Andre Burakovsky and Jakub Vrana slid during their draft years but got selected in the first round by the Caps (Photos: Getty Images)

Andre Burakovsky and Jakub Vrana have a lot in common. Both are high-octane offensive wingers who made names for themselves by putting the puck in the net. And both were drafted out of Sweden after impressive showings at the U18 World Championships.

But they have one more thing in common: both saw their stock drop significantly during their draft years after struggling to adapt to the professional game in Sweden.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Capitals complete the 2014 Draft by picking three players in the last three rounds: Shane Gersich, Steven Spinner and Kevin Elgestal. Let’s recap their late-round activity.

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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.

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Photo: Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament

In the secound round of the NHL Draft, the Capitals traded up, dealing the 44th and 74th overall picks to Buffalo in exchange for the 39th overall selection, Czech goaltender Vitek Vanecek from Bily Tygri Liberec of the Czech Elite League.

This is a surprise pick as Vanecek was not ranked highly by most, excluding NHL Central Scouting, who had him ranked eighth among European goaltenders.

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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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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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The Capitals Will Select 13th in 2014 NHL Draft

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Lucky number 13?

This season, the NHL adopted a draft lottery system like the NBA. That means, unlike in years past, every team that does not make the playoffs has a chance to win the lottery and draft number one overall. The suspense! The television revenues. The bloggity blogs writing about this craziness. Gary, you are such a brilliant commissioner.

The Capitals had a 0.5% chance of getting the first overall pick entering the night and ended up getting dreaded pick number 13, which I guess is good unless you’re really, really superstitious. For those looking for a good omen, the last time the Capitals drafted 13th– back in 2002, they wound up with Alex Semin.

The Florida Panthers, who are awful, won the lottery and will draft first. The Sabres, who are even awfuler, will draft second. Here are the rest of the picks.

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