Photo: Gustaf Lundberg

With the 13th overall pick in the Draft, the Washington Capitals have selected 18-year-old Czech winger Jakub Vrana out of Linkoping of the SHL. The pick was surprising considering that Vrana was ranked 23rd overall in Craig Button’s ranking.

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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.

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On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals published a guide for the upcoming NHL draft (June 27th), and it is awesome. One thing that I learned is that the Caps have historically been active on draft day. The team has made 20 draft day trades overall, including one in each of the past six years. The most notable moves lately have been the acquisitions of Troy “No Emmy” Brouwer and Mike “2 Chainz” Ribeiro.

If you take a fine-toothed comb to that list, one stunning factoid reveals itself. The Caps have essentially traded away two hall of fame players in draft day deals and gotten none in return.

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John Carlson, drafted in 2008, is the most recent Caps defenseman selected in the first round. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/Getty)

Reading the comments in Ian’s post covering the draft lottery, most fans seem convinced that the Capitals must select Haydn Fleury with their 13th pick, if he’s available. It’s easy to see why: Fleury, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, is a responsible defenseman in a draft dominated by forwards. It is likely that 13 out of the 15 top picks will be forwards. And the Caps blue line struggled with injuries and inconsistency all year long. Defense hasn’t been Washington’s forte for the better part of the Ovechkin era, and those defensive shortcomings have often been pegged as the key to the Caps’ early playoff exits (or, this year, pre-playoff exits).

Despite all of this, I’ll disagree with the notion that the Caps should select Fleury, or any other defenseman, with their first-round pick.

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GMGM’s happy with his new brand new assets.

With the Washington Capitals trading away three of their picks on draft day, much of the action was over by 7PM. But just because you put on Sunday Night Baseball and started drinking some wine coolers, doesn’t mean the draft didn’t keep going. Let’s take a look at who the Caps picked up in the latter rounds of 2013.

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The Washington Capitals traded their 84th, 114th and 127th picks on draft day to Winnipeg in exchange for the 61st overall selection. After the second round, General Manager George McPhee reasoned, there was little talent left. So with the pick, the Caps grabbed giant six-foot-three-inch center Zach Sanford.

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The Washington Capitals may have found a gem in second round pick Madison Bowey. The defenseman, who was drafted 53rd, was ranked 36th overall by Bob McKenzie. He also has an impressive resume. Bowey scored the game-tying goal against the US in the Under-18 World Junior Championships, which helped lead Canada to a gold medal. He also comes from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, a team that’s produced several high-quality NHL defensemen including Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, and Luke Schenn. Pretty exciting, right?

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Photo credit: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze Photography

With the 53rd overall pick, the Capitals selected Madison Bowey from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Over the last decade, the Rockets have produced several high-quality NHL defensemen including Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, and Luke Schenn.

Bowey is a Winnipeg native who earned a lot of praise from scouts for his skating. His footwork and speed allow him to always be at the right place at the right time while also keeping up with fast forwards and jumping up on rushes. HockeyProspect.com ranked him as high as 15th in their final rankings.

“I like to play a physical game and also use my speed to my advantage,” Bowey told reporters after being drafted. “I think I can bring that to the Caps. They are a great, great offensive team and also strong enough defensively so I’ll think fit in great in that mold.”

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Photo credit: Washington Capitals Instagram

“Since I was little kid I always watch Capitals play,” André Burakovsky send when asked about his new team, minutes after Washington selected him 23rd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. “I really like the club. I really like Backstrom, Ovechkin, the other players. I watched Washington and I’m really glad to represent them.”

Well, as soon as Burakovsky got done talking the media, he got a call from one those players he really likes. The 18-year-old Swede beams.

Below, check out the short video from CSN Washington.

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Photo credit: Malmo Redhawks

Another year, another European. For the seventh time since 2002, Washington Capitals selected either Swede or Russian with their first pick in the NHL draft. This year, it was André Burakovsky, a crafty forward from the land of Ikea and Volvos.

So who is this guy?

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