In the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, GM John Chayka loaded up on offensive defensemen. But his predecessor, Don Maloney, began the restocking process a year prior by selecting the player at #17 on our list of prospects under 21.
The Arizona Coyotes may have added some big name defensive prospects over the past two years, but don’t sleep on Kyle Capobianco.
#17 - Kyle Capobianco - Left-Handed Defenseman - Sudbury Wolves - 63rd overall pick, 2015 NHL Draft
Highest Rank - 11
Lowest Rank - 19
If losing builds character, Capobianco will be an instant character guy wherever he ends up. The Wolves have gone 28-100-6-2 over the past two seasons. Capobianco has done as much as he can on a roster that has struggled against some of the best in the OHL; Capobianco figured in 26.8% of Sudbury’s goals in his draft eligible season.
In three seasons, Capobianco has 17 goals and 77 assists in 189 games, good for .5 points per game. His 36 assists in 2015-16 were only exceeded by Jakob Chychrun and Cam Dineen among defensive prospects in the Arizona system. However only four players on the Wolves’ roster have been drafted by NHL clubs, and nobody apart from Capobianco were drafted higher than the 5th round, while Chychrun and Dineen play with the likes of Pavel Zacha, Travis Konecny, and fellow Coyotes prospect Kyle Wood.
In short, Capobianco is doing more with less, and is playing some heavy minutes in the OHL, which should benefit his conditioning. But 179 pounds may be a little too light to stick in the NHL; Alex Goligoski is 185 pounds, but three inches shorter than Capobianco. A little more strength would serve Capobianco well.
But the struggles of the Wolves reflect little of Kyle Capobianco’s true talent. He should earn some AHL playing time after Sudbury’s season ends, and it may not be long before Capobianco dons Sedona Red for the Coyotes.