Capitals 2001 Draft Review

By Rick Davis

Day One

Many teams were busy making moves on day one, but the Caps remained fairly complacent. They choose Nathan Paetsch with their fifty first pick overall, traded the sixty first overall pick to Tampa bay for the New York Islanders’ second pick in the 2002 draft, and picked up Owen Fussey with the ninetieth pick overall.

The trade the Caps made was a fairly minor one, basically swapping a low second pick this year for what should be a high one next year. They could pick as high as thirty-five or forty next year with the Islanders’ second rounder. The trade is a relatively minor one, and most likely does not do anything significant to help or hinder the Caps in the immediate future.

58 overall – Nathan Paetsch – D – Moose Jaw (WHL)
Size: 6’0, 195
Last Year’s Stats: 70 games, 8 goals, 54 assists, 62 points, 118 PIM
Washington’s highest draftee of 2001 was ranked fifty first overall by the Hockey News, and is a player who probably could have gone a lot earlier. He is known as an offensive defenseman whose primary asset is his outstanding passing and decision making ability. He should be a solid NHL defenseman someday, probably a 3, 4, or 5 type guy on a good team. His offensive abilities will make him a power play quarterback. Because of the Capitals’ depth at defense, Nathan will likely finish his junior career before getting a real chance to make the Caps.

90 overall – Owen Fussey – RW – Calgary (WHL)
Size: 6’0, 185
Last Year’s Stats: 48 games, 15 goals, 10 assists, 25 points, 33 PIM
Fussey was ranked a hundred and forty first among North American skaters by the CSB and so it was a bit of a shock to see him go at ninetieth overall to the Caps. Owen is a very fast skater who likes to hit. He probably would have been rated higher, except that he had his spleen removed after a freak accident when he collided with one of his teammates in practice, and he missed quite a few games because of it. He should be able to score more than thirty goals in the WHL next year, and will have to take more of a leadership role on the Hitmen. If and when he makes it to the NHL, I would project him to fill a third or fourth line type checking role, with an upside of maybe 20 or 25 goals.

Day Two

Washington didn’t make any trades at all on day two. They had eight draft picks left, and they used all of them. Just like clockwork they went back to the WHL to get their next player, Jeff Lucky. After that, it was Q time as the Caps took a player from the QMJHL for the first time since 1997 when they took JF Fortin and Pierre-Luc Therrien. Following this, they took a player from the Czech Republic, another QMJHL player, a player from Princeton University (surprise, surprise), a player from the Slovak Junior League, an overage German goalie, and an overage Czech winger. Although I have been able to gather some info on all of the draftees, I am still in the process of collecting information. This is what I know so far:

125 overall – Jeff Lucky – RW – Spokane (WHL)
Size: 6’1, 193
Stats: 53 games, 20 goals, 21 assists, 41 points, 26 PIM
Jeff was ranked fourty fourth among North American skaters by the CSB. When I talked to 107, the HF WHL Editor, following the first day of drafting, he pointed out that he was amazed nobody had taken Jeff Lucky. I agreed. Lucky is known for his blazing speed, and he has very good stickhandling ability and a good shot. He anticipates the play well and has good awareness in the offensive zone. He will have to improve his strength and defensive game if he is going to make it to the NHL, but if and when he does he will be a second line type scoring winger.

160 overall – Artem Ternavski – D – Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Size: 6’2, 208
Last Year’s Stats: 65 games, 3 goals, 15 assists, 18 points, 143 PIM
Ternavski was ranked forty fifth among North American skaters by the CSB. Artem, who was born in Russia, was a rookie in the QMJHL last season and it took him a while to adapt to the North American style of hockey. He is described as a defensive defenseman who plays a solid positional game and is not afraid to get into the physical side of the game. His skating and on ice-awareness are both good enough for him to be able to reach the NHL someday, but he will likely have at least one or two more years of junior before he gets his shot in the pros. When he gets there, he will probably be a solid 4-6 defenseman who can kill penalties and could see power play time.

191 overall – Zbynek Novak – LW – Slavia Praha Jr (Czech Jr)
Size: 6’2, 192
Last Year’s Stats: 34 games, 3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, 0 PIM

Novak was ranked seventy second by the CSB among European skaters. Zbynek appears to be the strong, two way player that the Capitals love to draft. He won’t ever put up big numbers, but he is reliable defensively and is not afraid to throw his body around. The odds are that Novak will spend another year or two at least in the Czech Republic continuing to work on his offensive skills before he will be seriously considered for a checking line spot in Washington.

221 overall – John Oduya – D – Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Size: 5’11, 200
Last Year’s Stats: 68 games, 14 goals, 54 assists, 68 points, 259 PIM
Oduya was ranked one hundred and second among North American skaters by the CSB. John, who was born in 1981 in Sweden, is a large offensive defenseman who put up a lot of points and a lot of PIM’s last year in the Q. He was averaging over a point per game last year at one point, but was traded during the season and his production tailed off due to the defensive depth of the team he was traded to. John is not afraid to fight, and this may have been one of the main reasons the Caps picked him up.

249 overall – Matt Maglione – D – Princeton (ECAC)
Size: 6’1, 185
Last Year’s Stats: 30 games, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, 12 PIM

Matt was not ranked by the CSB. He played alongside Caps prospect Chris Corrinet last year at Princeton. Matt led Princeton with a +13 plus minus rating as a freshman last year. More info to come.

254 overall – Peter Polcik – LW – Nitra Jr (Slovak Jr)
Size: 6’4, 187
Last Year’s Stats: 42 games, 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points, 32 PIMeter was ranked seventy third among European skaters by the CSB. I have not been able to find any info on Peter yet, other than the fact that he was taken sixth overall in today’s CHL import draft by Montreal of the QMJHL. Thank you to tacklez for pointing this out on the Caps Prospects Message Board.

275 overall – Robert Muller – G – Mannheim (German)
Size: 5’7, 163
Last Year’s Stats: 23 games, 1195 minutes, 2.46 goals-against average, 1 shutout

Robert was not ranked by the CSB this year. Robert is an overage goalie (1980 birthday) who played in the German Elite League last year. He also had an impressive World Championship. Next year, he would probably have backed up former Cap prospect Mike Rosati if he had not been drafted, but it is likely he will come over to the States and see if he can earn Portland’s starting job. Robert even has his own website, at www.muller-robert.com. (Thank you to Andrew Murray of the Caps mailing list for finding this)

284 overall – Viktor Hubl – Slavia Praha (Czech)
Size: 6’0, 183
Last Year’s Stats: 50 games, 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points, 24 PIM

Viktor is an overage player (DOB 8/13/78) who was not ranked by the CSB. Viktor played for Slava Praha in the Czech league last year, and for the Czech National Team. He started the season last year primarily as a defensive forward, and was successful in his role. He got more ice time as the season went on, and subsequently put up more points. Among all of this year’s draftees, I would venture to say that Viktor has the best chance at making the team next year. If he does, I would look for him to fill a role similar to the role that Joe Sacco plays on the Capitals now – playing primarily as a defensive forward who kills penalties. Hubl could also play for the Pirates next year. All of this is assuming that Hubl comes over, which he may or may not choose to do.

I would like to thank the following people (in no particular order) for helping me acquire information on some of these prospects: 107 (the HF WHL Editor), Alan Caldwell, Nicolas Gaudreau-Dupris (HF QMJHL Editor), Ian Hamilton (HF QMJHL Writer), Robert Neuhauser (HF Czech League Editor), Jan Raz (HF Czech League Writer) and the Washington Capitals organization.

I still have a lot of info to gather, but rest assured I will do everything I can think of to get complete profiles on these guys as soon as I can. If anyone who is reading this has information that they think I or other Caps fans would find interesting or useful in the evaluation of these prospects, please do not hesitate to send me an email at Rdavis816@hotmail.com or reply at the bottom of this article. Thanks.