Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

With the 16th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers. Wilson is a right winger and projects to be a rugged power forward who hits hard and plays rough. Wilson is 6’4 and more physically developed than most players of his age, and is an excellent open-ice checker, winning the OHL award for best body checker last year. The Capitals will select next in the third round.

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

With the 11th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Filip Forsberg of the Leksands IF in the Swedish ice hockey league Allsvenskan. Forsberg is a winger and projects to be an outstanding offensive player. He was rated the top European skater and had been projected to go 3rd overall. In three years with Leksands, Forsberg has scored 30 goals and notched 58 points, as well as being a dominant player in this year’s World Juniors tournament.  The Capitals will now select again at pick #16.

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2012 Capitals NHL Draft Preview: The Goalies

[Editor's note: Here comes the final installment of RMNB's draft coverage. Quick recap: Part 1 was about centers, Part 2 was about wingers, and Part 3 was about defense.]

The Capitals have had tremendous success in drafting netminders these last few years with names like Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, Braden Holtby, and Philipp Grubauer. Last year they drafted Norwegian goalie Steffen Soberg in the 4th round, who was a long shot to make the NHL. He declined to play for the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) and was dealt from the less-than-mediocre Manglerud Star team to a more powerful Valerenga squad and signed a multi-year deal there. Knowing that, the Caps may think they need to add one more goalie to their depth chart. If they’ll be looking to do it early, there are three pretty equal goalies.

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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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2012 Capitals NHL Draft Preview: The Centers

The Washington Capitals  hold the 11th and 16th overall picks in this year’s draft. As such, they have a chance to re-stock a prospect pool that has become more shallow with the maturation of players like Marcus Johansson, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, and Michal Neuvirth. Although it is possible that George McPhee may deal one or both picks in a trade, let’s consider his options at 11 (acquired from Colorado for Semyon Varlamov) and 16.

Starting with the Centers.

The Capitals currently own Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, Mathieu Perreault (RFA), and Jay Beagle (RFA). On their prospect rosters, there’s Cody Eakin, Mattias Sjogren, Caleb Herbert, and Zach Hamill (RFA).

The lack of top-six centers has been a problem for Washington since Sergei Fedorov left. They’ve drafted a few centers in the first round in recent years, but Anton Gustafsson was a bust, Evgeny Kuznetsov switched to wing and won’t join the Caps until 2014, and Marcus Johansson looks to be more and more comfortable at wing. That leaves the Caps with a big hole at the 2C spot. With the list of available players in this draft pool, McPhee could can fill that hole this June.

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Troy Brouwer

Apparently the Capitals have traded for the hockey-equivalent of Keanu Reeves.

The Caps didn’t call any names on day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota but they did not stand pat, trading their 26th overall selection to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the negotiating rights to Troy Brouwer. Washington hasn’t been shy with their disfavor of this year’s draft class with General Manager George McPhee saying there were few “real difference makers” and the club trading away their first three picks.

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Sure his nickname is the Undertaker, but even for himself, Capitals General Manager George McPhee has been particularly dour regarding this year’s NHL Draft. Last week, when Olaf Kolzig was introduced as the new associate goaltending coach, McPhee was asked about the draft and said that it lacked “real difference makers.” Today, McPhee sat down with Capitals’ senior writer Mike Vogel and elaborated. “I haven’t loved this draft,” McPhee lamented. “There are some decent players early on. I think it levels off in a hurry. I think once you get past 14 or 15 players, there are lots of players who have a chance to play but by no means are a lock.”

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Last year, I profiled three Russians that I thought the Capitals might consider drafting at pick number twenty six of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Stanislav Galiev, and Maxim Kitsyn. Two of those three players were actually selected by the team: Kuznetsov in the first round and Galiev in the third. This year, I want to see if I can work my magic again.

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft, set to be held in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th, will see the Capitals picking 26th for the second year in a row. Since this year’s draft pool is weak and lacks what George McPhee calls “real difference makers,” I will be focusing on four prospects who are somehow connected to the Capitals.

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