2012 Capitals NHL Draft Preview: Defensemen

[Editor’s note: Here comes installment number three of our draft coverage. Part 1 featured Centers, and Part 2 was all about the wings.]

The Capitals have a solid young core on the blueline that should last for some more time. That’s the result of successful work by McPhee and his staff at the last few NHL drafts. Of the seven defensemen likely returning, five of them were drafted by the Capitals, and all are 25 or younger. The prospect pool at the back end looks pretty decent as well with the acquisitions of promising players like Tomas Kundratek, Kevin Marshall, and Cameron Schilling, as well as the steady development of stay-at-home defenseman Patrick Wey in the NCAA. At the same time, with the graduation of Dmitry Orlov, the prospect list now lacks top-end potential. If the Caps feel like they need to strengthen their future top 4, they may look for a defenseman in the first round, especially since this draft is considered deep in that position.

In their current D-corps line-up, the Caps have John Carlson (RFA), Karl Alzner, Mike Green (RFA), Roman Hamrlik, Dmitry Orlov, Jeff Schultz, and John Erskine. Among the prospects, the standouts are Patrick Wey, Tomas Kundratek, Kevin Marshall, Brett Flemming, and Cameron Schilling.

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2012 Capitals NHL Draft Preview: The Wingers

[Editor’s note: You are now reading Part Two of Fedor’s series on the draft. If you missed Part One, all about available centers, well then this link right here leaves you with no excuse.]

Despite Caps fans clamoring for another top six center, the Caps could certainly use one or two more wingers in the near future. With Kuznetsov’s delayed arrival and the likely departure of Alexander Semin, there’s a hole in the flanks. With the picks they have, the Caps could select a player who could contribute on the second line– particularly if they switch back to the fast-paced style of play that George McPhee hinted at during a pre-draft meeting with the media.

In their NHL line-up, the Caps currently have Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, and Matt Hendricks on the left wing; and Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward on the right wing. The Caps’ top prospect is Stanislav Galiev at left and Evgeny Kuznetsov, somewhere far away, at right.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Joel Ward

Photo credit: John Tlumacki

The search for the mythical Playoffs Performer led George McPhee to get a little carried away bidding for Joel Ward last summer–and like it always does, Ward’s paycheck led to expectations. When the playoffs rolled around, we were all watching intently to see if Joel Ward would evolve into a Charizard or something.

And you know what? He kind of did.

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