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Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Madison Bowey

Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Madison Bowey


As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL regular season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir will analyze potential breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and the rest of the Metropolitan Division. 

Today they're discussing Madison Bowey, a 2013 second round pick that the Caps hope will be ready for everyday duty at some point this winter.

PROSPECT PREVIEWS: Jakub Vrana | Nathan Walker | Chandler Stephenson | Christian Djoos


Position: Defenseman
Age: 22
Height: 6-2
Weight: 206
Contract: Entry-level conract, $703,333 cap hit, restricted free agent in 2018

AHL Seasons: 2 (104 games)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 34 games, 3 goals, 11 assists, +6, 28 PIMs

PREVIEWING 2017-18 BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: Tom Wilson | Brett Connolly | Andre Burakovsky

Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:

If Christian Djoos sits atop the Caps’ list of prospects on D, Madison Bowey isn’t too far behind.

Bowey, a 2013 second rounder, has the size, skill and demeanor of an everyday NHL blue liner. The question as training camp approaches, though, is whether he’s had enough pro seasoning.

“He looks like an NHLer,” Hershey Bears Head Coach Troy Mann told Jill and Tarik on CSN’s Capitals Faceoff Podcast recently. “He’s got that demeanor out there. He has that size and the physical tools to play at the NHL level. Certainly his consistency is something we’ve worked on the last two seasons.”

Bowey, 22, appeared in only 34 regular games for Hershey last season because of a lacerated ankle tendon that he suffered in late December. The injury, which required surgery, sidelined the Winnipeg native until mid-March. Then, just as he was getting back into the groove, he took a puck off the face in early April and missed a few more games.

At the time of the ankle injury Bowey, by many accounts, was playing his best hockey as a professional. By the time the playoffs rolled around, though, he was still struggling to get caught up.  

“To say that there was some inconsistency—we’re not going to lie and say there wasn’t—but it understandable when he missed 3 ½ months,” Mann said.

The injuries—plus a veteran-laden lineup in Washington that stayed healthy for almost all of last year—prevented Bowey from getting into an NHL game last season. When he gets to training camp in September, though, the door will be wide open.

As things stand now, the Capitals have five defensemen under contract (Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson and Taylor Chorney) and a couple of openings, if you include the spare.

Among the players expected to be in the mix are Aaron Ness, Djoos, Bowey and Tyler Lewington...with Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs and Jonas Siegenthaler just behind that group.

Mann really likes Djoos’ chances of seizing a spot. But he also says that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Bowey force his way to the forefront, as well. 

“There’s a spot there for him,” Mann said. “He’s a right-shot D with size, and can move the puck. So I wouldn’t be shy about saying that if he has a great training camp, you could see him cracking the lineup.”  

RELATED: Ranking the 10 best Capitals players of all time

Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:

What He Has: “He’s a smooth skater, his first pass is exceptional, and I think fans will see that right away when they look at his highlights. He’s a puck mover [and] he has the puck a lot.”

What He Needs to Do: “That’s going to be the difference—a good training camp and better than a solid preseason. That would put him over the hump, to show that he has the consistency to play in the NHL.”

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JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?


JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?

In the very first edition of JJ vs. the fans bold predictions, no one got a single prediction right. Well, there’s nowhere to go but up!

The Caps hit the road on Friday to take on the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus). Let’s check out our predictions.


Fan predictions:

For those who don't know, a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight all in one game. Tom Wilson gets the promotion to the top line tonight and Wade is expecting big things. I am not so bullish on it. I think adjusting to a new line and a new side, Wilson has moved from right wing to left, will take Wilson some time.

The Caps face former defenseman Mike Green and Garrett thinks he is going to get one past Braden Holtby. This is pretty bold considering Green has yet to record a single point in five games against his former squad.

The Capitals’ defense has had its problems of late and it has certainly dragged down the penalty kill. Remember how hot the penalty kill was to start the season? Now the Caps rank 19th in the league at 78.6-percent. Still, two power play goals is a lot considering Detroit ranks 24th in the NHL with a success rate of only 14.8-percent.


JJ’s predictions:

The Caps will allow more than two goals

Washington’s defense is not as bad as they looked against Philadelphia, but it isn't as good as they looked against Toronto either. One thing that helped against the Maple Leafs was that the game was at home. Barry Trotz could get the favorable matchups for his rookie defensemen as his team had the second change. That won’t be true on Friday in Detroit. The defense will struggle as a result.

John Carlson will play more than he did against Toronto

See above. Carlson logged a hefty 27:33 on Tuesday and that was with the Caps getting the second change. The Caps will rely even more on him on the road.

Washington will get at least two goals form players not named Ovechkin, Oshie and Backstrom

Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom have 17 of the Caps’ 22 goals this season. Perhaps the big three will have another big night, but eventually the team will need someone else to step up and score. Whether because the team emphasizes it or through just dumb luck, the Caps are going to record a few points from a few of their other players on Friday.

Want to see your tweet among the fan predictions for the next game? Tweet your prediction to @JJReganNBCS every game day! Remember, we don’t just want to know who will win or the score, we want to see specifics. Be bold!

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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player


In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

Madison Bowey’s second game went a lot better than his first and it’s not just because the Caps allowed only two goals as opposed to eight.

Despite being thrust into a significant role in his first taste of NHL experience, Bowey seemed to settle in a bit in his second contest even as it came against the NHL’s best offense in the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Just everything in the first game felt like it happened so quick, I think,” Bowey said Thursday after the team’s practice. “It was obviously nice to come back in Washington and play in the home in front of the home crowd, get a practice in on Monday before the game Tuesday with the team. Just all the little factors that went into it definitely helped and I think it definitely felt a lot smoother out there on the ice.”


Playing at home definitely has its benefits for the coaching staff as they try to protect the rookie defensemen. Home teams get the chance to change after the visiting team allowing the coaches to pick the matchups they want for Bowey.

More favorable matchups certainly helped him, but Bowey also seemed to play with more confidence and a level of calm that was not there against Philadelphia. For Bowey, the difference was having time to settle in and practice with the team.

“Obviously this team is one of the veteran teams in the league so to be able to practice against top players in the league, it goes a long way,” Bowey said.


Bowey was called up for a Saturday game in Philadelphia after Matt Niskanen suffered a hand injury Friday in New Jersey. That means he quickly had to join the team and jump into the lineup for his first ever NHL game without any practice with the Caps at all.

Bowey now has two practices and two games under his belt and even a team-building day at FBI training. The effect that has had on his game was noticeable on Tuesday. It should be even more clear on Friday as the team travels to face the Detroit Red Wings.

“I feel myself improving every day,” Bowey said. “It forces you to really work hard and be on your top every day you come to the rink so for me, just having those two practices already have been huge. I feel the development's getting a lot better early.”