Sunday, June 30, 2013

Musings on this Beautiful Draft Day

Washington-area teams have had bad experiences with drafts. From the Wizards drafting Kwame Brown, the Redskins taking Heath Shuler and Desmond Howard, and the Caps taking players like Alexander Volchkov (who?), drafts have begun some of the darkest periods in area-team history.

However, there have been some good drafts as well. That fabled 1981 Redskins draft, which was instrumental in their 3 Super Bowl run, is perhaps the most famous, and drafting RGIII and Alfred Morris were great picks. Recently, the Caps, Nats, and Wizards have drafted solid, young, players (the Caps' 2004 draft is obviously the most famous, while the Nats have taken Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, and the Wizards John Wall, Bradley Beal, and now Otto Porter).

The last few years have had mixed drafts for the Washington Capitals. Bleacher Report compiled a list of what happened to our 2010 Draft Picks (and hopefully our first pick from that year will join DC soon). In 2011, we traded our first-round pick to Chicago for Troy Brouwer (turned out pretty well, no?). Last year, our two first-rounders were Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson. Wilson had an admirable debut in the playoffs, while Forsberg was sent to Nashville for Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta, and Caps fans were left to wonder what good would come out of sending one of the top prospects away.

But that aside, this year the Caps have the 23rd overall draft pick. Looking at 5 different mock drafts, here are who the Caps are supposedly taking:
Kimelman ( Zach Natasiuk (RW)
Morreale ( Anthony Mantha (RW)
Hoffner ( Nikita Zadorov (D)
SBNation (Japer's Rink): J.T. Compher (C)
Peerless: Kerby Rychel (LW)

The Caps don't really need right/left wings. We need a solid D-man. Carlson, Alzner, and Green are mainstays on this team, but one has to wonder if Olesky, Hillen, and Erskine have much longer (Schultz and Poti are long gone). Even with Dmitri Orlov, Tomas Kundratek, and possibly Cameron Schilling, the Caps need a good shutdown D-man (because Green, Orlov, and Carlson are all very offensive-minded). 

Unfortunately, chances are slim that good defensemen will fall to the 23rd spot. So the best course of action for McPhee would be to get a higher pick. Send the 23rd pick, Jeff Schultz, and maybe a later round pick to a team such as Columbus that will be looking for a D-man, and with the 14th pick, take Zadorov, who is a physical, shutdown D-man, who is kind of a mix of John Erskine's and Jeff Schultz's best qualities.

If, however, the Caps keep that 23rd pick, good choices would be Chris Bigras, a hard worker who is also physical and a very smart player, or if the Caps wanted to take an offensive guy, Mantha, Natasiuk, and Ryan Hartman, who is like a smaller version of Tom Wilson.

Still, if I were GMGM, I'm looking at either trading into a better spot, or going after Chris Bigras.

UPDATE: The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they are willing to trade their first round picks. GMGM has to go all in for this (well not all in, but you know what I mean) and try to move up, but right now it looks like Boston is trying to get back in to Round 1. Trading up could land the Caps Nikita Zadorov, who is probably the best fit for the Caps blue line.

UPDATE: Well, there was no trade, unfortunately, and Nikita Zadorov was taken by Buffalo two places later. Still, Bigras was available, so I don't know why the Caps took a LW. Still, welcome Andre  Burakovsky, and good luck here in Washington.

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