There were reports earlier this year out of Sweden that Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would exercise his European Assignment Clause to return home for the remainder of this season, but the Washington Capitals shot them down saying their young prospect had no plans on leaving “at this time.” That time seems to have passed now, since the Capitals have now loaned Jonsson-Fjallby to Djurgardens of the SHL. Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post tweets that the move is “not ideal” for the Capitals, noting that they wanted him playing in their minor league system.
The 20-year old Jonsson-Fjallby scored just three points in his 16 games with the Hershey Bears, but could likely still benefit from being close at hand for the Capitals development program. Instead, he’ll head back to Sweden where he finished last season with a strong playoff performance and will likely be given more responsibility. The fifth-round pick has already come a long way from his humble draft beginnings in 2016, including winning a silver medal with the Swedish World Junior Championship team last year. There is still plenty of work before he becomes an NHL player, but he’s well on his way to a successful professional career already.
Washington still hasn’t received a single NHL appearance from anyone they drafted in 2016, and their lack of development is starting to show on the fringes of the roster. Even Jakub Vrana, the full-time player most recently drafted by the Capitals still hasn’t established himself as a real force in the league and he stands alone in terms of real roster options from the last five drafts. While several other players will surely eventually establish themselves at the NHL level, the Capitals will need a breakthrough sooner rather than later if they’re to keep up their championship pedigree.