We recently discussed how some of the Capitals prospects can take spots on defense for the upcoming season. But forwards are necessary too. With the departure of Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson, as well as only having 10 forwards signed to contracts, the Caps need some offensive depth. Per the Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, this is what the forward corps might be.
So, next season's Caps lineup maybe …
[insert young guy here]-83-[insert young guy here]
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) July 3, 2017
So who do they call up this year?
Vrana is the Caps highest rated offensive prospect. His performance in the 2014 IIHF tournament is what turned heads. His release is deadly.
The Czech winger made a few stints last season. He even made some power play appearances. But after being scratched in Hershey and then promoted to the Caps, Vrana’s mental attitude is what will determine whether or not he makes the opening night lineup. Troy Mann, Hershey’s coach, elaborated:
It’s all up to Vrana to put his skill to use this season. If it pans out, the Caps will have another lethal left winger in an already stacked lineup.
Walker would be the first Australian player in NHL history if he made the Capitals. His biggest asset? His speed and his vision. Look at where he starts the play in his defensive zone and ends in the offensive zone. Put them together and that spells trouble for other teams.
The only downside could be his size. His height has ranged from 5’10 to 6 and while some teams love that, Barry Trotz has never been high on smaller players. It will be interesting to see if Walker changes that narrative, especially since Mann thinks he’s the most NHL ready forward.
Mann said Nathan Walker is the most NHL ready forward. He's excited to see Lewington, Bowey and Djoos all get opportunities on D.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 27, 2017
Stephenson is a tiny center at 5’11”. But what he lacks in size he makes up for in tenacity. Stephenson excels on defense and has made strides to improve his offensive game. It showed in last years playoffs against the Marlies.
But he has the same problem as Nathan Walker: size. Again it will be interesting to see where he could slot in, especially with Jay Beagle on the last year of his contract.
Boyd is another center that could vie for Jay Beagle’s spot. He’s a similar player to Stephenson but plays more of a 2-way game. But he’s underrated in his playmaking ability. This pass for a goal takes incredible vision, and Boyd has been working on it.
Like most of the forwards, Boyd is also undersized. Add that to his 6th round draft pick status and you’ve got a player aching to get a break.
Barber will sound familiar to Miami (OH) fans. He captained the team to a 5th place finish in the Frozen Four and for the US World Junior Championship team. Barber plays a smart and gritty game similar to that of Ryan Callahan.
Barber is another 6th round pick for the Capitals who has exceeded expectations. He’ll need to do so again to make the squad this year.
Who do you think makes the Caps team at the forward position?