The Washington Capitals had two selections in the first round of the 2012 draft. They had the 11th pick, received from the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Semyon Varlamov deal, and the 16th pick. Entering that weekend, many general managers talked about how top-heavy the draft was with talented defensemen. In fact, eight of the top ten picks were rearguards, which allowed the Capitals to draft the best European skater in the draft, Filip Forsberg at number eleven. Five picks later, they also selected Tom Wilson, who made the team out of training camp this season.

In the fifth round, the Capitals selected their first defenseman of the day (and one of three overall), the 5’11” Connor Carrick, out of the United States National Team Development Program. 46 defensemen were selected before Carrick was snatched up at pick 137. A lot of people had never heard of him at that point.

Funny. A full year later, Carrick is a household name among Caps fans and was the first defenseman out of the 2012 draft to play in the NHL — by about 40 minutes.

The Winnipeg Jets’ Jacob Trouba, selected 9th overall, made his NHL debut on Tuesday, October 1st as well, but because of the time difference, the Jets didn’t drop the puck that night until 9:07 PM EST. Carrick took the ice with the Capitals at 8:28 PM EST– after a lengthy delay for the Chicago Blackhawks to celebrate their Stanley Cup-winning 2012-13 season.

Seven defensemen from the 2012 draft have made their NHL debuts thus far this year: Carrick, Trouba, Ryan Murray (the second overall selection by the Columbus Blue Jackets), Morgan Rielly (selected 5th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs), Hampus Lindolm (selected 6th overall by the Anaheim Ducks), Mathew Dumba (selected 7th overall by the Minnesota Wild), and Olli Maatta (drafted 22nd overall selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins).

Griffin Reinhart (selected 4th overall by the New York Islanders) is also expected to make his debut soon.

The only thing Carrick can’t hold over every defenseman from this draft so far is being the first defenseman to score a goal and point. Jacob Trouba scored in his first game Tuesday night.

Carrick would be the second, scoring two days later against the Calgary Flames — his second NHL game as a pro. At least he can take some solace in the fact that he was the first 2012 drafted defenseman to be pie’d. He is also the only 2012-drafted player selected outside the first round who has played in the NHL so far.

How big of an accomplishment is this? Below are photos of all the defensemen picked before Carrick on June 22nd and 23rd of 2012. Give yourself approximately 10 minutes to scroll through this list. How many of these guys will never play an NHL game? How many of these guys will be in the NHL five years from now? Hint: Not many.

Just consider that Seth Jones, the number four overall pick of the 2013 draft, was the first defenseman selected and the first dman to make his NHL debut from that class. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

2nd Overall, Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Murray


4th Overall, New York Islanders Griffin Reinhart


5th Overall, Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly


6th Overall, Anaheim Ducks Hampus Lindholm


7th Overall, Minnesota Wild Mathew Dumba


8th Overall, Pittsburgh Penguins Derrick Pouliot



9th Overall, Winnipeg Jets Jacob Trouba

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

10th Overall, Tampa Bay Lightning Slater Koekkoek


15th Overall, Ottawa Senators Cody Ceci


22nd Overall, Pittsburgh Penguins Olli Maatta


[barfs again]

23rd Overall, Florida Panthers Michael Matheson


25th Overall, St. Louis Blues Jordan Schmaltz


28th Overall, New York Rangers Brady Skjei


34th Overall, New York Islanders Ville Pokka


35th Overall, Toronto Maple Leafs Matthew Finn


40th Overall, Tampa Bay Lightning Dylan Blujus


42nd Overall, Calgary Flames Patrick Sieloff


43rd Overall, Dallas Stars Ludwig Bystrom


44th Overall, Buffalo Sabres Jake McCabe


48th Overall, Chicago Blackhawks Dillon Fournier


51th Overall, Montreal Canadiens Dalton Thrower

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

60th Overall, New Jersey Devils Damon Severson


65th Overall, New York Islanders Adam Pelech


68th Overall, Minnesota Wild John Draeger


74th Overall, Dallas Stars Esa Lindell


78th Overall, Philadelphia Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere


85th Overall, Boston Bruins Matthew Grzelcyk


86th Overall, St. Louis Blues Colton Parayko


88th Overall, Phoenix Coyotes James Melindy


93rd Overall, Edmonton Oilers Erik Gustafsson


102nd Overall, Phoenix Coyotes Rhett Holland


103rd Overall, New York Islanders Loic Leduc



105th Overall, Calgary Flames Brett Kulak


106th Overall, Ottawa Senators Timothy Boyle


108th Overall, Anaheim Ducks Andrew O’Brien


111th Overall, Philadelphia Flyers Fredric Larsson

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

115th Overall, Carolina Hurricanes Trevor Carrick


116th Overall, St. Louis Blues Nicholas Walters


118th Overall, Nashville Predators Mikko Vainonen


119th Overall, New York Rangers Calle Andersson


120th Overall, Carolina Hurricanes Jaccob Slavin


123rd Overall, Edmonton Oilers Joey Laleggia


124th Overall, Calgary Flames Ryan Culkin


125th Overall, New York Islanders Doyle Somerby


127th Overall, Anaheim Ducks Brian Cooper


128th Overall, Minnesota Wild Daniel Gunnarsson


137th Overall, Washington Capitals Connor Carrick


“Yeah, I leapfrogged all of these guys.”

Additional reporting and stats from Fedor Fedin.

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  • BPThomas

    I don’t want people to take this the wrong way, but isn’t it more realistic that our blue line is so sparse with talent after our top 3 that we had to throw Carrick into the lineup? What happened to Kundratek and Orlov? And where is Urbom now? I think his goal was more of Ramo not letting the Flames know that he was coming out of the box (that said, the finish was slick). I just haven’t been sufficiently impressed with him that I think he should be in the lineup. Not to say it isn’t an impressive feat, but why is it necessary? Someone make me feel better.

  • Andrew Pang

    Jesus, how about Mario with that molester look on his face in Pouliot’s photo?

  • Ian Oland

    Haha. I’m not sure I can, but let me clarify a few things: 1) This isn’t a post praising Carrick’s play since debuting in the NHL. He’s certainly made some rookie mistakes defensively and he must stop taking a minor penalty per game.) 2) You have to give him credit for out-playing Orlov and Kundratek in the preseason. I love those two dudes, but Carrick was better. He also beat out Tyson Strachan, Cam Schilling, and Nate Schmidt. 3) Who is on the roster now should not take away from his accomplishment. He made the roster of a division champion team that is doing the opposite of rebuilding.

    So while you may not be impressed with his play (and that’s okay), you still should be impressed by his fast development. He may not stay on the Caps all year (especially if they struggle), but he could stay, and he is on the team now and that deserves our appreciation.

  • yv

    That’s show ability of Caps scouts to find something in late rounds.

    But for fun, maybe Ian and RMNB again on slippery ice here (like Caps the healthiest article before Laich (and Kuzya) injury)! I afraid that now after this article Carrick, who is the first Dman on NHL ice, would be the first to be sent down ?!?

  • BPThomas

    Totally made me feel better. I am definitely impressed with his development.