While the Capitals struggle in the NHL and going through a sort of rebirth, their AHL affiliate Hershey Bears are quietly doing well. Hershey PA’s hockey heroes have started to put together a winning season and are 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 12-4-2 record. Which has prompted me to ask Capitals fans, do you know who your top prospects are?
Of course many would say Alex Ovechkin. However, the Caps had made a point of trading big names for young talent. So who are these talented youngsters?
1. Eric Fehr, RW – When the Capitals’ Scouts went to Manitoba, they were looking for a talented Ryan Stone, instead they found Eric Fehr.
"Eric has a real nose for the net, a pure scorer. He's the guy who's most likely to score the 'big goal'" - Brandon head coach Dean Clark.
Fehr has 9 goals and 12 assist in 21 games and is the points leader for the Bears.
2. Chris Bourque, C – Many Caps fans fell in love with Bourque during the preseason this year. Son of Hall of Famer Raymond Bourque, Chris was named a New England Prep all-star two straight years. The Caps believe he will be a solid NHL player after some seasoning in the minors.
3. Jared Aulin, C – After playing well in the L.A. Kings Farm system, Aulin joins the Bears and proves to be one of the better prospects the Caps have in the works. As a member of Team Canada under-18 he helped win gold in the 1999 Four Nations Tournament. Aulin will not back down from a challenge, even injuring himself when standing up for a teammate. He has 14 points in 16 games played for the Bears.
4. Mike Green, D – If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Green has already played a few games for the Capitals this year after a slew of injuries hurt the defensive core. Although, he did not score any points and posted a -8 during his NHL span of 11 games. With the Bears Green has 1 goal and 5 assists in 10 games played. Green was named the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team for ’04-’05.
5. Jonas Johansson, RW – Johansson is a smooth skater and has great puck handling skills. Injuries have plagued the young player, but when he is healthy he is creative and active. Johansson can be easily knocked off the puck and has to learn to fight through checks.
Other names to mention are those that are already wearing Capitals sweaters. Players like Jakub Klepis, Tomas Fleischmann, Shaone Morrisonn, Boyd Gordon, and Brooks Laich.
The Caps future seems bright with these new players. If these players grow at the rate GM George McPhee wants them too, we may be looking at a talented fast team that is creative and fun to watch. Many of the Capitals prospects may never play in the big league, but it’s the chance the Caps are taking to win a Stanley Cup.