Tom Wilson making his presence felt in his NHL debut.
The Washington Capitals top prospects have been scouted ad nauseam.
Some of the skills and abilities that are evaluated are mundane.
Some are downright boring.
But what about the skills and abilities that make us say, "Wow!"?
Here is a list of the most exciting part of each Washington Capitals' top prospects' game. This is not a ranking, but merely an informal look at the Capitals' most notable prospects and the aspects of their games that put the fans in the seats...
...and promptly cause those same fans to leave their seats and cheer wildly.
After he was selected by the Washington Capitals with the 23rd overall pick at the 2013 NHL Draft, Andre Burakovsky told Katie Carrera of The Washington Post, “I think about two years I will be ready, but I have to work hard every day.”
When he does join the team, Burakovsky could finally fill the void left by Alexander Semin.
EliteProspects.com describes Burakovsky as "a flashy and offensively very gifted player" who is "equipped with great hands and puckhandling ability. Like his father, also a gifted shooter and has the tools to put up big numbers."
That sounds eerily similar to Sasha.
HockeysFuture.com adds that "André is very creative player with a strong wrist shot who loves scoring goals. He is extremely good at picking corners and putting shots in under the crossbar."
The Caps may have found the heir apparent to Mister Wrister. That is a very exciting prospect for Capitals' fans.
Stanislav Galiev at the 2011 Baltimore Hockey Classic, during the NHL preseason.
Stanislav Galiev has been described by HockeysFuture.com as "a talented puck handler" who "has a knack for finding the open man to set up a scoring opportunity," adding that he "can both distribute the puck and put it in the net."
Galiev displayed this vision during the 2012-13 ECHL season with the Reading Royals. He finished ninth among rookies in scoring with 47 points, on 23 goals and 24 assists, according to ECHL.com. Galiev accomplished this feat while playing in only 46 games and was one of only two players among the top 30 rookies to average at least a point per game.
The Capitals knew they were getting a player with excellent vision when they selected Galiev with the 86th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Draft. At the time, Mike Vogel of Capitals.com wrote that the "strength of his game is setting up linemates with soft hands and excellent vision."
Furthermore, Director of NHL Central Scouting EJ McGuire told Mike Vogel that Galiev compares to a current NHL player with great vision, saying he is "maybe (similar to) Pavel Datsyuk in the way he chips in for a highly skilled team.”
For the Capitals to have a player with even a fraction of Pavel Datsyuk's ability would be very exciting indeed.
Tom Wilson was compared to Milan Lucic by Mike Vogel of Capitals.com after being selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft. In light of that comparison, Wilson better be a damn good fighter.
Don't worry, he is.
Wilson finished 20th in penalty minutes during the 2012-13 OHL regular season with 104, according to OntarioHockeyLeague.com. Wilson compiled his total in only 48 games. Only one other player in the top 20 played in fewer games than Wilson. Ryan Hutchinson of the Kingston Frontenacs played in 46 games, and logged 106 penalty minutes.
During the 2013 OHL playoffs, Wilson finished second with 41 penalty minutes, behind Anthony Camara with 42 PIMs, according to OntarioHockeyLeague.com. But once again, the Ontario native played in fewer games than his competition. Wilson played in only 12 games, while Camara played in 16.
Wilson has a good collection of bouts at HockeyFights.com, including his fight versus Mitchell Fitzmorris on October 19, 2012 (see above).
Currently, the Capitals do not have a player of Wilson's ilk. His addition to the roster would bring an element of excitement that is sorely lacking.
I could have listed any number of aspects of Evgeny Kuznetsov's game as the most exciting.
But as Capitals' fans have witnessed in recent seasons, while watching the blazing speed of goal scorers like Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Alex Semin, one fact is painfully obvious in the NHL: speed kills.
In that case, Kuzya is downright lethal.
Mike Vogel of Capitals.com wrote that Kuznetsov "has an explosive first step and top end gear with excellent east-west moves," adding that he is "capable of making flashy, highlight reel plays and can kick in the afterburners to leave d-men in his dust."
Kuznetsov's speed earned him a spot in the Fastest Skater competition at the 2012-13 KHL All-Star Game, a competition that included former NHL player Nikolai Zherdev.
Here is a recap of the competition by Ian Oland of RussianMachineNeverBreaks.com:
Kuznetsov, a three-time KHL All-Star, won the fastest skater event after posting a 13.82 second lap around the ice. It was the fastest time ever recorded in the event and was a .05 improvement over his lap last year. Kuzya has now won two events all-time in the three skills competitions he’s participated in. In 2011, he also won the KHL's Breakaway Challenge.
Capitals' fans will be thrilled to watch Kuznetsov race up and down the Verizon Center ice. But at this point, the Washington faithful will be excited just to see him don a Capitals' sweater.