Hershey update: 28-14-3-7, 2nd in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 1-1-0-0
Hershey did not enjoy quite the same success offensively as they did the week prior, scoring only five goals in two games. Two players who did enjoy an impressive week were Travis Boyd and Riley Barber.
Boyd and Barber currently rank second and third on the team in points respectively with 37 and 36. Boyd has adjusted well in his first professional year and recorded two points in the Bears' win over Springfield on Saturday. Who does he credit his successful transition to? Capitals great Olaf Kolzig.
Kolzig is the player development coach in Hershey and has done a remarkable job this season considering how much young talent joined the Bears this season.
"The big thing he’s done for me is teaching me how to be that very good pro,” Boyd said in an article by the voice of the Bears, Scott Stuccio. “He’s also just there for you. He’s there for any concerns or comments, or anything you have on what things are acceptable and what things aren’t. He’s always there for you over the phone, too, and texting us to see how things are going. He’s making the transition from college to pro as easy as it could be.”
That's an article definitely worth reading if you're interested in the Caps' prospect development.
Barber tallied a point in each of Hershey's games (one goal, one assist), extending his point streak to seven games. To read more on why the Caps may have gotten a steal in Barber, who they drafted in the sixth round (167th overall) in the 2012 Draft, here's a profile by The Hockey Writers.
Other prospect notes:
Ben Lutz of The Hockey Writers ranked the Caps ten best prospects in an article last week. It's a tremendous look at the team's young talent and certainly worth your time to read. Here are some thoughts on his list.
First, I'm taking out Stanislav Galiev and Philipp Grubauer. When you make the Caps roster full-time, you're not a prospect in my book. That may not be fair for a player like Galiev who is caught in no-man's land thanks to his waiver status, but he is more of a known quantity than the other young players.
Jonas Siegenthaler, Chandler Stephenson and Connor Hobbs are named honorable mentions on the list, falling just outside the top ten. The analysis on Stephenson is spot on, he has the talent to be a bottom-six NHL forward, but is undersized for that role. I'm not as high on Hobbs as Lutz, but it's hard to argue with results. Just about every time Hobbs is on the ice, he produces. That was true this past week as he scored in each of Regina's games in his return from a concussion.
Lutz is a bit harsh on Siegenthaler, who I believe is the best of the three honorable mentions, saying "Many scouts and general managers love Siegenthaler for his underrated mobility for a player his size, but I am not there yet when it comes to his goal-scoring ability."
Siegenthaler wasn't drafted for his goal-scoring, he was drafted for his defense. I look at Siegenthaler as potentially a more mobile Brooks Orpik. He has a long way to go to get to that point, but If that's the type of player the Caps have, no one is going to be worried that he's not producing on the score sheet.
10. Travis Boyd: His move to Hershey was overshadowed by Jakub Vrana last season, but Boyd has proven he has real NHL potential.
9. Vitek Vanecek: This is too high. Vanecek's save percentage in the ECHL is .905 and he seems to be losing favor with the coaches. He has played in only two of South Carolina's last seven games as Mark Dekanich has taken over as the team's top netminder. I'm not going to bury a 19-year-old and say he'll never make it, but I haven't seen much improvement in his first season in North America.
8. Christian Djoos: Says Lutz, "Weighing in at 162 pounds, Djoos will always have his critics when it comes to his adaptability to the smaller ice surfaces and hard-hitting style of the NHL." You can count me in that group. He has all the talent in the world, but if he doesn't add more muscle he is going to get pushed around in the NHL.
(6 and 7 are Grubauer and Galiev)
5. Connor Carrick: If you've been reading my Prospect Reports long enough, you know I don't have much faith in Carrick becoming a full-time NHLer. He has had opportunities with the Caps this year and failed to impress.
4. Madison Bowey: There is nothing I don't like about Bowey. He has the size, the skill and the instincts. He just needs more time to cook in Hershey.
3. Riley Barber: Maybe a bit of a reach here to put him in front of Bowey, though he is having a tremendous season and is probably the most NHL ready of anyone on this list. I project him as a second or third line forward in the NHL.
2. Ilya Samsonov: Every time he plays he is tremendous. The problem is, he is used sparingly. He was a backup on the Russian Junior team and is a backup in the KHL. His potential alone is what puts him so high on the list.
1. Jakub Vrana: No argument from me. Vrana adjusted well in his first season in North America and didn't miss a beat after returning from wrist surgery.
After dissecting Lutz's list, I better put my money where my mouth is and give my own, so here is my top ten:
Honorable Mentions: Connor Hobbs, Brian Pinho, Connor Carrick, Tim McGauley
10. Thomas DiPauli
9. Christian Djoos
8. Zach Sanford
7. Chandler Stephenson
6. Jonas Siegenthaler
5. Riley Barber
4. Travis Boyd
3. Madison Bowey
2. Ilya Samsonov
1. Jakub Vrana
MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin scores twice, Williams nets GWG in OT win vs. Isles