With the June 30 NHL entry draft fast approaching – the Capitals own eight selections, including the 23rd overall pick – we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 prospects already in the organization and a brief scouting/progress report on each.
Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will profile all 10 prospects, in descending order. Today’s top prospect, at No. 7: Nate Schmidt.
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 195
Hometown: St. Cloud, Minn.
Drafted: Undrafted, Signed as free agent on April 3, 2013
2012-13 Teams: U. of Minnesota [WCHA], Hershey [AHL]
Penalty Minutes: 18
Contract Status: 2 years remaining on 2-year, $1.85 million contract [$70,000 AHL, $925,000 NHL, $1.35 million cap hit]
Scouting Report: A late bloomer, Schmidt impressed the Caps enough in his final two seasons at Minnesota [12-61-73 in 83 games] to land a two-year contract similar to the one signed by Cameron Schilling last year. Schmidt, who will turn 22 in July, had a brief stint with the Capitals, participating in one practice before he was assigned to the Hershey Bears, where he picked up two assists in five playoff games. Schmidt is an excellent skater and passer and possesses a hard, accurate shot. “They expect me to be a puck-moving defenseman and to get the puck to the skill guys,” Schmidt said upon arriving in Washington. “And we have some of the best forwards in the world on this team.”
2013-14 Expectations: For now, Schmidt is behind defensive prospects Tomas Kundratek and Dmitry Orlov, but not by much. He still needs to prove himself at the pro level, but if Schmidt has a strong start under Mike Haviland in Hershey next season he could see spot duty as a call-up for the Caps.