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Claimed:Nicolas Caprivi - Rookie Profile [Final: 8/8]

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Nicolas Caprivi - Rookie Profile


He has been one of the quieter players in the VHLM these past one and a half seasons, but as Nicolas Caprivi’s junior career is nearing its end, we want to take a look back at the road that has been leading the German-Canadian towards the VHL. Caprivi is expected to join the Cologne Express next season, skipping the VHL Entry Draft thanks to a loophole in the CBA that a bunch of other current VHLM players such as Brady Stropko, Lord Karnage and Ed Grrr are using as well. Right now Caprivi is still a member of the Bratislava Watchmen, but that has not always been the case as he has been one of the most moved around junior players there have ever been in recent memory. Over the last two years, Caprivi has been a member of five different teams and has actually played a game for four of them!


Life was still a lot easier for the then 15 year old Caprivi, when the Kitchener-native was playing for the Mississauga Chargers of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League (OJHL), a major feeder league for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Caprivi turned some heads as a speedy playmaking forward with a very well-rounded game and was selected in the second round of the OHL Priority Selection by his hometown-team, the Kitchener Rangers. But even though this seemed like the right step for his career, a step that would allow him a smooth and steady transition to eventually becoming a pro player, things changed soon. Between the end of the OJHL-season and the OHL-draft, Caprivi decided to join the Victory Hockey League’s minor system, the VHLM, to stay in shape and prepare for the draft.




Shortly before the VHLM-deadline he was picked up on Waivers by the Turku Outlaws, one of the leagues weaker teams and a team he wouldn’t stay on for long. The Outlaws never made a secret of their intentions to use Caprivi as a trade chip at the deadline and after just six games, where Caprivi had recorded five assists and a minus-six rating, he was traded to the Ottawa Lynx for a third round draft selection. By that time Caprivi had been switched to defense by the Outlaws coaching stuff and he kept playing that position in Ottawa. The transition from a bottom-feeder to a contender while still getting used to his new position wasn’t an easy one for Caprivi and he ended up only playing limited minutes for the Lynx for the rest of the regular season. After five points in six games for the Outlaws, where he was the top-defenseman, he was only able to add six more in twenty-eight games for the Lynx.

S39 (TUR) | GP:  6 | G: 0 | A: 5 | P: 5 |  -6 | PIM: 8 | HIT: 17 | SB: 20
S39 (OTT) | GP: 22 | G: 3 | A: 3 | P: 6 | +13 | PIM: 6 | HIT:  3 | SB:  7

By the time the playoffs rolled around, Caprivi seemed to finally have earned the trust of his GM and coach and his ice-time skyrocketed from around ten minutes per game to almost thirty. He wasn’t the flashiest player out there for the Lynx, but still an important piece of the team that ended up going all the way to the finals and eventually winning the Founder’s Cup, playing alongside great players like Thomas O’Malley and Leo Tesla, two future teammates in Cologne, and others such as Andrew Eriksson, Aksel Thomassen, James Faraday and Jerrick Poole. It was the first hardware in Caprivi’s young hockey career and hopefully won’t be the last.

S39 Playoffs | GP: 12 | G: 1 | A: 4 | P: 5 | +2 | PIM: 2 | HIT: 9 | SB: 12

Fresh of a VHLM cup win, some tough decisions already loomed on the horizon for the young Caprivi. While his OHL-rights were still owned by the Kitchener Rangers, he was also selected third overall by the Bratislava Watchmen in the VHLM Dispersal Draft, meaning that he would have to disappoint one of the teams that drafted him. Another question that hadn’t been answered yet was which position Caprivi would play at next season. After playing as a forward for most of his OJHL-career, he had been playing on defense since joining the VHLM and was also planned in on Defense for the Watchmen, whose other three first round selections were all pure forwards. After getting a few weeks to think about it and talking with both teams management and coaches as well as with his parents, Caprivi finally made the decision to stay in the VHLM and play for his very first team outside of North America in Bratislava.




And with that decision, things finally started to settle down for Caprivi. Now being on his fifth team in only about a year, he finally was on a team that he was a cornerstone player for and that didn’t even think about trading him. Over the course of the season he got the chance to further work on his defensive game while also adding a more offensive element to his play and by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was the highest scoring defenseman on the Watchmen. Playing behind arguably the best offense in the league, consisting of Sachimo Zoidberg, Oskars Harumpf, Gifford Shock, Mario de Rossi and deadline-addition Jody 3 Moons, the defensive unit of Caprivi, Wesley Matthews, Danny Schneider and Ed Grrr did a good job of not just putting up points, but also taking some pressure of the Bratislava goaltenders who were struggling for most of the season until Jax Barnstormer was brought in at the deadline.

S40 | GP: 72 | G: 20 | A: 70 | P: 90 | +25 | PIM: 69 | HIT: 109 | SB: 84

While the Season 40 playoffs are underway now, with the Watchmen winning their first round series against the Bern Royals just yesterday, Caprivi’s VHL-debut is getting closer. It is still not decided if Caprivi will play as a forward or a defenseman at the next level, but this is not the only question mark about his game. So to end this articles, we would like to take a quick look about some of his strengths and weaknesses and how we think they will affect his game in the pros!


+ Skating: His skating is arguable the strongest aspect of Caprivi’s game and the one skill that allows him to be effective as both a forward and a defenseman. His quick foot speed and maneuverability allow him to get around the ice quickly and make him one of the most effective backcheckers after getting involved offensively. In a league full of strong skaters such as the VHL it probably won’t be as much of an advantage for him as in the VHLM, but his flawless technique alone will always give him an advantage over a lot of his opponents.


+ Passing: Caprivi is more of a playmaker than a scorer, something that seems to become rarer and rarer in a shoot-first league. His 70 assists in 72 games were certainly helped by the fact that he playing on a strong team, but his great outlet pass and overall vision on the ice are still some of his strongest skills. ‘He makes players around him better’ is a phrase that sometimes gets thrown around lightly, but if Caprivi keeps improving in this aspect as he has over the last few seasons, it could definitely be true for him.


+ Versatility / Consistency: One of the best-rounded players in the VHLM, there isn’t much that Caprivi can’t do. While he is a playmaker first and foremost, he can also shoot the puck himself or try to beat an opponent one-on-one if that is what the situation asks for. Combine that with his good defensive-game and skills at protecting the puck and you will find a player who has surprisingly few weaknesses for such a young age.




- Position: So is Caprivi a defenseman or a forward now? At this point, nobody knows. The questions which position he will play is probably the biggest one as he prepares to enter the VHL and it makes it really tough for scouts to judge him. Being able to play a position is not enough to make it in the VHL, you need to really be good at something to make a lasting impression. And which position is the one that Caprivi is really good at, the one that Kitchener drafted him for in the OHL, or the one that Bratislava planned him in for when they picked him top-3 in the VHLM Dispersal Draft? Right now nobody knows and neither Caprivi nor the Cologne management have commented on this matter recently.


- Star Power: We already touched on that aspect previously and it is a question that probably won’t get answered until later in Caprivi’s career: Does he actually have star power potential? So far he has been a good soldier and team player wherever he has played, but he has never been the one guy to be in the spotlight. Can Caprivi lead a team to a Continental Cup or will he be someone who needs a star that he can follow? It looks like Cologne already has some star power in place in Thomas O’Malley and Mason Richardson so they might not even need Caprivi to become a franchise player. But if his team looks at him for big performances in big games, will he be able to bring it?


- Physical Game: Caprivi has a good frame and is able to protect the puck quite well both by using his puck skills and by using his body, but he isn’t actually much of a physical player right now. He only was seventh on his team in hits and third among defensemen, so even in the VHLM he wasn’t a very physical player and this will only become more of an issue once he hits the VHL. Caprivi is not a player who gets pushed around, but at this point it seems a least questionable if he will be able to handle the bigger, stronger forwards of the VHL. Does this mean that it might make more sense to use him as a forward once he makes the jump? Only time will tell…

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Content: 5/5 This was way above expectations here. Caprivi looks like he could really help be a difference maker for the Express. Hopefully he can turn out to be the player he is supposed to be.

Grammar: 1/1 Don't see anything

Appearance: 1/1 Yup

Over 500 words?: 1/1 Definitely


Final: 8/8

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