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 Christian Djoos, a player who Capitals fans have been waiting to see in Washington for a long time.

PROSPECT PREVIEWS: Jakub Vrana | Nathan Walker | Chandler Stephenson


Position: Defenseman
Age: 22
Height: 6-0
Weight: 164 pounds
Contract: Two-Way in 2017-18, One-Way in 2018-19. Two-year, $1.3 Million (2017)

AHL Seasons: 3 (129 games)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 66 games, 13 goals, 45 assists, +9 plus/minus

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


Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:

Christian Djoos had a fantastic season last year, racking up 13 goals and 45 assists in just 66 games with the Hershey Bears.

In fact, his assist total was tied for the most among all AHL defensemen and his point total was third—two off the lead. (The guys ahead of him, by the way, are longtime AHL vets; Djoos is 22.)

After producing a season like that, the Caps are expected to give the 2012 seventh rounder every opportunity to earn a spot in Washington this fall. And given the team’s need to replace Nate Schmidt, it’s possible Djoos’ role could become a significant one—if, of course, he proves he can handle the duties of an NHL blue-liner at his size.

The Caps list Djoos at 6-foot, 164-pounds.

Winger T.J. Oshie is currently the lightest player on the roster at 189 pounds, while Taylor Chorney is the lightest defenseman at 191 pounds.

Bears Coach Troy Mann says he’s confident that Djoos’ can compensate for that lack of size with his high hockey I.Q. and savvy ability to avoid big and unnecessary collisions.  

“He doesn’t get a hit a lot,” Mann told CSN’s Capitals Faceoff Podcast this week.

The Caps have five defensemen under contract (Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Chorney) for next season. That’ll leave a couple of spots open, including one for a spare, when camp opens in September—and Djoos figures to head up the list of players jockeying for a job.

“I think that Djoos is a perfect candidate when you start looking at the [openings on] defense,” Mann said. “No. 1, he’s a great puck mover. You’ve really got to come to a hockey game and watch him from up top to appreciate his skill set, and his ability to break pucks out. I think the NHL in the last couple of years has certainly gone in a different direction. I don’t think you can have too many puck movers on your team, and certainly that’s something he can do.”

Djoos, who has yet to play in an NHL game, is the son of former offensive defenseman Par Djoos, who played 82 games for the Red Wings and Rangers in the early 1990’s.   

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Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:

What He Has: Skill, limitless talent. "If you take a look at the highlights, what he can do is jaw-dropping. To be able to see that on the ice here in Washington will be something to behold. He's very smooth and he has great vision. Part of that is his elusiveness. He can see when someone is coming, and next thing you know he's put the puck in the back of the net."


What He Needs to Do: Size, Endurance. "This first month or two, if he makes the NHL roster, will be very, very important."