Capitals’ Prospects

By Caitlin LoCascio
With the Draft right around the corner, prospects are hot topics for all hockey fans alike. And whilst I am really looking forward to seeing who the Capitals pick (and name as the new coach – or, possibly, coaches) I think the Capitals have a number of underrated, underused players already in the system that deserve to be given a real shot next season.

The Portland Pirates’ defense had a shaky year this past season. I am not sure that Nate Forster is the answer, but I am certain he deserves a real shot at playing up here. His play with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Richmond Renegades was very impressive; his player here in Portland not as much. So I say give him this season. If he cannot make the cut, fine, that answers that. But I think given a real shot up here, he might prove to be a valuable defensive prospect in the season.

Winger Krys Barch also immediately came to mind when thinking about players who were not given their due this past season. Barch spent nearly fifty percent of his games played last season with the Richmond Renegades, whilst the hopeless Kyle Clark stayed in Portland. The 2000-2001 Tom Ebright Award winner, Barch has the makings of a great player. He is young and needs plenty more experience and mentoring, but I truly believe he might turn out to be a winner.

Fellow winger Roman Tvrdon managed to stay in Portland all season, but really suffered with injuries and a severe lack of ice time. A dislocated shoulder and groin injury certainly did not help his case, but when he was healthy and suited up, he would often barely play throughout an entire game. Entire periods would go by and he would have maybe two short shifts. Towards the end of the season he got a bit more ice time and I liked what I saw. Add that to what several Spokane Chiefs’ fans have told me about his two seasons there and I want to see him get plenty of ice time this upcoming season. Maybe nothing will come of it, but it seems foolish not to give him the chance.

Goaltending is key to any organization and I hope the Capitals/Pirates choose to go with a Rastislav Stana/Maxime Ouellet combo for this season. With all due respect, Sebastien Charpentier is not the long term answer for the Washington Capitals and Stana and Oullet may or may not be. Time will tell.

The Draft is almost here and I am ready and waiting. I cannot wait to see who will be joining the Washington Capitals’ system and what they will be bringing with them. I hope to see some of the in Portland next season and I hope they prove to be valuable assets. But I hope as the Capitals’ staff is surveying what the organization has and what it needs, they need to stop and look at some of the players already in the system who have not as yet been tapped. The Forsters and Stanas and Cierniks who might prove to be as wonderful as picks 12, 13 and 17.