Well the NHL Entry Draft is Over. The Washington Capitals made a few moves to get the players they wanted and now it's on to closing their contract negotiations with their Restricted and Unrestricted Free Agents. However before that starts, let's recap this past weekends draft for the Capitals.
Round 1 - The Caps traded up from 23 to 21 by trading pick 23 and 2nd Round Pick and selected Swedish Anton Gustafsson, son of former Caps star Bengt Gustafsson. There was never a doubt about the young Swede's talent, pedigree, hockey sense or skill however, he has had some health issues with his back this past season and was projected as low as 30. Apparently the Caps saw the data, MRIs, etc and opted to pick him, also apparently they had reason to believe the Edmonton Oilers also had him as their preferred available Center so they leapfrogged the Oilers and picked him. The Oilers then selected Center Jordan Eberle with the next pick. Gustafsson will remain in Sweden next season. The Caps will probably give him 2 - 3 years to develop, next year in Sweden then a year or two in Hershey.
Round 1 - The Caps traded Defenseman Steve Emminger, a Restricted Free Agent who is arbitration eligible, and their third round pick (number 84)to get the 27th pick and selected Defenseman John Carlson from the Indiana Ice of the USHL. Carlson is a 6'2" 185 pounder from Colonia, NJ who will suit up for Dale Hunter's London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League next season instead of going to the University of Massachusetts.
Round 2 - With the 57th pick that the Caps had obtained previously from San Jose, Washington selected defenseman Eric Mestery from Olaf Kolzig and Stu Barnes' Tri-City Americans of the WHL. Of Mestery,Tarik El-Bashir wrote: "Mestery, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound native of Winnipeg, is a smooth skater who scouts hope will develop into a steady and reliable defenseman in the NHL"
Round 2 - Resisting trade offers from other teams, Caps General manager George McPhee selected Russian Right Wing Dmitri Kugryshev from with the second of back to back 2nd round picks. Kugryshev is a 5-11, 183-pounder who amassed 29 goals and 29 assists in Russia's third division last season, that might have gone in the first round if there was a transfer agreement in place.
Round 3 - The Caps had no third round pick as they traded it to Philadelphia to move up. The Flyers selected Goalie Jacob Deserres from Seattle of the Western Hockey League. If Washington uses some of the Salary Cap Room they got by trading Steve Emminger to sign Christobel Huet and two of the three Goalie prospects already in their system play in the NHL, this fact, trade and selection by the Flyers won't come back to haunt the Caps.
Round 4 - The Caps selected Braden Holtby, an athletic but raw goalie from the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, with the 94th pick overall.
Round 5 - Washington selected Joel Broda with the 144th overall pick. Broda is a a two-way center from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.
Round 6 - The Caps selected Greg Burke of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs 174th overall. Burke is a left wing who will attend the University of New Hampshire so the Caps might get "four free years" of development before they have to decide whether they'll sign him.
Round 7 - With their last pick of this year's draft Washington chose Stefan Della Rovere with 204th of the 211 picks made, he's a left wing from Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League.
So the tallies for the Caps are as follows. By position the Caps chose 2 Defenseman, 2 Centers, 2 Left Wings, 1 Right Wings and 1 Goalie. By nationality the Caps selected 1 Swede, 2 Americans, 4 Canadians, and 1 Russian. By Junior League the Caps selected 3 players from the Western Hockey League; 1 from the Swedish Juniors; 1 from the Russian third league; 1 from the Ontario Hockey League; 1 from the EJHL and 1 from the USHL. In general when you look back a decade later a good draft for a team is one that yields four players who play in the NHL. Since the Caps don't have to rush any of these picks into an NHL uniform and the talent pool was fairly deep, it's not hard to envision this draft class as being a good one for the Caps. If Gustafsson stays healthy, it's not unrealistic to foresee this class having four or five graduate to the NHL in three or four years.
Can't Wait Till Next Season - LETS GO CAPS!!!!!