Caps Prospect Roundup: And Then There Were Six

Posted March 30, 2017
Caps prospects

The number of Caps prospects left playing, and on the hunt for a championship, is slowly dwindling. Over the weekend, both Shane Gersich and Brian Pinho ended their postseason quests. Now all that’s left are the Canadians and the Russians.

Shane GersichSHANE GERSICH: Sophomore center (#19) for University of North Dakota; drafted fifth round, 134th overall in 2014

The road came to an end for Gersich and defending-champion North Dakota in the form of a 4-3 double-overtime loss to No. 6 Boston University (who later fell to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Fighting Hawks came down from a 3-1 deficit late in the third to send the game to overtime. About three minutes in, it looked as if they had won, but a review of the goal proved they had been offsides on the play. An overtime-and-a-half later, Boston scored. Gersich didn’t manage a point in the game, but he notched eight shots.

Gersich finishes the season with 21 goals, four of which on the power play, and 16 assists in 40 games for a 0.925 points-per-game average. He had a 13.7 shooting percentage, throwing 153 shots on goal.

Connor HobbsCONNOR HOBBS: Defenseman (#44) for the Regina Pats of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 143th overall in 2015

Beck MalenstynBECK MALENSTYN: Center (#11) for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL; drafted fifth round, 145th overall in 2016

Spoiler alert: Malenstyn and poor Calgary have been throttled so far by Hobbs and Regina, so their updates will be combined. Let’s start with Hobbs. Regina leads its conference quarterfinal series against Calgary 3-0. Hobbs has recorded a very consistent two assists in each game. You want to talk even more consistency, the Pats have also scored five goals in all three games, winning Game 1 5-2, Game 2 5-1 and Game 3 5-2. With the first elimination game in the series Thursday night, it’s likely the Hitmen’s season ends here.

Malenstyn may have been one of Calgary’s leading scorers coming into the season, but he and his teammates just didn’t stand a chance against the high-flying Pats. However, there is some good news. Malenstyn defensive game looks like it’s gotten better over the course of the series. The first game he was a minus-4, the second he was minus-2 and the third he was minus-1. Not exactly a silver lining, but more like a slightly lighter dark gray lining. Sorry, guys.

Highlights from Game 1:

Highlights from Game 2:

Click here for highlights from Game 3.

Lucas JohansenLUCAS JOHANSEN: Defenseman (#7) for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL; drafted first round, 28th overall in 2016

Kelowna has been having all the luck in this series against Kamloops. The Rockets currently lead the Blazers three games to one with the series headed back to Kelowna. Kamloops got its sole win at home. For the most part, Johansen has been kept pretty quiet. He recorded an assist in Game 1, a 4-0 win, but since then has been kept off the scoresheet entirely. No goals, no assists, no plus/minus, no penalty minutes. Although, considering the loss was a 4-1 decision, consider it a good thing he didn’t have a minus rating.

Click here for highlights from Game 1.

Click here for highlights from Game 2.

Garrett PilonGARRETT PILON: Center (#41) for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL; drafted third round, 87th overall in 2016

Like his Caps prospect buddy, Pilon also has only recorded one assist this series, although his came during a 3-2 loss for Kamloops in Game 2. While the Blazers’ season could come to an end Friday night in the first elimination game, it might not be the last hockey game Pilon plays this season. The Caps announced Thursday that they signed the 18-year-old to a three-year, entry-level contract. According to a news release, Pilon will report to Hershey once his WHL season is complete. In case anyone was wondering, Hershey does have two home games this weekend, so keep a lookout.

Highlights from Game 3:

Click here for highlights from Game 4.

Brian PinhoBRIAN PINHO: Junior center (#26) for Providence College; drafted sixth round, 174th overall in 2013

Pinho and Providence’s run wasn’t quite as heart-breaking as North Dakota’s. The Friars fell 3-0 to No. 2 Harvard (who have since beat No. 15 Air Force and move on to play Minnesota-Duluth). Pinho led Providence in faceoff percentage, but had one of his worst nights, going 9-for-20 on the dot for a success rate of 0.450.

Pinho finishes the season with 12 goals, four of which were on the power play and one shorthanded, and 28 assists in 39 games for a 1.026 points-per-game average. He also 420 of 766 faceoffs with a 54.8 win percentage. Pinho will be a senior next year, so we’ll have to watch closely for what the Caps plan to do with him.

Ilya SamsonovILYA SAMSONOV: Goaltender (#30) for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL; drafted first round, 22nd overall in 2015

After nine whole days without playing a game, Mettalurg was back in action last week. With its return to action, there’s good news and some slightly not-as-good news. Here’s the good news: Mettalurg has swept yet another opponent, this time AK Bars, 4-0. Mettalurg won 5-3, 3-2, 3-2 and a decisive 4-1. The team will have until April 8 to prepare for SKA. Unfortunately,  Samsonov did not see a second of playing time during that series. That’s the not-as-good news. Sort of a bummer, but just being in the playoff atmosphere is good, right? Maybe? Fingers crossed Hershey hangs in there so Samsonov can … ride another bench behind Pheonix Copley? One problem at a time. For now, Samsonov’s focus is on SKA and winning another championship.

Dmitri ZaitsevDMITRI ZAITSEV: Defenseman (#95) for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL; drafted seventh round, 207th overall in 2016

Zaitsev and Moose Jaw are in the most contested series of the five WHL prospects. The Warriors’ series is tied at two games each. Like most of his fellow Caps prospects, Zaitsev also has recorded one assist in the series, in a 4-3 win. While he posted a plus-1 rating in that game, he posted a minus-1 in all the others, giving him an overall minus-2 rating this playoff series. Not the best, but if Moose Jaw is able to move on to the next round, it’s something to improve on. It’s also his rookie season, so there’s a bit of a learning curve.

Highlights from Game 1:

Highlights from Game 2:

Highlights from Game 3:

Highlights from Game 4: