANE GERSICH: Sophomore center (#19) for University of North Dakota; drafted fifth round, 134th overall in 2014
Technically speaking, it wasn’t JUST the Europeans who played well last week (although the number was higher than the North Americans). Gersich was one of those who played well. He and the No. 8 North Dakota Fighting Hawks played one game last week, a 4-3 win over Boston College in the College Hockey Showdown. Gersich recorded an assist on, you guessed it, the power play. Maybe the Caps should consider bringing him up to the big leagues now to jumpstart their power play. Couldn’t hurt. North Dakota faces No. 18 Western Michigan twice this weekend in a home series against the Broncos.
CONNOR HOBBS: Defenseman (#44) for the Regina Pats of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 143th overall in 2015
Last week, Regina played two games and scored a whopping 18 goals. Saturday’s game featured 12 in the Pats’ win over Prince Albert. On the weekend, Hobbs was a factor in three of those goals, scoring one on Saturday and assisting on two others in Sunday’s 6-3 win over Swift Current. You know who else the Caps need on their power play? Connor Hobbs. Two of Hobbs’s points this weekend came on the power play (including his goal). In fact, six of Hobbs’ last 10 points came on the power play; another point was scored shorthanded. This is one defenseman who will be exciting to watch at the professional level.
Highlights from Saturday’s game:
AXEL JONSSON-FJALLBY: Left wing (#41) for Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey Allsvenskan league; drafted fifth round, 147 overall, in 2016
This one’s a bit more of a retroactive recap. Forgot to include him last week, even though he’s been a busy bee. While he didn’t play last week, Jonsson-Fjallby has played 24 games this season and has found the back of the net 13 times. His 12 assists give him 25 points, averaging just more than a point per game. He also seems to be a bit of a renaissance man. Although listed as a left wing, he’s taken 35 faceoffs and won 21 of them for a 0.600 faceoff win percentage. Not too shabby. He, like the rest of his fellow Caps prospects, hasn’t been too shabby on the power play. Six of his goals have come a man up. Looks like that Caps’ key to special team success is sitting in the wings.
GARRETT PILON: Center (#41) for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL; drafted third round, 87th overall in 2016
Pilon is another (and the last) of the North Americans who lit up the scoresheet last week. Pilon recorded assists in all three of Kamloops’ games last week. He recorded three assists, including on the Blazers’ overtime goal in a 4-3 win over Seattle on Nov. 30, and recorded one assist each in the Kamloops’ 5-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday and 4-0 win over Brandon on Sunday. Pilon now has five points in his last three games and, coincidentally, is riding a three-game point streak. Looks like he finally found that scoring consistency. Kamloops plays two games this weekend, including one against fellow Caps prospect Beck Malenstyn.
Highlights from the Nov. 30 game:
Highlights from Sunday’s game:
DAMIEN RIAT: Center/right wing (#9) for the Geneve-Servette HC of the Nationall Swiss League; drafted fourth round, 117 overall in 2016
It’s been awhile since Riat earned himself a place in the roundup, but his two-goal performance Friday against SCL certainly earned him a nod. In Geneve-Servette’s 6-1 win, Riat scored what would become the game-winning goal and the eventual insurance goal. This season he has five goals through 29 games, but it seems like when he scores, he goes all out. Geneve-Servett plays two games this week, so we’ll have to wait and see if Riat’s scoring touch continues.
ILYA SAMSONOV: Goaltender (#30) for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL; drafted first round, 22nd overall in 2015
Not all news is good news, and that’s the case with Samsonov. Turns out Super Samsonov IS human after all. The Caps goaltending prospect finally lost a game this season, 3-2. He didn’t play in either of Metallurg’s two games since. Fingers crossed that this isn’t a long-term “benching.” Clearly the kid’s good. For now, we’ll just have to patiently (ish) wait for Samsonov’s next start, and with two games this week, that chance might come soon.
Highlights from the Nov. 29 loss:
JONAS SIEGENTHALER: Defenseman (#97)for the ZSC Lions of the National Swiss League; drafted second round, 57th overall in 2015
Siegenthaler is another Caps prospect who recently recorded his first point of the season. Unfortunately, it went accidentally unnoticed a couple of weeks ago. But don’t worry, he recorded another assist last weekend that won’t go unmentioned. As for Siegenthaler’s play overall, he appears to be a middle-of-the-pack defenseman, logging an average of 16 minutes a game. While he isn’t a go-to on the power play, he gets some decent penalty killing time. Clearly ZSC doesn’t expect him to be a high-scoring defenseman, but the coaches must trust his defensive abilities enough to let him get penalty killing time. At 6-foot-2, Siegenthaler could theoretically make it to the NHL, but he’ll definitely have some work and proving to do at the AHL level. With any luck, we’ll get to see him in action this year.
Friday’s highlights (Siegenthaler assists on the first goal):