Washington Capitals: Top 5 Prospects Heading into Next Season

Kathleen So@@kathleensoCorrespondent IIAugust 14, 2012

Washington Capitals: Top 5 Prospects Heading into Next Season

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    The Washington Capitals are coming off of an incredible run from this past season.

    The Caps made it to the second round of the NHL playoffs, much to the shock and delight of Washington fans.

    The Capitals are sure to come back next season with even more hunger for the Stanley Cup. They are looking to their prospects to deliver in the upcoming years.

    The problem with the Capitals and their draft picks was that many of them were from later rounds. But here’s an interesting fact from Corey Masisak at nhl.com, “Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Dmitry Orlov and Mathieu Perreault all were drafted after the first round”.

    So maybe there’s hope for the Caps’ late round pick prospects after all.

    Now it’s time to start looking at the Capitals top 5 prospects heading into next season.

5. Patrick Wey

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    The defenseman is going into his senior year at Boston College.

    He will take the next couple years to grow and develop his game on defense before he’s able to make it to the big stage in Washington.

    Wey is not a high-profile, star player that will capture your attention.

    However, that’s not always important for a defenseman. Wey brings consistency and reliability as a defenseman. He is described as “sturdy at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and has played on big stages,” (via Corey Masisak at nhl.com).

4. Filip Forsberg

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    Forsberg was the Caps’ No. 11 draft pick in 2012.

    But don’t judge the kid by his number.

    According to Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times, the Caps expect him to “be able to contribute as a top-six forward”.

    Forsberg is described as being a strong player with good scoring capabilities. The Capitals picked up Forsberg for his stick skills and explosive play.

    He's got the makings of a top prospect and will hopefully make it as a top-six player in the near future.

3. Caleb Herbert

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    Corey Masisak at nhl.com reported that the Capitals were impressed with fifth-round pick, Caleb Herbert and that he could be good enough to see a contract by 2013.

    That definitely makes him one of the top five prospects heading into next season. Last season, Herbert was a freshman in college at Minnesota-Duluth.

    In 41 games, he had 14 goals and 33 points (via Corey Masisak at nhl.com). Herbert played with junior ice hockey team, the Sioux City Musketeers. In 2010-2011, he had 23 goals and 27 assists.The 20-year-old center knows what he’s doing on the ice.

    It won’t be surprising to see the Caps pull him up sooner rather than later.

2. Tom Wilson

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    Tom Wilson is just 18 years old and was the Caps’ first-round draft pick in 2012.

    According to Ben Raby from CSNwashington.com, Wilson is a physical player and participating in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge. The Caps signed Wilson to a three-year, entry-level contract. His appeal was truly in his physicality.

    Katie Carrera a Capitals Insider from The Washington Post reported that Wilson,

    “Stood out at Capitals development camp earlier this month thanks to his willingness to trow the body around...Wilson made sure his fellow prospects felt his presence with more than a few glass-rattling checks over the course of the week”.

    He still needs a few years to develop, but the Capitals are looking at him as he sits right at the top of their list.

1. Evgeny Kuznetsov

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    The Russian forward was the Caps’ first-round draft pick in 2010 (26th overall).

    According to Corey Masisak at nhl.com, Kuznetsov has undeniable skills and “was one of the top talents in the 2010 NHL Draft”. And what’s even more impressive, “For two season since the draft, he has produced in the top league in Russia at levels comparable to Ovechkin...at the same age...drawing raves for his incredible skill,” (via Corey Masisak at nhl.com).

    The Capitals could really use Kuznetsov in Washington to add more boost among their forwards. He would likely be a top six player for the Caps.

    Unfortunately, Kuznetsov signed a two-year contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk and will stay in Russia (via Adam Gretz of cbssports.com).

    Looks like the Caps will have to wait a couple more years before their top prospect makes it over to the ice in Washington.