Capitals 2008-09 NCAA prospect update

By Matt Eichenblatt

The Washington Capitals currently have five prospects at the collegiate level, which includes two centers, one left winger, a defenseman, and a goaltender.

Andrew Glass, LW

Boston University
Drafted 2007, 7th Round (199th overall)

After spending the past two years at Nobles High school in the Boston area, Glass is continuing his hockey career in his hometown at Boston University.  The play and energy that Glass has shown thus far is very promising, despite the fact he has played in only nine games. The inability to crack the lineup on a regular basis is due to the number of experienced forwards ahead of him. Glass has only three points, with two goals and one assist.

Standing at 5’11 and weighing only 180 pounds, Glass will have to get stronger in his time in college. His lack of size and strength is evident in games as he gets rubbed off the puck rather easily by larger and more developed players. As Glass continues to grow stronger and gain experience, he will surely continue to grab a more prominent role for the Terriers.

Phil DeSimone, C

University of New Hampshire
Drafted 2007, 3rd round (84th overall)

DeSimone is a player who struggled mightily during his freshman run at the University of New Hampshire in 2007-08. Coming in as a highly-touted speedster and playmaker from the USHL, DeSimone couldn’t create plays on a roster that had all of the ingredients to be as potent as ever, and it concerned many that the youngster might not be ready for NCAA hockey.

Thus far into the 2008-09 campaign, DeSimone has started to come alive. Through 21 games, he has scored more goals (5) than he did in his entire freshman campaign (3). With 12 overall points to date, he has emerged as a contributor for the Wildcats.

DeSimone has been criticized for his two-way play, and while he has improved fundamentally, he must put himself into better position to play the puck on defense. DeSimone’s poor positioning has forced him into bad penalties, having already 34 penalty minutes to date — six more than he had all of last season.

If DeSimone can continue to work on putting himself in better spots to play the puck, he will surely live up to his initial acclaim as being a true playmaker.

Nick Larson, C

University of Minnesota
Drafted 2007, 7th Round (185th overall)

It’s long been known that Larson has a knack for scoring goals. As a freshman this year at the University of Minnesota, Larson has struggled to see ice time due to the large line of experienced centers in front of him. Despite the small amount of playing time (11 games), Larson has registered two points to date, one goal and one assist. He has taken 12 shots so far, and he puts himself in prime position to make plays in front of the net, which bodes well for an increased scoring rate.

Larson has a good hockey mind and good hands, both qualities of a good center at any level. For him to improve over the course of the next couple years, Larson must focus on becoming a better skater and puck handler. While he can receive a pass and score with the best the NCAA has to offer, he is sometimes out of position in the neutral and defensive zones due to his lack of skating ability. If Larson takes in the coaching he will receive at Minnesota, then he most certainly will have a future playing hockey at a professional level.

Joe Finley, D

University of North Dakota
Drafted 2007, 1st Round (27th overall)

One of the Capitals most promising prospects, Finley is a fantastic combination of size and power with a great hockey sense.

Despite missing much of the 2008-09 season with a concussion he suffered in the Fighting Sioux’s second game of the year, Finley is right back on track in his development. To date, he has one goal and three assists in 10 games and has been a defensive rock for North Dakota.

Finley over the past four years has shown a steady improvement in almost every facet of his game. At 6’7 and 240 pounds, he is an imposing figure on the ice, but what makes him so impressive is how well he uses his body. Finley is very physical and leaves nothing to be desired along the boards or in the defensive zone.

Finley has a very heavy shot from the point and can keep the puck in the zone very well. He has the ability to make plays and be a game manager on the power play, and is in no way a liability in pressure-scoring situations.

Finley looks to finally be ready to take his game to the next level this coming fall, probably starting with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. If UND finishes the season early, he could even turn pro this spring.

Dan Dunn, G

St. Cloud State University
Drafted 2007 6th round (154th overall)

A goalie who showed promise as a freshman last year with his quick reflexes and ability to stretch his 6’4 frame, Dunn has not been able to build on his brief flashes of brilliance this season after being buried deep on the depth chart in favor of New York Islanders prospect Jase Weslosky. He is one of the best goaltenders in the history of St. Cloud University. Dunn’s opportunity to shine will most likely come when the now junior Weslosky leaves.

What Dunn must do in the meantime is be an understudy to Weslosky and learn to be a smarter goaltender. He has fantastic range and can get across the crease very quickly, but has trouble handling the puck sometimes and may need work on not giving up easy goals, especially through the five-hole. Dunn is a very raw talent, but has size and quickness on his side.