Washington Capitals Mid-Season Prospect Review

By Seth Keggins

BRIAN SUTHERBY (C)…After starting in the NHL straight out of training camp, it took seven games for GM George McPhee to return him to his junior club. With Moose Jaw of the WHL, Brian has put up great numbers so far. He has scored 12 goals in 21 games, and is a +8 rating. He was one of three Capitals prospects selected to compete in the recent 2002 World Junior Championships (Silver Medal – Team Canada), where he played on the top checking line scoring 3 goals and 3 assists. Look for Sutherby to continue to impress.

JACUB CUTTA (D)…Began the season for the AHL affiliate Portland Pirates. As a stay-at-home mold defenseman, Jacub’s scoring numbers won’t look that great but continues to log decent ice time as a number 3-4 defenseman for the Pirates. Upon the avalanche of Washington’s injuries , the Caps called up Cutta to add depth to it’s line-up. Cutta played in only 2 games before being sent down, and was unfortunately part of a 5 to 11 demolition display put on by the Ottawa Senators (Oct. 13). Regardless, Jakub continues to impress management and will likely stay in Portland for another year or so before making his full-time Capitals debut.

MATT PETTINGER (LW)…A surprise product running straight from the University of Denver, to the WHL Calgary Hitmen, AHL Portland, and now has been a mainstay in Washington since the first week of the season. With the injury to Steve Konwalchuk, Matt has bee given a long-term shot to develop with Chris Simon, who has been able to clear more space on the ice for him. Matt has 5 goals so far with the Caps and his skills continue to impress. His ability to skating fluidly around defensemen, and his creativity should only get better at this stage in his career.

NOLAN YONKMAN (D)…An injury to Nolan at the beginning of the season hampered his progress early. However he has been starting to pick up the ice time in AHL Portland. The 6 foot 6, 215 pound defenseman can be somewhat physical at times, but has been struggling in that department despite still living up to being a huge presence at the blue line, and the opposition backing down at his size. His skating still needs to be improved as well, and will likely continue with Portland also for another year or so.

CHRIS CORRINET (RW)…Another surprise, Chris (one of several Princeton attendees in the system) jump started his season with AHL Portland. His +11, and 9 goals place him as one of the leading scorers with the Pirates this season. He too was called-up, as a result of the Capitals injuries and stuck around for seven games. Though he did not score any goals, he proved that he can be a solid fore checker at the NHL level and still maintain his puck creativity. His skating was a little sloppy at times, but will continue to develop as Chris becomes a future solid power forward.

MIKE FARRELL (RW)…A strong skater who began the season with the AHL Portland Pirates. Mike has been called up with the Washington Capitals, only to be returned after six games played with the NHL squad. Farrell also showcased great strength, great checking ability, and his fearless heart to stand up to some of the stronger NHL players. His streaky skill may be his only downfall right now. Regardless, his knack for driving to the net has placed Mike with 7 goals thus far this season in the AHL, and 12 points.

NATHAN PAETSCH (D)…Nathan is the second of three Caps prospects to play in the 2002 WJC (Team Canada), scoring 1 assist. He is a prospect in the offensive-defensman mold and will likely eventually fill the shoes of Calle Johansson some day. Considering those are pretty big shoes to fill, Paetsch will be looked upon to maintain his defensive role while still putting up offenisve numbers. His stats thus far in the season (Moose Jaw-WHL) have been a little disappointing, keeping a -11 rating…despite 24 points to his credit. He will likely continue to be a long-term project for the Capitals organization.

MARTIN HLINKA (LW)…Martin, a left handed winger has been struggling to find the net this season for the AHL Pirates, however currently has 18 points (3 goals) in 35 games played. Some would speculate he is running out of time to make it into the NHL, and he very well may be, however his hard work and determination just make vie him a role in the Capitals organization before it is all said and done. He is not considered overly gritty, but will come to compete every night.

IVAN NEPRIAYEV ( C)…The third and final Capitals prospect which was invited to play at the 2002 World Junior Championships (Gold Metal-Team Russia). Nepriayev had the task of centering the top line at times during the recent tournament but only came away with two assists. He was +4, and showed he was a key face-off guy and versatile skater. His lanky, 185 pound frame continues to be the only thing holding Ivan back from taking the next jump, however has bulked up quickly since his draft (165 pounds) and will likely continue. Russian scouts say that he is not afraid a physical hockey, which should help in his eventual jump into North American style hockey.

STEPHEN PEAT (RW)…A natural defenseman, the Capitals management a still in the process of developing Stephen’s offensive potential. As a above average skater, his pugilist style has taken the NHL by storm. He has aleady dropped the gloves with such heavyweights as Donald Brashear, Peter Worrell, and has proven he can muck it up with the rest of the NHL bunch. Peat was being tossed between AHL Portland and Washington, but has stayed in the Nations Capital over the last month or so. More ice-time would not hurt the further development of Stephen’s game; he currently has 1 goal, and 71 PIM’s in 23 games.

Watch for…..

OWEN FUSSEY (RW)…A “Steve Konowalchuk” mold who has already surpassed expectations this season for the WHL Calgary Hitmen. He is in the top three on the squad, with 25 goals and 40 points in 42 games played this season. He carries a +11 rating.

ROMAN TVRDON ( C)…Although is currently out with an injury, Roman has made the jump from juniors to the AHL level. His 7 points in 15 games is nothing to mock about.

RASTISLAV STANA (G)…Recently named to the ECHL All-star game, “Ratty” has been strong in net and is currently enjoying a call-up with the AHL Portland Pirates thanks to the injury of Corey Hirsch. He has a played in one game since his recall, and has a .941 save percentage. (.917 with ECHL Richmond).