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Prospect report: Two Caps prospects earn invites to international tournaments

Prospect report: Two Caps prospects earn invites to international tournaments

Hershey update: 1-2-2-0, 6th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 1-0-2-0

The Hershey Bears earned their first win of the season and took points from all three of their games this week. Defenseman Colby Williams also registered his first career professional point with an assist in Hershey’s win over Bridgeport on Saturday.

Defenseman Madison Bowey continues to standout on both ends of the ice with a goal and an assist, but there remain aspects of his game in which he needs to improve.

Check out Bowey’s highlights from the team’s loss to Hartford on Wednesday:

Though he may not have registered any points, Bowey’s stickhandling talent is on full display. He also made a great play defensively as he swept a puck off the goal line behind Joe Cannata in the first period.

What you can also see, however, is that Bowey is prone to making some horrible turnovers. This can happen when players in the minors get overconfident. There’s no question whether Bowey will make it to the NHL, the only question is when. He’s clearly one of the most talented players on the roster in Hershey. Sometimes, players can reach a point in their development in which they become overconfident in their talent and it leads to sloppy mistakes.

Speaking of which, forward Jakub Vrana was a surprise healthy scratch for Hershey’s game Sunday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Vrana had a disappointing preseason with the Caps and showed that he needed to work on his puck distribution. He has two goals already this season, but his development bears watching.

Goalie Vitek Vanecek appears to be adjusting well to the AHL game. On Sunday in only his third career AHL start, Vanecek turned aside 33 of the 35 shots he faced. The only goals came on a deflection and on a penalty shot in overtime. You can see his highlights from the game here:

This game also featured Nathan Walker’s first goal of the season. The young Aussie plays a very physical style which, given his size, would make you believe he has very little chance of ever making the NHL. Yet, he showed he could go toe-to-toe with NHL players in the preseason and goals like the one he scored Sunday provide further proof that he will not get pushed around should the Caps ever have need of his services.

For an inside look at what it’s like to play for Hershey, check out this piece on Chocolate Hockey written by Caps prospect and Bears captain Garrett Mitchell.

RELATED: TROTZ ON THE CAPS' STRUGGLES: 'WE JUST NEED MORE PUSH'

Other prospect notes:

Goalie Ilya Samsonov has had an impressive start to the season in the KHL registering a 2.26 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. His performance has earned him a spot on Team Russia’s roster as announced Wednesday for the U20 Four-Nation Tournament held in Gothenburg, Sweden. The tournament will take place Nov. 4-6.

Another Caps prospect will participate in an international tournament as defenseman Connor Hobbs will play for Team WHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series.

The Canada Russia Series is an annual tournament in which Russian junior players play teams composed of players from each of the three junior leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (WHL, OHL and QMJHL). The series will consist of six games with each Canadian league playing two games. Team WHL will play on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.

Adam Carlson played in his first professional game on Tuesday as he started for the South Carolina Stingrays in a game against the Wichita Thunder. The Stingrays lost, but Carlson played well with 26 saves on 28 shots (the third goal was an empty-netter).

North Dakota is ranked No. 1 among college teams in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine college hockey poll and Caps prospect Shane Gersich is a major reason why. In their two wins this week, Gersich scored one goal and three assists.

Check out the highlights from North Dakota’s win over Bemidji State on Saturday in which Gersich registered three points.

Chase Priskie of Quinnipiac was the recipient of a dangerous hit last week that left him bleeding from a gash in his forehead. He did not play in either of his team’s games last week and his status still remains unclear.

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN GIVES YOUNG CAPS FAN IN EDMONTON A STICK

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!