Apparently the Capitals have traded for the hockey-equivalent of Keanu Reeves.
The Caps didn’t call any names on day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota but they did not stand pat, trading their 26th overall selection to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the negotiating rights to Troy Brouwer. Washington hasn’t been shy with their disfavor of this year’s draft class with General Manager George McPhee saying there were few “real difference makers” and the club trading away their first three picks.
Brouwer, a 25 year-old 6′ 2″ 214 pound left wing, is a restricted free agent who is likely to receive a hefty raise after making $1.05 million last season. The Vancouver, BC native tallied 36 points including 17 goals as well 262 hits, good for fifth in the league, in the 2010-11 campaign. He has a career total of 113 points and 53 goals in parts of five seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the ‘Hawks in 2010.
“He’s a power forward who can get us 20 goals a year and play physical, just won a Stanley Cup a year ago and is supposed to be a real good leader,” said McPhee. “You always welcome a guy who plays hard and plays physical.”
The acquisition and expected signing of Brouwer calls into question the future of Brooks Laich, who plays a similar style of game to the new forward, and Matt Bradley. Though, at least for now, there has been no news on that front.
Now, on to the draftees.
Steffen Soberg 4th Round, 117th overall, goaltender, Manglerud (Norway)
Stats: 27 games played, 4.17 GAA, .884 SV%
With their first pick in the draft, the Caps added to their stock pile of young goalies, selecting Steffen Soberg, a 17 year-old from Manglerud, Norway. The son of an American mother, Soberg has spent the past two years playing in GET-ligaen, the top Norwegian hockey league, for Manglerud Star. Playing 27 games in GET-ligaen this past season, Soberg posted a goals against average of 4.17 along with a save percentage of .884. The left-handed catching netminder represented his country at the 2011 World Junior Championship, ending the tournament with a GAA of 3.90 and a SV% of .931, good for second amongst all goalies, in six games. His brother, 16 year-old Markus Soberg, also played for Norway at WJC, tallying a goal and two assists.
Press Conference with Caps Goalie Coach Dave Prior
Patrick Koudys, 5th Round, 147th overall, defenseman, RPI (NCAA)
Stats: 31 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists, 14 PIMS
Koudys (pronounced cow-DICE), played 31 games for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers as a freshman, notching 3 points. Prior to attending RPI, the hulking 6′ 4″, 190 pound defenseman from Smithville, Ontario, suited up for the Burlington Cougars in the Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League. He played 50 games, scoring five goals and accumulating 33 points. Hamilton, Ontario native was named the OHA’s Top Prospect plus Burlington’s Rookie of the Year and Top Defenseman.
His father, Jim, was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 12th round, 252nd overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.
Koudys is the third RPI player taken by the Caps, following Todd Hilditch in 1988 (8th round) and Ryan Kummu in 1987 (12th round).
Press Conference after being drafted
Travis Boyd, 6th Round, 177th overall, forward, USNTDP (USHL)
Stats: 31 games played, 5 goals, 13 assists, 18 points, 10 PIMS
Boyd, a 5′ 10″, 185 pound winger from Hopkins, Minnesota, is an incoming freshman at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota Hockey Prospect says of 17 year-old that he’s a “quick and shifty player that has great hands and a keen ability to read the play in front of him.” Boyd has spent the past two season with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and models his game after Claude Giroux.
Press conference after being drafted
Garret Haar, 7th Round, 207th overall, defenseman, Fargo (USHL)
Stats: 51 games played, 7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points, +/- +9, 38 PIMS
Haar is a 6′ 0″, 193 pound defenseman from Huntington Beach, California. His favorite athlete is Torii Hunter and — from the looks of these photos — enjoys going to hang out at libraries and read books to kids.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland