Are changes coming for the Washington Capitals?
Down & Dirty Caps Draft Details
Last Friday and Saturday, the thirty NHL front offices camped out on the floor of Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh to decide the fates of 207 boys aged 18-20. The Washington Capitals had eleven picks going into Friday evening. They walked away on Saturday afternoon with ten prospects – two of them first rounders – and a veteran center as well. Not a bad haul, by any standard.
Given that we’re in the midst of that whole offseason thing, anyone and everyone is talking about the draft (and its results). In the interests of being conversational, Caps Outsider gives you a quick & dirty look at George McPhee’s draft.
(2 Picks, & the NHL tried to set a record for the length of a single round – 4 hours. NBCSN had 2 hours budgeted)
When it came time for the Caps to step up to the mic, George McPhee took his time pondering the options. And then he took some more time. After a few awkward pauses, the Capitals used their eleventh overall pick to snag Filip Forsberg (RW) – a player originally projected to go third overall by TSN. Blueliners were the order of the evening, however – 8 of the first 10 picks! – which left the highly touted Swede free to join his countrymen on the Caps. He’s also the third time the Caps have turned to the Swedish Elite League in the first round since drafting Nicklas Backstrom back in 2006.
(To counter Friday’s timing disaster, rounds 2-7 were conducted like a game of Hot Potato. Total Duration – 2.5 hours)
While they didn’t draft, the Caps still walked away from the second round with a thirty-two year old veteran center. Mike Ribeiro (formerly of the Dallas Stars), welcome to Washington. Cody Eakin, good luck in Dallas.
Garrett Mitchell, who was named most-improved player of the year in Hershey this spring, will have a friend in the system this year. Fellow Regina Pat Chandler Stephenson (and another member of the “interchangeable first and last names” crowd) was picked up 77th overall. He’s listed as a C/LW, and more than doubled his point production during his sophomore year in the OHL (7-12-19 last year, 22-20-42 this year). As with most players in the third-and-below, we’ll have a much better idea what to make of Stephenson once he’s popped into D-Camp and we have a chance to see what he’s like in person.
Four, Five, Six, & Seven:
As we recently noted, there can be some fantastic gems in the seventh round. Every team dreams of the super-sleeper, but the truth is that the odds of playing in the NHL drop significantly as a player’s overall draft number increases. With that in mind, we’re combining the bottom-four rounds. Any one of these players could turn into a superstar in ten years – becoming a prospect brings with it a whole slew of benefits that draftees can take advantage of – but at the outset they’re simply a roll of the dice.
Round 4 begins at draftee #92, and the Caps’ first pick was 100 – Thomas Di Pauli, a center from the US National Development Program (USNDP). Seven spots later, they snagged Austin Wuthrich, a right wing in his second year of eligibility who’s currently playing with Notre Dame after doing time in the USNDP.
Round 5 brought the first defenseman to join Washington’s ranks this year – Connor Carrick. It also confirmed that the USNDP is indeed doing well by the Caps this year. The biggest standout in Carrick’s stats thusfar is the fact that his penalty minute total in a given season has always been exactly six times as high as his points total.
Round 6 saw the USNDP trend continue with right winger Riley Barber, who was ranked 86th by Central Scouting going into the draft (a stellar improvement from his 141 at the midterm assessment). The Caps nabbed him at 167 overall.
Round 7 is where the Caps cashed in on their extra picks – three prospects in nine slots. At 195 was the Swedish D-man Christian Djoos (currently affiliated with Brynas, though he hasn’t served much time on their SEL team, just the junior version). Then there was 197, D-man Jaynen Rissling from the Calgary Hitmen. And last but not least, a lone Russian (and goalie) at 203 – Sergei Kostenko.
Washington managed to draft themselves exactly half a complete roster. If this were for a rec league, they’d have a complete team – two forward lines, a defensive pair (and a spare), and a goalie. McPhee also managed to bow out of the spotlight for tardiness when the Florida Panthers had to call for a timeout during the second round. All in all, we’re calling it a win.
Oops Moment of the Weekend: