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Fansided Mock-Draft: Radek Faksa – 11th Overall (Washington Capitals)
Fansided’s hockey community is participating in a mock-draft this spring (albeit a bit ahead of schedule, obviously). Thus, it falls to Capitals Outsider to chime in for the 11th overall selection (acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in 2011 in exchange for the rights to Semyon Varlamov).
Prior Selection #10 (Tampa Bay Lightning) - Zemgus Girgensons
First, Capitals Outsider would like to congratulate the 2012 winners of the Stanley Cup. With the eleventh overall pick in the Fansided 2012 Mock NHL Entry Draft, Capitals Outsider selects from the Kitchener Rangers: Radek Faksa (Opava, CZE).
Radek brings both size and strength as a 6′ 3″/203 pound Center, and has led the OHL in many rookie categories repeatedly this season after being brought in by the Rangers to replace departing star Gabriel Landeskog. It’s also important to note that the Rangers have a stellar record of producing solid NHLers in recent years, with Landeskog and Jeff Skinner being the latest to make first-year jumps to the majors.
This left-shooting countryman of current Capitals Michal Neuvirth and Roman Hamrlik earned 29 goals and 38 assists over the course of 62 games, and ended the season with a +19. While Faksa has potential to jump straight into the NHL due to his size and experience, a year or two of further seasoning on the North American ice surface playing top-line minutes – first in the OHL, and later in the AHL – could see Faksa eventually filling the much bemoaned 2LC position that the Capitals have so struggled with. He’s noted for being a very active 2-way center, with above-average puck-protection skills, and has a reputation as a playmaker.
While Washington has their 1LC for the next decade in the Swedish Nicklas Backstrom, that second line center position is still very much up for dibs. Faksa’s size would also make him valuable on a checking or primarily physical line. The Capitals may currently appear to be well stocked at the pivot, but there is something to be said in planning for the future. Faksa could very well prove to be an integral part of that future. Especially in light of 2010′s first round selection, Evgeny Kuznetsov, opting to remain in the KHL for the next two years.