Washington Capitals End Of Season Prospect Report (Centers)

By Jeff Charlesworth

Now that the Capitals have made their annual early exit from the playoffs, its time to look
back at the season that was. This week I will go in-depth on the Capitals’ prospects
position-by-position and see how the did this past season and what we can expect from them in
the future.


Kris Beech – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

A lot was expected from Kris – the Capitals’ first round pick in last year’s draft – this
season and he did not disappoint. He finished third in team scoring and was selected to play in
the WHL All-Star Game. The same criticisms remain however – he is too skinny and somewhat
injury-prone. That was reinforced during the playoffs when he broke his finger in the first
round, causing him to miss seven games. If the Caps go on a youth movement this off-season, Kris
will be one of the rookies counted on to make the jump to the NHL.

Calgary (WHL) 66 32 54 86 99 25
PLAYOFFS 5 3 5 8 16 0

Michal Sivek – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Michal was a bit of a wild card when this season began. He was entering his first season of
North American hockey and no one knew how he would hold up. But this year would have to be
considered a success for Michal. He finished tied for third in WHL rookie scoring, and helped
the Czech Republic to a Gold Medal at the WJC. His play is still a bit inconsistent and unless
he surprises at training camp, he will be sent back for one more year of junior.

Pr.Albert (WHL) 53 23 37 60 65 -6
PLAYOFFS 6 1 4 5 10 0
W.J.C. 2000 7 3 3 6 4 4

Glen Metropolit – Portland Pirates (AHL)

Entering training camp, Glen was a relatively unknown free agent who everyone assumed was
headed for the AHL. But he made the team, and was one of the biggest surprises of the season.
His offensive flair was badly needed on the Capitals, but his all-around game was not sound
enough to keep him on the roster for the entire year. With work in the off-season, he should
improve enough to stay with the Caps full-time next season. He would have to switch to the wing
permanently to get a spot on the roster, however, as Washington is deep at centre.

Washington (NHL) 30 6 13 19 4 5
Portland (AHL) 48 18 42 60 73 19
NHL PLAYOFFS 2 0 0 0 2 -1
AHL PLAYOFFS 1 1 0 1 0 -2

Todd Hornung – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)

Todd began the season on the inactive list of the Lethbridge Hurricanes with a serious leg
injury. He was expected to miss most of the year, and would be back in time for the playoffs.
When Lethbridge struggled early on, they traded Todd to the Broncos – a playoff contender. Todd
gave Swift Current just what they needed – an on ice leader and playoff veteran. Unfortunately,
the Broncos were overmatched in the playoffs and were eliminated. Todd must be signed this
off-season, or he will re-enter the draft. The Capitals will make every effort to sign him, and
he will be assigned to Portland next year.

Sw.Current (WHL) 22 3 2 5 28 2
PLAYOFFS 11 2 1 3 11 1

Blake Evans – Tri City Americans (WHL)

Blake took a leadership role on the Americans this year after they suffered a few defections to
the pro leagues. After playing his career as a defensive forward, he was promoted to the top
line and did extremely well. He was the Americans’ leading scorer and led them into the
playoffs; he was also selected to play in the WHL All-Star Game. Blake is another 1998 draft
pick who must be signed or he will re-enter the draft. Although he played well, it is not
guaranteed the Capitals will sign him, due to their overall depth.

Tri-City (WHL) 72 27 43 70 110 -13
PLAYOFFS 4 1 0 1 6 -5

Trent Whitfield – Portland Pirates (WHL)

Trent was signed as a depth player two years ago, with no defined role or plan for the future.
In the two seasons since, he has become an important part of the Pirates’ success. An indication
of how much the Capitals think of Trent came during the playoffs. When they demoted Glen
Metropolit to give the Pirates more scoring, they recalled Whitfield to replace him. The
roadblock for Trent now is that the Caps have Jeff Halpern, Todd Hornung and Blake Evans ahead
of him who fill the same role. With two more expansion teams entering this year, he may be able
to catch on and get a shot at the NHL.

Portland (AHL) 79 18 35 53 52 4
AHL PLAYOFFS 3 1 1 2 2 -2
NHL PLAYOFFS 3 0 0 0 0 0

Jeff Nelson – Portland Pirates (AHL)

Jeff found life in Nashville last season was different than he thought it would be. So when he
was given the chance to return to Portland, where he had been very successful, he took it. Once
back with the Pirates, he showed why he was an NHL-calibre player: finishing tied for second in
team scoring and second in goals scored. He didn’t get the call to Washington, however, and
became a veteran leader of the Pirates. He still has one year left on his contract with the
Capitals, and may get some consideration from Columbus and Minnesota in the off-season.

Portland (AHL) 73 24 30 54 38 -4
PLAYOFFS 1 0 0 0 0 -1