Photo: Notre Dame forward and Washington Capitals prospect Thomas Di Pauli was a greatly improved player in his final two seasons of collegiate hockey with the Fighting Irish (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)
Looking at both sides of the pond, the Washington Capitals had long-term projects playing in the NCAA ranks and Europe this past season.
In college Washington a group of forwards that all matured more this season and one prospect who won a national title. In Europe, Washington watched as a group of teenagers started to step up against adult competition, including top-ranked prospect and 19 year old goalie Ilya Samsonov in the KHL.
Photo: Providence Bruins forward and Boston Bruins prospect Frank Vatrano led the AHL in goals in 2015-16 with 36 in 36 games (courtesy of Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire)
The field is set for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, and eight teams in the Eastern Conference are ready to battle it out for the AHL’s ultimate prize – the beloved Calder Cup.
While teams like Toronto, Albany, Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton cruised into the postseason in the final months, the other half of the conference’s playoff teams had some work to do to get where they are now as the AHL’s ‘second’ season gets underway. Read more»
Photo: Washington Capitals rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer finished the season with a 2.32 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. (courtesy of Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Presidents’ Trophy is already in hand and the Washington Capitals have switched focus toward the playoffs. The success this season has also given prospects extra time to cook in the minors or in junior. Read more»
Photo: University of North Dakota players Shane Gersich (#19), Cam Johnson (#33), and Troy Stecher (#2) celebrate their semi-final win over the University of Denver at the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four (courtesy of Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)
Part of any successful team is good player depth. Not everyone is the center of attention, but everyone needs to contribute in order for the team to be successful.
For the University of North Dakota, freshman Shane Gersich has been one of the players that have fit the bill perfectly this season. Read more»
Photo: CSKA Moscow goaltender and New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin turned in a strong 2015-16 regular season, and has duplicated that effort in the KHL playoffs with a 1.17 goals-against and .949 save percentage (courtesy of Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
In recent years, Russia has become a better producer of quality goaltenders. Proof of that is the number of NHL-drafted netminders competing in the KHL and minor leagues, which is in a modest growth trend. Many young, Russian goalies are experiencing an upward career progression, and almost all the goaltenders drafted in the last few years have an excellent chance of becoming solid NHL players, with the exception of Sergei Kostenko, who was a seventh round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2012. Read more»