6. Damien Riat
One of the least talked about prospects in the Washington Capitals system is Damien Riat, but that may soon change. The 23-year-old forward was taken in the Fourth-Round (No. 117 overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, after his rookie season in the Swiss National League where he posted nine goals and 21 points in 45 games. He has remained in Switzerland since, and is currently playing in his sixth season in the league.
The 2019-20 season was Riat’s best in terms of points per game since playing in the NL, registering 11 goals and 22 points in 36 games. While those are solid totals, they aren’t enough to garner much NHL attention. This season, however, he is starting to make some noise. In just 20 games played, he has seven goals and 18 points, which has started to turn some heads. Given that he had signed an Entry-Level Contract last March, he was expected to head over to North America this season, though the pandemic has put those plans on hold. As of now, he remains in Switzerland, where he will likely stay for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. He will more than likely play in the AHL for the start of the 2021-22 season however, where the organization will get to see how his skill level translates.
5. Alexander Alexeyev
As of now, the Capitals appear to have made a pretty good selection with the last pick in the First-Round (No. 31 overall) at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft when they grabbed Alexander Alexeyev. At the time, the Russian defenseman was coming off a season with the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL where he had seven goals and 37 points in 45 matches. He then returned to the Rebels for one more season where he slightly increased his offensive totals to 10 goals and 43 points in 49 games.
The now 21-year-old Alexeyev spent the entire 2019-20 season with the Hershey Bears. Considering he was a rookie 20-year-old defenseman at the time, he played quite well, putting up 21 points in 58 games. Thankfully, this season he has not been forced to wait around for hockey to start, as he was loaned to Ufa Salavat Yulayev in the KHL. In 45 games this season, he has seven goals and 14 points. Though he still needs time to continue developing, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him get some NHL games in during the 2021-22 season.