The Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, did not get as much help as many AHL teams did with the lockout. The team has struggled at times offensively, but has stayed in contention because of the play of goaltender Braden Holtby. With the NHL lockout over, Holtby was recalled to the big club, paving the way for Philipp Grubauer to lead the Bears in net.
The Washington Capitals have done of lot of building from within over the last few years. As a result, the prospect depth has taken quite a hit. However, there was a bit of a rebuild after the 2012 NHL entry draft. While the Capitals organization has plenty of depth, the number of high end prospects is limited and many other prospects are long-term projects.
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.
As the 2012-13 season gets under way, the Washington Capitals have many prospects hoping to take their game to the next level. With the exception of Braden Holtby and Dmitri Orlov, most young players with the Capitals have not been affected by the NHL lockout. The Capitals system has a few blue chip prospects mixed in with a larger group of lower end prospects, who have opportunities to step up and prove themselves as true NHL prospects. Players like Connor Carrick, Garrett Mitchell, and Caleb Herbert are not as well known as players like Holtby, Yevgeni Kuznetsov, and Filip Forsberg, but all are worth keeping an eye on this season.