Three players represent Washington Capitals at CHL level

By Patrick Harbolick
Photo: Defenseman Samuel Carrier is currently on a point-per-game pace for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

With several junior prospects moving on to the professional ranks this season, the Washington Capitals only have a few players plying their trade at the junior level, all of them in the CHL. Among them are a currently injured high-scoring forward and an offensively inclined defenseman from the QMJHL and a struggling goaltender from the WHL.

QMJHL

Stanislav Galiev, RW, Saint Johns Sea Dogs
Acquired: 3rd round (86th overall) in 2010

After impressing in development camp and holding his own in training camp, Galiev was sent back to Saint John for his third junior season. Through five games with the Sea Dogs, he potted three goals and added three assists, stepping up his game while Jonathan Huberdeau was still with Florida. Unfortunately, amidst his hot run, he was shut-down with a broken wrist he sustained during training camp with the Capitals. Even worse, reports suggest that he had to have wrist surgery and won’t return until mid-January at the earliest. It seems likely he’ll miss a chance to strut his stuff on the world stage with Team Russia at the WJC’s.

In his final year of junior eligibility, Galiev was expected to be an offensive force for Saint John. He seemed to be living up to the expectations before the wrist injury forced him out of action. The missed development time could hurt him, but his incredible talent should serve him well at the next level. He’ll need to round out his defensive game before he’s ready for the NHL and should be given plenty of time to hit his offensive stride with the Hershey Bears of the AHL next season. Down the road, his slick hands and ability to both pass and shoot the puck should serve him well as an offensively oriented second- or third-liner.

Samuel Carrier, D, Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Acquired: 6th round (176th overall) in 2010

With Lewiston folding, Carrier was selected by Baie-Comeau to help anchor the blue line. Baie-Comeau isn’t off to a great start, but it isn’t from lack of effort on Carrier’s part. He leads the back end in scoring with 23 points in 23 games and is currently seventh in scoring among defenseman in the entire ‘Q’.

He’s expected to chip in on the offensive side of the puck and has been so far. His defense continues to improve and he’s doing his best as a veteran to keep the team afloat. Like most junior-aged players, he still needs to add some weight to his frame in order to compete in the NHL. He needs to work on his play in the defensive zone, but the hope is that his offensive game can translate to the next level. He could provide complementary scoring from the blue line for the Capitals, but he’s still several years away from contributing at the NHL level.

WHL

Brandon Anderson, G, Brandon Wheat Kings
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, September 21st, 2010

A training camp invitee in 2010, Anderson wowed the Capitals’ brass enough to garner a three-year, entry-level deal. Since signing that contract, Anderson has put up some bad numbers and struggled to find consistency. This year, he was expected to succeed as the starter for Lethbridge, but posted a 2-3-1 record to go along with a 3.78 goals against average and a .894 save percentage. His poor start led to a change in scenery, with the Hurricanes shipping him out to the Brandon Wheat Kings. He hasn’t been very impressive there either, registering a 5-5-1 record to go along with a 4.30 goals against average and a save percentage of .881. Hopefully he can pick up his play as the season rolls along and compete for the starting role.

It’s been a bit off an odd road for Anderson, with spells of success and streaks of less-than-stellar play. He was always more of a long-term project and he’s still very raw. The hope is that he can find his game at the professional level. Philipp Grubauer had similar struggles and is currently lighting it up for the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL), so maybe consistent goaltending coaching can help his play. He’s got potential, but is still several years away from sniffing an NHL roster spot. Long-term, he could find his way into the league as a serviceable backup.