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Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Nathan Walker

Capitals 2017-18 Prospect Preview: Nathan Walker

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF NATHAN WALKER IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

It's time to take a look at which top prospects have the tools to become full-time NHL players and what they have to do to get the call-up from Hershey.

Next up is Nathan Walker, who is on pace to become the first Australian to play in an NHL game.

PROSPECT PREVIEWS: Jakub Vrana | Chandler Stephenson | Christian Djoos

2017-18 CAPITALS PROSPECT PREVIEW: NATHAN WALKER

Position: Left Wing
Age: 23
Height: 5-8
Weight:186 pounds
Contract: Two-Way. Two-year, $1.3 Million (2017)

PROSPECT PODCAST: Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann

AHL Seasons: 4 (202 games)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 58 games, 11 goals, 12 assists
NHL Seasons: 0
2016-17 NHL Stats: None

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

Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:

After spending a few seasons in the minors, it looks like Nathan Walker’s time has finally arrived. 

Although nothing is set in stone, the 2014 third-round pick appears to be in good position to skate on the Caps’ fourth line in 2017-18, potentially in the spot previously occupied by Daniel Winnik.  

Walker is listed at 5 foot 8, 186-pounds, but he makes up for that lack of size by playing with a noticeable edge.

In fact, the Australian winger has on more than one occasion referred to himself as a bit of a “pest” on the ice. Indeed, Walker finishes his hits, stands up for his teammates and doesn’t back down. Last preseason, if you recall, he squared up with Andrew Shaw after Shaw plastered fellow prospect Connor Hobbs with a dangerous hit. That fight typified Walker’s game.  

Walker can put up stats, too. Two years ago in Hershey he amassed 17 goals and 24 assists in 73 games.

And it’s that mix of feistiness and offensive upside that makes him an intriguing player—and a solid candidate to lock down a spot on the opening night roster.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:

What He Has: "He plays with just a bit of an edge. I look at him and always think 'bulldog.'"

"He's willing to make those sacrifices, go into the hard areas, and net-front pressence is something this team will absolutely need, especially with the loss of Marcus Johansson. He goes into the coach's office and asks about areas he can improve in. He gets it. It works well in that locker room."

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Andre Burakovsky responds to demotion with his first goal of the season

Andre Burakovsky responds to demotion with his first goal of the season

Andre Burakovsky needed a spark. In seven games playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, Burakovsky had only two assists to show for his efforts.

In order to spark the young winger, Barry Trotz moved Andre Burakovsky to the third line. It looks like that was a good move.

In his first game on the third line on Friday, Burakovsky scored his first goal of the season as he wristed a blistering shot past Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek. Watch it in the player above.

The biggest issue for Burakovsky this season was waiting too long to get his shot off. Trotz's advice to him was, "Don't think too much." Burakovsky took those words to heart.

After taking the pass from Orlov, Burakovsky had room to work. Rather than waiting for the Red Wings to close the gap while aiming for the perfect shot, however, Burakovsky turned and immediately snapped the shot away.

It was a play he was not making in the first seven games. Will this goal spark the breakout season we have all been waiting for?

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Tarik's three stars: Andre Burakovsky rises to the challenge

Tarik's three stars: Andre Burakovsky rises to the challenge

DETROIT— Did the Caps ever need that.

Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play in overtime, and the Caps skated away with a 4-3 win over the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. The victory snapped Washington’s two-game losing streak.

My three stars of the game.

1-Andre Burakovsky

Andre Burakovsky scored his first goal of the season in the second period, then made a nifty pass to T.J. Oshie with 1:01 left to play to tie the game 3-3 and force an extra session. As sweet as the assist was, the goal probably meant more to No. 65. With 50 seconds remaining in the second period and the Caps in desperate need of something, Burakovsky controlled a pass from Dmitry Orlov a ripped a shot through a Detroit player and past Petr Mrazek’s short side to send the game into the third period knotted 1-1.

RELATED: BURAKOVSKY RESPONDS TO DEMOTION WITH HIS FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON

2-Tomas Tatar

The Slovakian winger tied the game 2-2 early in the third period with a beautiful, long range redirection that found its way past Braden Holtby. Tatar then struck on the power later in the final frame, finishing a world class crossing zone pass from Henrik Zetterberg that skated the Wings to a 3-2 lead.

3-Jay Beagle

Burakovsky got off the schneid. Then Beagle followed suit just 1:25 into the third period…shorthanded no less. With the Caps killing off a penalty, Alex Chiasson made a diving play to get the puck up to Beagle, who raced away on a breakaway. Beagle made no mistake once he got within striking distance. The assist marked Chiasson’s first point as a Capital.

Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

MORE CAPITALS: BOWEY ALREADY LOOKS LIKE A MUCH IMPROVED PLAYER