Washington Capitals: Stanislav Galiev and the Top 5 Signed Capitals Prospects
When Stanislav Galiev signed his three-year entry-level contract on Wednesday, he immediately joined a team flush on high-end talent. From the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays to the NHL's Capitals, the organization is covered with young talent ready to step up and become big-league players.
While the signing is a big step forward for him, Galiev still has a long way to go before he can call himself an NHLer. As mentioned, there are several top prospects in the organization who he will likely have to battle with for playing time in a matter of years.
This is a look at how Stanislav Galiev compares to the other signed prospects in the Washington Capitals organization.
5. Philipp Grubauer
Defenseman Brett Flemming gives him a good run for his money, but Grubauer has developed into one of the team's top prospects. Drafted by the Caps in the fourth round in 2010, he signed his entry-level deal soon thereafter and became a member of the organization. While he has played on struggling team's these past few seasons, he has shined in the team's annual development camp and has turned heads with his impressive play.
As he is a year older than most 2010 draftees, he will begin his pro career this year. He is likely to be assigned to the South Carolina Stingrays, but will see call-ups to the AHL's Hershey Bears if one of the Capitals goalies goes down injured. He is a couple of years away from NHL duty, but could see himself as the Caps' backup goalie before long.
4. Mattias Sjögren
Signed by the Capitals on June 1st, 2011, Swedish forward Mattias Sjögren brings a skill set that has seen him develop into being one of the better grinders outside the NHL. He is good on defense, drives the net and, above all, likes to hit.
He will almost certainly play with the Capitals next season. The Capitals lost three of their key fourth liners towards the end of last season, so he definitely has a spot on the team. Don't expect him to put up huge numbers, but look for him to do his job and become a fan favourite among the Verizon Center faithful.
3. Stanislav Galiev
Stanislav Galiev, who broke the news on Twitter, will see the signing as a big step forward in his development. Coming off a Memorial Cup-winning season with his Saint John Sea Dogs, Galiev is hoping to make his mark in Capitals training camp in September. He has developed into one of the Caps' premier prospects, so it's only fair to assume he will.
While it is unlikely Galiev stays with the Caps this season, there is definitely a hole at the third line center spot. He could be a dark horse to grab it out of camp. If he works hard between now and then to put on some more weight (188 pounds) and get himself up to the standards of the NHL, you could well see him in Washington at some point this season.
2. Cody Eakin
Cody Eakin, a 19-year-old center, signed with the Capitals way back in 2009, just months after being drafted in the third round. The two years since then have seen him put up 184 points in just 126 games as he has grown into being one of the league's most exciting talents.
Eakin projects as a third line center with the Caps, and while he may not play in the NHL full time this year, he will definitely see time as an injury call-up. He will likely play with the Hershey Bears, having already spent time with them at the end of the 2009-10 season. He should become a key player for them on the second or third line.
1. Dmitry Orlov
With Evgeny Kuznetsov unsigned, Dmitry Orlov takes top spot on the ranking. He signed with the Capitals late last season after coming over from Novokuznetsk in the KHL to join the Hershey Bears for their playoff run. He immediately became a key player for them, impressing everyone in his first North American showing.
For now, the 2009 second rounder is a long shot to make the NHL next year. He is an elite offensive defenseman prospect, but with Dennis Wideman on the team, it's difficult to make room. He'll continue to live and play with fellow Russian Caps hopeful Dmitri Kugryshev, but could see some big-league time this season. Orlov projects as a franchise defenseman with Washington.
Follow Jacob Ware on Twitter at @jacobware95