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.
That didn’t take long: forward Martin Erat, acquired from Nashville at the 2013 trade deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for top Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg, now says he wants to leave Washington.
Speaking with Czech news agency iDNES.cz and translated by our friend Lindsey Novak, Erat expresses dissatisfaction with the ice time he’s getting in Washington and seems eager to move on.
The Washington Capitals have been reluctant to move their first round picks in recent years. Sometimes they’ve entered the draft with more than one first round pick: last year and 2004, when the Caps had three: Alex Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz, and Mike Green. In most cases, holding on to those picks is the smart move – 80% of players picked in the first round between 2000 and 2011 have played at least one NHL game. For comparison’s sake, only 49% of the second round picks ever suit up in the NHL. The only time the Caps haven’t had a first round pick recently was in 2011, when they traded away the 26th pick to cap-saddled Chicago in exchange for Troy Brouwer.
“We didn’t like where the [2011 Draft] was going and we had an opportunity to use our pick to get Brouwer, and it turned out to be a heck of a move for us,” Capitals GM George McPheesaid Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “He’s a guy we all liked.” He also added that the trade was an example of a “good working relationship” between the team’s pro and amateur scouts.
This year, it might be smart for the Capitals to trade away the 23rd pick.