The Capitals selected Alex Semin 13th in the 2012 2002 entry draft. (Photo: Getty Images)

On Friday, the NHL Draft will begin. The Capitals hold the 13th overall pick, the third time since 2008 they’ve selected in the top half of the first round. To predict the players available for the Caps selection, we’ve reviewed 17 different draft rankings to compile a consensus list.

Let’s take a quick look at players 11 through 15.

Brendan Perlini, LW

Photo: Niagara IceDogs

This British-born forward has one of the bigger bodies in the first round (6-foot-3, 205 lbs). Though he’s not a power forward, his size definitely helps his cause. Perlini, a deadly goalscorer, came into his own this season playing next to Leafs draft pick Carter Verhaeghe on an otherwise unimpressive Niagara IceDogs team. After coming out of nowhere, opinions on whether he can perform vary, as do his rankings — you can see him anywhere from #7 (ISS) to #20 (Hockey Prospect). Perlini is definitely an intriguing prospect, but the team drafting him will be taking a risk.

Kasperi Kapanen, RW

Photo: Vesa Kovunen/Itasanomat

The number-two player out of Europe through most of the season (behind William Nylander), Kapanen has a good two-way game, and he possesses some excellent offensive skills as well. Sportsnet quoted a scout saying, “No one in this draft class gets higher marks for hockey sense.” It is high praise, especially considering the strong crop of smart forwards at the top of the list, including Nylander as well as Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett. Kapanen’s offensive numbers (seven goals, seven assists) may not look so good, especially compared to other recent top prospects like Aleksander Barkov, Mikael Granlund, and Artturi Lehkonen, but his team, KalPa Kuopio, had a disastrous year finishing dead last in Liiga. The Caps haven’t picked a Finn since Oskar Osala in 2006, but Kapanen could be the guy to break this trend.

Kevin Fiala, RW/LW

Photo: Daniel Malmberg/Jnytt

A late-season push put Fiala in competition with Kapanen to be named the second-best European-based prospect. It’s not often you see someone playing in U20, U18, and the Men’s World Championship through the course of a single season, but that’s what Fiala did with Switzerland. That international spotlight appears to have given him a significant boost to his ranking. Fiala is an example of the modern trend of players from Central Europe leaving their home countries to join Swedish clubs known for their success in player development. In 2012, the fleet-footed Fiala left Zurich, where his father works as a coach with one of the junior affiliates of the ZSC Lions. A year later he moved from Malmo to HV71, rapidly climbing the tiers of junior hockey before finally landing a spot with an SHL club where he had 11 points in 17 games last year. There’s no questioning Fiala’s skill and drive. If he can find a way to get more physical and better defensively, he’ll be a steal.

Ivan Barbashev, C

Photo: NHL.com

Barbashev’s scouting report isn’t what old-fashioned fans might expect from a Russian player. His game is just as much about commitment and hard work at both ends as it is about skill and speed. That sets him apart as the clear-cut number-one Russian prospect for this draft. Playing alongside fellow countryman Vladimir Tkachyov for Moncton in the QMJHL, Barbashev impressed with his complete, mature play, including getting physical while still making some the finesse plays one expects from a top prospect. But the “Russian factor” may damage his stock and bump him closer to 20th overall selection. “Some teams won’t take a Russian under any circumstances because of the KHL,” a scout told Sportsnet. “If he were Canadian, he’d be top 10.” However, Barbashev has emphasized his commitment to remaining in North America during his interviews.

Dylan Larkin, C

Photo: Allison Farrand/Michigan Daily

I was surprised to see Larkin ranked so high in the consensus list. He doesn’t appear to be one of those prospects who generates a lot of buzz prior to draft day. Just like with Kapanen, his numbers don’t tell the whole story. Larkin is relied on to play tough minutes centering the second line for the United States National Team Development Program instead of the sheltered environments that the two other top NTDP prospects Sonny Milano and Alex Tuch enjoy, on a first line which is centered by star prospect for 2015 Draft, Jack Eichel. Still, Larkin has become the fourth-leading point producer on the team, right behind the top trio. Larkin’s game has a lot in common with Barbashev’s. He, too, is an average-sized skilled yet physical forward. Just like with Barbashev, scouts praise Larkin’s leadership qualities and commitment to team success. He’ll be headed to University of Michigan to continue his development under the guidance of Red Berenson (and, who knows, maybe Mike Babcock, too — these rumors are ongoing).


This list is not complete by any means, but it may give a glimpse of what to expect from the Caps on draft day. Other possibilities include someone sliding out from the top-10 (Jake Virtanen and Haydn Fleury are the most likely candidates) or the Caps going off the board with a lower-ranked player (some have Robbie Fabbri, who is 18th in consensus rankings and Alex Tuch, 19th, ranked higher than or at 13). The last time the Caps did that, they selected Tom Wilson.

Also, I discussed some other Caps-related draft thoughts with Caps blogger Daryoush Ashtary.

  • BlueGreen

    “The Capitals selected Alex Semin 13th in the 2012 entry draft.”

    Whhhhaaaaa?

  • meow

    alex semin was selected 13th in the *2002 entry level draft

  • dylan wheatley

    fedor, tell daryoush to update his blog’s background image. dude’s got a logo for some team called the thrashers and what the hell is a thrasher anyway

  • Boush

    Curious, where does Nikolaj Ehlers fall in your compiled list? He’s my ideal choice, but I’ve seen wildly inconsistent rankings for him.

    Of these five, I probably go with Kapanen… or trading for two second round picks.

  • Ben

    I want Kapanen so we can call him Kasperi the friendly ghost

  • Luke Anthony

    Ehlers probably goes top 10. Florida loves the kid, but doubt they take him unless they trade back and sounds like they might.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    We always have one crucial typo in every post. Congratulations, you found it. It’s like a Where’s Waldo.

  • Luke Anthony

    I really like Fiala. I think a potential sleeper might be Nikita Scherbak, very underrated due to that fact he played on an absolutely terrible team in Saskatoon. Maybe even give Honka a look.

  • Adam Fink

    From these descriptions and what I’ve heard around… I would be really excited about either Fiala or Barbashev.
    Regardless… with the recommitment to hershey what are the chances our first rounder ends up in Hershey this upcoming season?

  • Fedor

    Highly unlikely. Most prospects either have contracts in Europe, college commitments or are from CHL and can’t play in the AHL.

  • Fedor

    He’s sixth, right behind the big five, on my consensus list. Also, for 13th you can easily get a lower 1st (around 20) and a 2nd.

  • tpr04

    Unless the Caps can move up to take Fleury, they should settle on a center with the 13th pick. My guess is Barbashov or McCann. I don’t see them taking a winger, unless it’s a highly regarded player who slips quite a bit.

  • BlueGreen

    ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Drafting for cool names over talent is a strategy I can get behind.

  • wood

    Ivan Barbashev…..kid was a monster at world jr last christmas

  • Chris Cerullo

    I want Fleury or Fabbri

  • Searle

    I’d love Barbashev, since when did the Russian Factor bother the Caps! (Now that Kuz has arrived anyway!)

  • HarryGB
  • Freedoooom

    Still here all alone beating the Kempe drum…

    He’s Ovechkin-lite, Swedish and a really fast skater.

  • Barrett

    1. Haydn Fleury, D, 6′-2″ 204lbs : physical and mobile shutdown defenseman
    2. Alex Tuch, C/RW, 6′-3″ 213lbs : high hockey IQ, mature, great hands, good skater for his size
    3. Brendan Perlini, LW, 6′-3″ 205lbs : excellent puck possession; good speed and acceleration for his size, long reach and excellent passer
    4. Kasperi Kapanen, LW, 6′-0″ 180lbs : high hockey IQ, excellent on-ice vision, top player-maker / game-changer in the draft
    5. Dylan Larkin, C/LW, 6′-0″ 190lbs : great skater, scrappy and relentless while pushing the pace, a north-south two-way forward who can impact the game in all three zones

  • Barrett

    “Barbashev is a skilled playmaking winger with impressive vision and
    passing ability. He thrives in a high-paced offense. Has a good, hard
    shot and isn’t transparent about making a pass or firing it on net. Has
    dynamic talent but inconsistent in his efforts.”

    The last sentence scares me a little. He’s #6 on my list though.

  • Skyler Gilbert

    I want Barboshev.

  • Roy Schue

    I don’t think he will be available at the 13th pick but I want Haydn Fleury

  • RESmith

    I don’t see Fluery falling past Vancouver at number 6 or Toronto at 8. There is a pretty large drop off in talent for defensemen available in the first round after Fluery and teams are going to reach for him even with more talented forwards still available. The Caps could trade up but I don’t think that is good idea since the cost is usually a top six forward/top 4 d roster player.

  • Roy Schue

    Yeah, I see him going 8th to Toronto

  • RESmith

    I was going to say Scherbak as well. He is not the fastest skater and skating style a bit awkward, but his got great hands and vision and good hockey IQ. He is very confident holding the puck and very shifty. Of the highlights I’ve seen, he makes a lot of plays in the slot and appears to play a more North American north-south type of game than most European prospects. Like you said, he is very underrated because of the poor team in Saskatoon he played for. Between Barbashev and him, I think the Caps should trade down and pick up another second or early third round pick.

  • RESmith

    If the Caps stay with thirteen, Kapanen or Fiala would be the best picks. I like Barbashev, but I agree that the Caps should trade down to do so.

    There is a good chance that Alex Nedeljkovic of Plymouth will still be available when the Caps pick in the second, and it would be great if we could pick him there. Grubauer will “graduate” in a year or two from Hershey and we don’t really have any solid goalie prospects behind him. Nedeljkovic is the second rated goalie in the draft and he has some of the same qualities that Holtby does.

  • Ollie Hampson

    I’d love to see Haydn Fleury drafted by the Caps but that’s hoping he slips a little and is still available.
    Also Nikolaj Ehlers of Halifax I like but I can’t see him still being available.
    Realistically I like the look of Kapanen as a decent pick with good potential.
    I will admit bias in this, but I like Brendan Perlini although I do think there is a risk in selecting him.
    His father Fred Perlini was a legend over here in the UK, he had close to 2,000 points in his time in the UK but that’s not saying his son will repeat that or even come close in the NHL. I just like that connection more than anything

  • Minsk Fan

    I’m so in agreement with you! Let’s hope Fleury is still around for lucky number 13. We need a big D-Man!

  • Minsk Fan

    Anything can happen! I didn’t think we’d get Forsberg either, but we did. Of course, I didn’t think we’d just throw him away either :(.

  • CappyTal

    I’m still hoping Bennett continues to drop. People sort of forgot about him, and now suddenly the world cares about pull ups and is all over him for doing zero.

  • Kory S.

    Nedeljkovic is a bit short to be an NHL goalie. Teams drafting goalies have to keep that in mind.

  • DCSportsDork

    Sadly I doubt it. It’s been Del Calle, Drasaitl, Ekblad, Bennett and Reinhart in tier 1 all year long and everyone else is a major dropoff from what I have been reading. I am loving Fiala the more I read about him. It will be fascinating for GMBM to continue GMGM’s trend of drafting americans in the later rounds. The Under 18s are world champions and have some fascinating gems in the 20-50 range of the draft (Sonny Milano, Nick Schmaltz, Anthony DeAngelo, etc.).

  • DCSportsDork

    To Fedor…what’s up with Nikita Scherbak? That dude has also been getting high praise in the 10-20 range in the heavy hitting goal scorer mold. Any chance the Caps can get him?

  • GrnEggsNHam

    No one likes Josh Ho-Sang? I would snag him even if it means trading him later…

  • Barrett

    i’d just call him Son of Sami

  • Searle

    Am I the only one disappointed that the Caps weren’t the ones to land Garrison? He could have rounded out our top 4 nicely

  • Eric Schulz

    MASSIVE character concerns.