One year after winning the Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals were bounced in the first-round and will pick inside the top-25 for the first time since 2015.
The Capitals’ farm system needs a lot of work. The last time they picked this high, they took goaltender Ilya Samsonov and he is their only high-end prospect at the moment. The 22-year-old was lights out in the KHL but had a tough time transitioning to the AHL this season. Samsonov was 20-16-1 with a 2.70 GAA and .898 SV% with Hershey. Luckily, Braden Holtby has one more year left on his contract, so the Capitals can be patient with Samsonov.
After Samsonov, the Capitals have two decent D-prospects in Alexander Alexeyev (No.31 Pick in 2018) and Lucas Johansen (No.28 Pick in 2016). Alexeyev was expected to be a long-term project but he had a great 2018-19 season, posting 43 points (10G / 33A) in 49 WHL games and six points (2G / 4A) in seven games with Russia at the U20 World Juniors. They should get a better idea of where Alexeyev when he moves to the AHL in 2019-20. Johansen missed a lot of time due to injury in his second AHL season and saw his points-per-game slide from 0.37 to 0.31. He’ll get at least another year in the AHL but could be a third-pairing defenseman by 2020-22.
Shane Gersich is among their top prospects as well, but wouldn’t be talked about in other team’s systems. The 22-year-old was picked in the fifth-round in 2014 and had just 24 points (8G / 16A) in 66 games in his first AHL season.
So yeah, nothing too impressive in the pipelines right now. Washington will need to hit on the first and second round picks this year because they do not have a third, fifth or sixth round pick.
With the No.25 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals select…
Nicholas Robertson — LW — United States 🇺🇸
Robertson is exactly the type of player the Capitals need to inject some life into their prospect pool. When you watch his highlight tape you would think a few creative plays were hand-picked, but it just keeps going and going. He has extremely good hands and one of the best shots in the draft class. He is one of the youngest (September 11, 2001) and smallest (5-foot-9, 161 lbs.) in the class, but also one of the most skilled.
Nicholas is the brother of Dallas Stars’ prospect Jason Robertson (No.39 Pick in 2017) and had a nice season with the Peterborough Petes. Robertson was second on the team in goals (27) and first in points (55) despite playing just 54 games. The diminutive winger also represented the USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he was tied for the team-lead in goals (4) and tied for third in points (5) in five games.
Robertson will need a few more years in the OHL but when you pair his skill with his compete-level you get a high-end prospect for a team desperate for one. Looking at the Capitals forward core, you have just Evgeny Kuznetsov (27), Tom Wilson (25), Andre Burakovsky (24) and Jakub Vrana (23) under the age of 30. The need to stock the shelves and get some forwards in the system soon because Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie won’t be able to play forever.
Robertson’s skill level is very high. He often makes highlight reel plays, making creative plays through legs and finding a way to create a chance out of nothing. Robertson can make the creative dekes, but he’s also a very good passer and shooter. His passes are often flashy, but he can try to do too much at times with his playmaking and turns pucks over. His shot is one of the best in the draft. He can snipe pucks off the crossbar and has often beat goalies from a distance. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
A great skater who blends quick acceleration with quick edges. Owns high-end puck skills, vision, and a developing release. One of the youngest players in the crop. A fun player to root for. — Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)
- #48 — HockeyProspect.com
- #35 — Future Considerations
- #34 — ISS Hockey
- #17 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)