A Look At Some Of The Capitals Lesser Known Prospects: Part IIIPosted on February 27, 2014 by Chris Cerullo
So far I have covered Caps prospects Chandler Stephenson, Madison Bowey, Zach Sanford and Thomas Di Pauli so if you missed those last two pieces I suggest reading them before you continue on. Recently, I have been dissecting some of the prospects that dwell throughout the Caps system that many fans don’t know much about. Last time I discussed two forward prospects but today we’ll be moving on to two defensemen, Christian Djoos and Jaynen Rissling.
Starting with Christian Djoos; the Swedish defenseman, son of former NHLer Pär Djoos, was drafted by the Caps in the 7th round (195th overall) in 2012 and currently plays with Brynas IF Gavle of the Swedish Hockey League. Many may recognize Brynas as the former team of current Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom who starred for the club from 2004 to 2007 before coming stateside. Djoos is small in stature as he currently stands at 6’0 and weighs in at around 160 pounds, but tends to make up for that with his tremendous skating ability. Djoos can jump into the play to create offense very well but prefers to sit back and play a more responsible role, which we saw in both of his appearances for Sweden in the last two World Junior Classics. He played a smaller role for Sweden in 2012-2013, putting up 3 assists in 6 games of action but in 2013-2014 was arguably their best defenseman in a tournament where Sweden won silver losing out to Finland in the gold medal game. He played in all 7 games, putting up big minutes both five on five and on the powerplay where he had 2 goals. For Djoos to eventually contribute in North America he is going to need to quickly adjust to the physical style of play and improve the defensive side of his game. In the end, I expect Djoos to eventually make the team in Hershey and from then on how he develops will determine whether or not we ever see him in Washington.
Next up we have Jaynen Rissling, who also has family ties to the NHL via his uncle Gary Rissling who played in 221 games, 37 of which actually coming with the Caps. Rissling was selected in the 7th round (197th overall) in 2012, only two picks away from Djoos, and currently is serving as captain of the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. The Hitmen may also be familiar to some Caps fans as current Caps first pairing defenseman Karl Alzner starred for the club from 2003 to 2008. Rissling is the complete opposite of Djoos when it comes to size as he stands at 6’4 and weighs in around 225 pounds. His biggest strength is using that size to his advantage as he loves to throw his body around and often drops the gloves as he leads the Hitmen in penalty minutes regularly. His character, leadership and overall tenacity are what he contributes most to his team but has recently picked up a pretty solid offensive game. In my opinion, he is an underrated puck-mover and put up solid point totals in both 2012-2013, 28 points in 61 games, and so far this year with 35 points in 45 games. I definitely see him at some point in the future playing for Hershey and to get to Washington he is likely going to have to continue to prove that he can be a huge, effective physical force.
That wraps up my coverage on Christian Djoos and Jaynen Rissling. I think my next piece will likely be an overview of the Caps system as a whole, and I will likely assign grades to each prospect and give my thoughts on where they could potentially line up for the Caps in the future.