Photo: Washington Capitals

The Capitals have traded up again to get a pick in the third round back, moving the 104th and 118th overall picks for 89th overall selection. They then selected Australian forward Nathan Walker from the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

The first Australian ever drafted in the NHL, Walker is a speedy energy forward who compensates for his below-average size (6-foot-0, 192 lbs) with aggressiveness and a willingness to go to the dirty areas. Last year he had 11 points in 43 games with Hershey.

20-year-old Walker was passed up in the previous two drafts.

Walker played for the Caps in the last preseason showing a lot of maturity on a line with Chandler Stephenson and Troy Brouwer. The Caps were not eligible to sign Walker, so they had to wait for the draft to secure his rights.

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  • Rob W.

    I like that we drafted him but i dont understand why we picked him in the 3rd, probably would of been there in the last couple rounds

  • VeggieTart

    I loved watching him in Hershey, so I’m glad he’s staying with the organization. He’s a little guy, but he’s got good hustle.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I love this.

    https://twitter.com/washcaps/status/482914098129428480

    Though Vogs just pointed out that Walker was born in Wales.

  • AbrasiveD

    First time poster – is he a center?! >.>

  • Chris Cerullo

    This is a hardcore reach

  • Matt Lauer

    This is a great choice. Walker really impressed me in those preseason games last year. A strong skater with an equally strong willingness to go hard to the net. I hope he is rewarded with a career in DC.

  • Brutal

    He was born in Wales but grew up in Australia, he is an Australian citizen and represents Australia in international hockey, so he is the first Australian hockey player in the NHL.

  • Matt Lauer

    Not so sure. You need to draft for the third and fourth lines, as well. I’m rather comfortable with this.

  • Graham Dumas

    Time for Horn Guy to trade up for a didgeridoo!

  • RESmith

    Agreed. The Caps are not only reaching for players but trading up to do
    so. Not assessing the value of the pick position and considering where
    other teams might rank the player which is a bad way to manage a draft.
    Even if you really like a player, you don’t draft a them in a higher
    round when you can confidently pick them in a lower one.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I would have been fine with a flier in the 7th. I have doubts he ever even cracks the pro lineup.

  • RESmith

    He is already in Hershey. And the only reason he is because Caps couldn’t sign him to a contract after last pre-season because he was draft-eligible. Circumvented the rules and had Hershey management sign him. There is a good chance he could a few call-ups this year.

    But I agree it was a reach considering he would have been easily still available in the 5th or 6th round. Could have drafted a 3 round level talent level AND still got Nate Walker, (whom I was rooting for the Caps to draft.)

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    You say that as if the Caps wouldn’t consider points that are basically draft fundamentals. I’m sure they have their reasons. It’s impossible to draft in the third round anyway. Look at the stats. Third round and below is a crapshoot anyway. Very, very few make it to the NHL. It’s all just a shot in the dark. Some do it better than others, but the math works against everyone.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I know he was in Hershey but he didn’t really do much or get much of a chance to do so and I don’t see that really changing.

  • Pat Magee

    We signed that kid from the Slovenian national team, remember?

  • JenniferH

    Yeah, I remember him and we were all kinda bummed when we lost him, right? So this is good, right? Right.

  • Diller M

    If an Australian soccer player is a socceroo is an Australian hockey player a Hockaroo?

  • Peter Lambert

    Hockeyroos are Australia’s womens (field) hockey team. Internationally dominant.
    Aussie national team are the Mighty Roos (corny shades of Mighty Ducks).

  • Ryan

    Who was that? lol

  • VeggieTart

    We didn’t really “lose” him. But yeah, due to some weird rules, he couldn’t play with the Caps and would have to be drafted. Glad he’s staying in the family.

  • RESmith

    Fair point. However, if these are draft fundamentals (and ones that no one doubts the Cap scouting department and management are not well versed in,) is it not unfair as a fan to ask the reasons they felt justified in departing from them?

    My issue is not with any of the players the Caps drafted. Since the Ovi era, our scouting department has proven themselves as fair evaluators of talent. It more in how they managed the draft. I don’t necessarily see drafting as a “crap shoot” but more as hockey’s version of what an actuary does. They are making assessments of and managing probabilities and risks. And in this case, I think the probability of finding talent among 9 drafted players, and at least one from each round as the Cap did going into the draft, would be higher than finding it among six players, still from each round except one. In particular, it was the trade up to number 39 in the second for Vitek Vanecek. Again, my isn’t with him as a player for their selection, but he was ranked not particularly high as the 8th ranked goalie among Europeans and that it would seem, at most, that he would still be available 5 spots later at our original 44th spot. The question I want to know as a fan then is did they know someone among the five above them that had Vanecek ranked as highly as them and were certain he would be taken. It would not seem so. From the outside, it appears they over-reacted and set a chain of events that ultimately cost them two picks. It was because of that trade that then had trade back in to the third round to take Nathan Walker.
    It just has the appearance that they could still have had all those same players they had targeted without giving up the chance to develop two other prospects from the fourth that they originally had.

    One other thing to add to this. It is a point of contention I have had with other fans. The draft isn’t just about drafting players for the NHL. Like the MLB, teams are also drafting players to fill out their farm systems and give them organizational depth. Or in other words, a guy from the third or fourth round may never make it to the NHL but he can still help your organization out. One, they help you field competitive teams at each of the minor league levels, which is critical to developing your prospects that are NHL bound Two, having quality talent at each of these levels provide organizations flexibility in moving players up and down leagues either for injury call ups or for salary considerations. So when someone gets promoted from Hershey to Washington, you want as minimal drop in talent and play on both clubs as possible. In order to do that, you need someone who is a solid, consistent performer at the ECHL level with South Carolina to be able to step in and spell the player in Hershey while that player is up in Washington just as you need the player from Hershey to be a consistent performer at the AHL level to adequately fill the spot in DC. You build the foundation for that in the draft with those lower round picks. That is why you don’t want to just throw away those picks if you have them.

  • Pat Magee

    I don’t remember his name…. Just that we signed him lol

  • Rhino40

    WO-KAAAAAA…..WO-KAAAAA…WO-KAAAAAA!!!!

  • Rhino40

    oops…forgot. There we go.