In preparation for the 2023-24 season, Washington Hockey Now staff have compiled a list of the top 10 Washington Capitals prospects. The final rankings are based on the research and discussions of WHN staff.
No. 7: Ryan Chesley, RHD
Age: 19; Ht-Wt: 6-0, 201; Shoots: Right; Drafted: 2nd round, 2022.
When the Capitals moved up nine spots in the second round of the 2022 draft, Ryan Chesley was among the prospects the team’s front office had in mind.
“After the trade took place and we were picking up higher, I was sitting there thinking that there’s probably three guys that’ll be there in those four, five picks,” Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said at the 2022 draft.
Heralded by some as a potential first-round pick, Chesley fell to the Capitals with pick No. 37.
“[Chesley] was there, and we’re really, really happy to get him,” Mahoney said.
Dating back to his days with the U.S. National Development Team, Chesley has been praised for his abilities as a two-way defenseman. During the 2021-22 season, Chesley’s 12 goals led all of the team’s defensemen, while as a freshman at the University of Minnesota last season, he was part of the highest-scoring defensive unit at the NCAA Frozen Four.
“I think his offensive ability is probably a little underrated,” Mahoney said.
Chesley’s hockey instincts have also made him a threat in the defensive zone, in addition to improving his status as a penalty killer.
“He can really skate, he competes, he’s really strong for his size and for his age,” Mahoney said.
Chesley, arguably the Capitals’ top defensive prospect, appears unlikely to supplant either of the team’s three right-handed defensemen — John Carlson, Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk — barring any age-related regression from the trio. All three are under contract through the 2025-26 season, when the youngest among them will be 35-years old.
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Where Is He Playing This Year?
Chesley enters his sophomore season with the University of Minnesota, returning after a runner-up finish at the NCAA’s Frozen Four in April.