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. 6: Michael Latta
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 213
Hometown: St. Clements, Ont.
Drafted: 3rd Round [72nd overall] by Nashville in 2009
Acquired: From Nashville, along with Marty Erat, for Filip Forsberg, April 3, 2013
2012-13 Teams: Milwaukee [AHL], Hershey [AHL]
Penalty Minutes: 198
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 3-year, $1.854 million entry-level contract [$62,500 AHL, $550,000 NHL, $785,833 cap hit in 2013-14]
Scouting Report: Although Erat and Forsberg were the linchpins of the deadline day trade between the Caps and Preds, Latta may emerge as a valuable asset for the Caps. Considered one of Nashville’s top prospects last season, Latta hits hard, fights hard, blocks shots and kills penalties, all attributes possessed by Matt Hendricks, who could be on his way to another NHL team via free agency.
2013-14 Expectations: Latta is one of those on-the-edge players. With 24 goals, 42 assists and 300 penalty minutes in 131 AHL games he has proven he can play at the pro level. He just hasn’t proved he can play at the NHL level. Latta will get a long look at training camp and could make a strong push for the role of fourth-line center or depth call-up from Hershey.