Tom Wilson was dynamite in February.
RW - Miami (Ohio) University – 19
Sixth-round pick Riley Barber, who celebrated his 19th birthday this month, had another mind-boggling month for his Miami RedHawks, appearing in eight games and scoring five goals and three assists for eight points. He was also +3. Barber has been simply dominant so far this year. He has toyed with defensemen. In a game against Lake Superior this month, he took 10 shots. Few, if any (one of which may be fellow Caps prospect Christian Djoos), NHL prospects have seen their stocks rise as much since the summer as Riley Barber, and with his 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, and +11 rating in just 32 games in his freshman NCAA campaign, a promising NHL career might be closer round the corner than we all thought.
C – University of New Hampshire (NCAA) – 22
Injuries continue to hamper Greg Burke in his senior season with the UNH Wildcats. He did not appear at all in February after suffering what could be a concussion late in December. Burke remains at three goals, two assists, and a +1 rating in 13 games this season.
C – University of Minnesota (NCAA) – 19
After a disappointing January, Travis Boyd’s so-far woeful 2013 continued into February, as the 2011 sixth-rounder managed just one assist and a -1 rating in six games. Nevertheless, his numbers for the year are still more-than-satisfying, as he stands at three goals, 10 points, and a +2 rating through 32 games, a sound improvement over his nine-point rookie campaign.
D - Plymouth Whalers (OHL) - 18
The Plymouth Whalers had an absolutely dominant month of February, and Connor Carrick was a major reason why with his solid defensive play and consistent offensive contributions. Carrick appeared in 13 games this month, perhaps most impressively recording a +12 plus-minus, but also adding two goals and seven assists to his season tally. The Illinois-native, likened in the summer to Mike Green, now stands at 12 goals and 27 assists through 61 games, impressive numbers for an OHL rookie on the blueline.
C - University of Notre Dame (NCAA) - 18
Despite his struggles, a breakout for Thomas DiPauli has been anticipated for a long time, and the top-six forward finally found his form in early February as he went on a five-game point streak and ended the month with one goal and four assists and a +5 rating in eight games. DiPauli, who continues to be an important player for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in his freshman NCAA season, now stands at five goals and six assists for 11 points through 34 games. His plus-minus rating is an impressive +9.
D - Brynäs (Elitserien) - 18
Undersized defensive prospect Christian Djoos had another monstrous month for the struggling reigning Elitersien champs, Brynäs. Injuries forced Djoos into a top-two role with the team, but he certainly warranted the trust his coach put in him with his play. The Swede appeared in seven games in February, where he notched two assists, a -1 rating, and saw his time on ice average jump almost a minute to 15:18. On the year, Djoos has appeared in 45 games with Brynäs, scoring two goals, five assists, and an even rating. Any way you put it, those are incredible numbers for an 18-year-old two-way defenseman in the world’s third best men’s league.
RW - Leksand (HockeyAllsvenkan) - 18
Much like his compatriot Djoos, Filip Forsberg had a solid month of February for Leksand of the HockeyAllsvenskan. Forsberg played in seven games, tallying one goal and three assists to bring his point total to 32 on the season. Furthermore, Forsberg was awarded the “Golden Cage”, as the HockeyAllsvenskan junior (U20) player of the season. Leksand are heading to the playoffs, where they could well go far, and Forsberg could find himself due west towards DC whenever the season is over. On the season, Forsberg stands at 14 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. His rating is +16.
D –Western Michigan University (NCAA) – 19
After missing almost all of February with a suspected concussion, Garrett Haar finally returned to the WMU Broncos lineup late in the month for a two-game cameo appearance. The 2011 seventh-round pick posted one assist and was -1. He currently has three goals and seven points in 18 games this season.
C – University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA) – 21
Promising sophomore Caleb Herbert saw his play continue to improve after a miserable start. In February, Herbert appeared in just five games, scoring one goal and three assists. Though his overall performance is still a far cry from his Riley Barber-esque freshman campaign, his six goals and 11 assists in 29 games are still solid. His rating, however, is -4.
D – Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – 20
Another quiet month goes into the books for defensive prospect Patrick Koudys, Penn State-bound next season. Koudys played in eight games, recording one assist and going +3. He also posted 13 penalty minutes. On the season, Koudys has appeared in (a rather impressive) 50 games, notching 11 goals, 85 PIMs, and a +6 rating.
RW – Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) – 20
We haven’t said this much in his reign as the Caps’ top prospect, but Russian superstar Evgeny Kuznetsov actually struggled a little in February. Kuznetsov started the month by recording two points in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s last two regular season games, but went pointless in their first four playoff games before finally scoring in a 6-3 victory over Barys Astana (the series currently stands at 3-2 Traktor). He may have had a tough month, but his 19 goals and 25 assists in 51 regular season games tell you all you need to know about Evgeny Kuznetsov – he should be playing in the NHL.
D - Calgary Hitmen (WHL) – 19
Seventh-round defenseman Jaynen Rissling continued to enjoy his impressive season for the Calgary Hitmen, as the 6’4” behemoth once again asserted himself as one of the Hitmen’s most important players. Rissling’s offensive game was admittedly once again somewhat quiet, as he recorded just three assists in 11 games, but defensively, he came up huge, going +5 with 27 PIMs. Through 57 games of his fourth WHL season, Rissling has four goals, 21 assists, 120 PIMs, and a +29 rating.
LW - University of Calgary (CIS) - 22
A fringe prospect, Taylor Stefishen was pretty good in February. In four regular season games, he notched two assists and was +2. In five playoff games, Stefishen had one goal, two assists, and +2. Unfortunately, his University of Calgary Dinos were knocked out by Alberta in the Calgary West semifinal. Stefishen ended his final year of eligibility at Calgary with five goals and 22 points in 28 games. He has not yet signed a contract with an NHL, AHL, or ECHL team.
LW - Regina Pats (WHL) - 18
After a decent start to the season, third-rounder Chandler Stephenson enjoyed arguably his best month of the year in February, appearing in 10 games and recording two goals and eight assists. He was also +3. Stephenson has recovered well from his Achilles tendon injury earlier in the year, and now boasts impressive overall numbers with 12 goals and 24 assists in 37 games. He is also +2 with 37 PIMs.
G – Vålerenga (GET-Ligaen) – 19
Steffen Søberg’s fantastic season with Vålerenga continued into February, as the Norwegian netminder won all five of his games, boosting his save percentage to .915 despite seeing a rise in goals against average to 2.45. Most importantly, Søberg’s Vålerenga won the GET-Ligaen regular season title, finishing seven points ahead of the nearest competitor. Vålerenga will now compete in the league playoffs, where they will be heavy favourites to win – Steffen Søberg is a major reason why.
D – Boston College (NCAA) – 21
Consider the all-around dominance he has wrought on the NCAA in his highly decorated four-year career at Boston College, February was a disappointing month for Patrick Wey. He appeared in seven games for the reigning champion Eagles, scoring one assist and going -1. Heading into the playoffs, Wey will be hopeful BC can capture a second-straight Frozen Four title. On the year, Wey, all-but-certain to earn a Caps contract when his season ends, has one goal and nine assists in 30 games. He is also +7.
RW - Plymouth Whalers (OHL) - 18
For arguably the second straight month, first-round pick Tom Wilson blew away the competition for the top-performing Caps prospect of the month. After returning from a suspension on February 2nd, Wilson was united with Florida Panthers prospect Vincent Trocheck and 2013 draft hopeful Ryan Hartman. In just 12 games, Wilson would post eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points, also racking up a +15 rating. With 55 points in 45 games, the 6’4” forward has already more than doubled his point total from last season. His +32 rating and 97 PIMs also speak of his unquestionable NHL readiness.
RW - University of Notre Dame (NCAA) - 19
After recovering from an injury keeping him out of the first three games of the month, Austin Wuthrich scored two goals in four games in February. He has struggled pretty badly since being selected in the fourth-round of the 2012 draft, but though his four goals and four assists in 27 games this season are not particularly promising, he remains an exciting Caps prospect.
DC Pro Sports Report Three Stars of the Month:
1. Tom Wilson (12Gms, 8G, 11A, 19P, +15)
2. Riley Barber (8Gms, 5G, 3A, 8P, +3)
3. Connor Carrick (13Gms, 2G, 7A, 9P, +13)