Monday, January 15, 2007

Capitals' Prospects Update

A look at our European Prospects. Thanks to posters from the HFBoards for help with these updates:
  • Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps' best prospect not currently playing for the team, has been out with the flu as of late but received some good news recently as he was named the rookie of the year by the Swedish Sport Academy. His latest statistics are 11 goals, 25 assists, and 36 points in 32 games for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League. That currently puts him 10th in the league in scoring. He also recorded 7 assists in 7 games during the Under-20 World Junior Championships.
  • Simeon Varlamov led the Russian Under-20 team to a silver medal in the World Junior Championships. And by led I mean he was the main reason for the Russian's success as he posted a 1.51 gaa and a .934 save percentage. Varlamov was recently interviewed by about being selected by the Caps in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft.
At this summer’s NHL draft, you were chosen 23rd overall and were the first Russian player to be selected at the draft. Were you expecting this kind of success?
S. Varlamov: That’s the thing that I didn’t expect it at all! I didn’t even go to Vancouver for the draft and really regretted it later on. Who knew? I was very happy.

Playing in the NHL is my dream and I plan to go there in a year or two. You only get once chance to play in the best league in the world and I don’t want to lose it.

Are you afraid of the North American minor leagues?
S. Varlmaov: No. What is so scary about them? Bryzgalov spent five years in the AHL. Not everyone is capable of stepping into the NHL right away and you can’t get frustrated if you don’t make it right away. Work and more work is the only way to success. I read Bryzgalov’s interview in Soviet Sport where he says that he would advise Varlamov to spend some time in the minor leagues and I agree with him.

Hopefully this means we will be seeing Varlamov with the Hershey Bears sooner rather than later. Click here to read the rest of the interview.

  • Sami Lepisto, a 2004 third-round selection, has only played in 6 games so far this season for Jokerit in Finland netting 1 goal and 3 assists for a total of 4 points.
  • Peter Guggisberg, a 2004 sixth-round selection, has 3 goals, 4 assists, and 7 points in 32 games for Davos in Switzerland.
  • Oscar Hedman, a 2004 fifth-round selection, has 2 goals, 2 assists, and 4 points in 38 games for MODO of the Swedish Elite League.
  • Pasi Salonen, another 2004 fifth-round selection, has 4 goals, 4 assists, and 8 points for HIFK in Finland
Note: As I write this I am enjoying watching the Washington Redskins Super Bowl XXII victory over the Denver Broncos 42-10 as it is being replayed on the NFL network, a must have station for all you NFL fanatics out there. On a side note, when will the NHL network be coming to America?

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