A day after drafting talented defenseman Lucas Johansen with their first round pick, the Washington Capitals made six other selections on Day Two, including two picks two spots apart in the fifth round.
“The theme this year was to get intelligent players that work hard and can skate,” Assistant General Manager Ross Mahoney said to reporters after the Draft concluded. “We’re really happy with the results we got. Moving back and picking up an extra pick and still getting the person we want in the first round. Plus getting that extra pick so that was good because we were down a few picks after some of the trades that have taken place. Very happy with that.”
The Washington Capitals selected center Garrett Pilon in the third round, left wing Damien Riat in the fourth, left wings Beck Malenstyn and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby in the fifth, defenseman Chase Priskie in the sixth, and defenseman Dmitriy Zaitsev in the seventh. Below, we profile each player.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 25, 2016
During the third round, the Capitals went off the board to select undersized center Garrett Pilon from the Kamloops Blazers.
“Pilon had very big numbers in the Saskatchewan Midget Triple A league for Saskatoon,” Mahoney said. “He put up good numbers with Kamloops on a team that was young and rebuilding. So his numbers might have been higher with a more experienced team. [He also] plays the point on the power play sometimes as a center.”
Pilon, 18, was ranked 109th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 5’10”, 175-pound center registered 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists) in 71 games with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL) last season. Pilon registered 13 multi-point games in 2015-16, including a three-point performance (two goals, one assist) on Sept. 26 against Kelowna. The Kindersley, Saskatchewan, native led Kamloops in game-winning goals (6) last season, ranked second in power-play assists (14), fourth in games played, fifth in assists, sixth in points and tied for sixth in goals. In addition, Pilon ranked second among WHL rookies in game-winning goals, ninth in assists and tied for ninth in points. His father, Rich Pilon, was drafted 143rd overall by the New York Islanders in 1986 and skated in 631 career NHL games with the Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.
In the fourth round, the Capitals selected Damien Riat, a left wing from the Geneve Servette of the National League in Switzerland. “[The Pilon and Riat selections were] kind of similar with Lucas Johansen yesterday with their intelligence and hockey sense,” Mahoney said. “Pilon and Riat have always been very, very intelligent players and gifted offensively. They skate well. They both put up pretty big numbers. Riat has had experience playing in North America also.”
You can see Riat scoring a goal at the 49 second mark here.
Riat, 19, was ranked 84th overall among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 6’0”, 172-pound left wing registered 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 45 games with the Geneve Servette of the National League A in Switzerland last season. Riat ranked tied for sixth on the team in goals in 2015-16, tied for eighth in points and tied for ninth in assists. The Geneva, Switzerland, native has represented Switzerland at the World Junior Championship (2016), U18 World Championship (2014, 2015) and Ivan Hlinka Memorial (2013, 2014). This is the second consecutive year the Capitals have drafted a player from the National League A (2015: Jonas Siegenthaler, Zurich).
With the first of their two picks in the fifth round, the Capitals selected Calgary Hitmen left wing Beck Malenstyn. He appears to be a Tom Wilson-esque forward where he looks to hit hard and create chaos. “He’s more your six-foot, one-inch-and-a-half, 200 pound power forward,” Mahoney said. “Strong in the corners, strong on the puck. Not as gifted offensively as those other players would be. He would be more of a complimentary player if he played with them.”
According to Hockey Fights, Malenstyn dropped the gloves five times last season. He’s essentially a pest.
Malenstyn, 18, was ranked 73rd overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 6’2”, 191-pound left wing registered 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 70 games with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) last season. Malenstyn ranked third on the team in games played and ninth in points and assists in 2015-16. He has earned 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 126 career WHL games with Calgary. The Delta, B.C., native earned three points (two goals, one assist) in five games with Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
With their second pick in the fifth round, the Capitals selected left wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from Djurgarden Sweden.
“I’m sure I’m mispronouncing it,” Mahoney said after sputtering through the new Caps’ name. “Same thing. Really good skater. Smart. Sees the ice well. Makes good plays. Honest effort every shift. We liked him during the season. We thought he played really well during the Under-18 tournament in North Dakota. We saw it on a smaller ice surface what he could do.”
This seems fancy.
And did we mention his hair?
His lettuce/60 is strong https://t.co/R1tlVtaH6i
— RMNB (@russianmachine) June 25, 2016
He’s already an all-star with that salad.
Jonsson-Fjallby, 18, was ranked 92nd overall among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 6’0”, 170-pound left wing registered 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 39 games with Djurgarden (Sweden-Jr.) in 2015-16. Jonsson-Fjallby is the fifth Swedish player drafted by Washington since the 2012 NHL Draft. The Stockholm, Sweden, native earned four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games with Sweden at the 2016 U18 World Championship.
In the fifth round, the Capitals took defenseman Chase Priskie. “Once again, smart player moves the puck well, good skill,” Mahoney said. “They thought he had a good season this year at Quinnipiac University.”
Even though Priskie just finished his freshman season at Quinnipiac, he's already 20 years old. Could play pro at any point.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) June 25, 2016
NHL Network analysts were excited by the pick saying that Priskie has elite skating ability, but the rest of his game is a bit of a project.
NHL Network says Caps latest pick, defenseman Chase Priskie, already has NHL skating ability right now. Still smaller project-type player.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) June 25, 2016
Check out this skill though.
— College Hockey Inc. (@collegehockey) June 25, 2016
Priskie, 20, was ranked 126th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 6’0”, 185-pound defenseman recorded 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 43 games with Quinnipiac University (NCAA) last season. Priskie tallied four multi-point games in 2015-16, including three assists on Nov. 7 at Cornell. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native ranked sixth on the team in assists, seventh in points and eighth in plus/minus (+15) last season.
Finally, the Caps concluded their picks by taking Dmitry Zaitsev in the seventh round.
Zaitsev, 18, registered 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 53 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (NAHL) last season. The 6’0”, 184-pound defenseman led Knights defensemen in points, goals and assists in 2015-16. Zaitsev represented Russia at the 2016 U18 World Championship.
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