The World Junior Championship begins on Dec. 26 and two Capitals prospects will be there competing. Here's who you need to be watching and a schedule of their games:
Connor McMichael, Canada
1 p.m. on Dec. 26 vs. USA
1 p.m. on Dec. 28 vs. Russia
9 a.m. on Dec. 30 vs. Germany
1 p.m. on Dec. 31 vs. Czech Republic
Martin Hugo Has, Czech Republic
9 a.m. on Dec. 26 vs. Russia
9 a.m. on Dec. 28 vs. Germany
1 p.m. on Dec. 30 vs. USA
1 p.m. on Dec. 31 vs. Canada
Other prospect notes
- The tournament is over for Aliaksei Protas who represented Belarus in the World Junior Division I, Group A championship, a division below the main tournament. Belarus played in the final game of the tournament, a 7-2 win over Denmark in which Protas scored two goals and two assists. Those four points put him in a tie as the highest scorer of the tournament with seven points in five games.
- When McMichael returns to London in the OHL, he will try to continue what has thus far been a breakout season for him with 25 goals and 34 assists in 27 games. Why has he found so much success this season? Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News says it is a product of the confidence he took from Caps' training camp where he studied the team's centers and how they play. He also spoke a lot with John Carlson who is a former London Knight.
- Prospect expert Corey Pronman of The Athletic is going over his grades from the 2016 NHL draft. In that draft, Washington selected Lucas Johansen, Garrett Pilon, Damien Riat, Beck Malenstyn, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Chase Priskie and Dmitriy Zaitsev. Let's just say Pronman was not overly impressed with that haul. Sure, there are players who could end up seeing NHL time from that group, but Pronman's analysis is that none of these players are definitely NHL players. In that, he is correct. Interestingly, Malenstyn and Jonsson-Fjallby, both taken in the fifth round, are likely the two closest to being NHL ready.
- The Hershey Bears are enjoying a six-game winning streak that has them up to third place in the Atlantic Division. Over the course of those six games, Mike Sgarbossa and Christian Djoos have led the team with seven points and goalie Vitek Vanecek is 4-0-0. Special teams are contributing as well as the Bears have scored a power play goal in four straight and the PK is clicking at 91.2-percent in those six wins.
- Catch a glimpse into the life of defenseman Martin Fehervary who is enjoying a successful rookie season in Hershey.
- Hershey head coach Spencer Carbery has been very consistent with his goalie rotation from last season up to now. Unless there was a call-up, it was always an even split between his two starters. Last year it was Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov, this year Vanecek and Pheonix Copley. That seems to have shifted a bit of late because of the strong play of Vanecek who started both of Hershey's games on Saturday and Sunday and now has four straight. In his past four starts, Vanecek has won all four including one shutout and recorded a 1.00 GAA and a .965 save percentage.
- Defenseman Bobby Nardella scored his first professional goal in Sunday's game off a one-timer. After dealing with an injury and with ice time limited because of how many defensemen are currently on the Bears' roster, he has only played in seven games. He has remained productive however, with six points in those seven games. Nardella's play has helped improve Hershey's power play from last in the AHL at 8.9-percent up to 28th at 12.2-percent. Check out the goal below.
- Forward Brian Pinho scored one goal and two assists in Hershey's two games over the past weekend. That brings his totals for the season up to four goals and eight assists in 28 games. Why is that significant? Because Pinho finished last season with four goals and eight assists...in 73 games.
- Tobias Geisser is back in Switzerland after being loaned by the Caps to EV Zug. Geisser was limited to only seven games for Hershey this season and moving him back to Switzerland was the only way to get him consistent playing time due to a crowded Hershey roster. Geisser talked about his time in North America and how the decision to loan him back home to Switzerland came about in an interview with the publication Luzerner Zeitung.
- Tyler Lewington spent much of the early part of the season in Washington with the Capitals. Despite being teammates with Alex Ovechkin, he finds himself too nervous to ask him for a signed stick.
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