The Washington Capitals didn’t waste much time replenishing their rather depleted prospect pool. With five of the top thirty-seven picks on Saturday, Washington was virtually guaranteed to come away with a strong group of players. The Capitals did not disappoint.
Once the calm had hit the Fleet Center, following the wild opening to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Washington just sat back and waited to see who the Islanders and Nashville would take. I’m pretty sure that, Capitals, General Manager, George McPhee was thrilled to see the player who many felt was the fifth best player (outside the universal elite four) still on the board.
Kris Beach must have been an easy choice for Washington. Though Kris is a bit on the thin side weighting only 178 pounds, but at 6-foot-2 he has room to grow. I’m sure the Capitals will find a way of beefing up this Western Hockey League star.
Beech is described as an explosive skater with a quick first step and a fluid stride. He is very agile and pivots either way equally well making it hard for opponents to hit him in open-ice. His play making skills are considered top end and his puckhandling may have been the best in the draft. Although he is on the thin side, Kris has shown a willingness to play along the wall and he gets into scoring position well. Though his offensive game is impressive, Beech is also a willing back- checker. He understands that the defensive end is important and he does what has to be done to stop an opponent.
Following the Beech selection, all the Washington scouts had to take a breather because when round two arrived, they had to be prepared for a wild twenty minutes.
The Capitals started off round two with the first pick. Czech Republic star forward Michal Sivek was the man. At an impressive 6-foot-3 and well over 200 pounds, Sivek has ideal NHL size. Michal is thought to be a tough competitor. His skill level is very high, and he has a great attitude, despite coming from a rather spoiled background.
A very good skater with solid balance and speed, Michal plays hard every shift and he finds a way to get into scoring positions. He struggled to produce with the senior squad at Klando, but does have the skills to be an effective NHL scorer.
Just two picks later Washington was on the clock again. This time they picked, massive raw talent, Charlie Stephens out of the Ontario Hockey League. Stephens was a highly touted 1999 prospect who slipped back after having a tough season. At 6-foot-3 and close to 230 pounds, Charlie can stand out in a crowd, he is a massive boy.
Stephens is a flexible player, as he can play on the right wing or at center…. Described as an effective shooter who can anticipate a scoring chance. Charlie has a quick release but his defensive game has been inconsistent at times. His play making skills are pretty good. Attitude is a concern as he complained openly while at St. Michael’s. His game improved following a mid-season move to Guelph.
The Capital once again had little time to breath and just three picks later, at number 34 overall, Washington grabbed defensemen Ross Lupaschuk of the Prince Albert Raiders. This big Edmonton native had a tremendous second half of the year which dramatically improved his grade.
Despite scoring only eight goals and nineteen assists, some scouts feel Ross has a good offensive upside. He does have a good shot but he has struggled finding ways to use it. At 6-foot-1 and 211 pound, Ross has a good frame with better than normal strength for a player his age. His mobility is a true asset, and his game will only improve in time.
Again, three picks later, Washington took another Edmonton native in defensemen Nolan Yorkman from the Kelowna Rockets. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pound, Nolan is one big boy. Most scouts feel that Nolan is a project. He skates well enough for a big man but many feel that he struggles to understand the game. He does make safe smart plays in his own zone and he doesn’t try to do much on his own. Some scouts seem to feel that their is a nasty hockey player just waiting to break out.
His offensive game is virtually non-existent, but there appears to be a lot of toughness. One scout stated that he felt Yorkman had the ability to play a very physical game but he appears to lack the physical stregnth to do so. If he can add some strength to his bulk, he could prove to be a real force.
Finally after a flurry of activity, the Caps scouts could sit back and relax as they had two full rounds off.
In the fifth round Washington took Roman Tvrdon from Trinic Juniors in the Czech Rep. Roman stands 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds. He scored 23 goals and added 25 assists in 50 games.
In the sixth, Washington selected Harvard forward Kyle Clark. Clark is a massive 6-feet-6 and one- half inches, and weighs in at 210 pounds. I don’t have any information on him besides him scoring two assists last year in twenty games played. Though I’ll go out on a limb and assume he’s a bright and intelligent young man.
In round seven, they chose defensemen David Johansson from AIK juniors in Sweden. David is 6-feet tall and he weighed in at 176 pounds. He scored five goals with five assist in 33 games played.
Washington ended their day in round eight, selecting Maxim Orlov, a 6-foot center from CSKA Moscow. I do not have any information on him and I would appreciate some help.
1999 Capital Draft
Rnd Pck# Name – Pos Team (League)
1 7 Kris Beech – C Calgary (WHL)
2 29 Michal Sivek – C Trinec (Czech Rep.)
2 31 Charlie Stephens – C/RW Guelph (OHL)
2 34 Ross Lupaschuk – D Prince Albert (WHL)
2 37 Nolan Yonkman – D Kelowna (WHL)
5 132 Roman Tvrdon – C/W Trinec Jr. (Czech Rep.)
6 175 Kyle Clark – RW Harvard (ECAC)
7 192 David Johansson – D AIK Jr. (Sweden)
8 219 Maxim Orlov – C CSKA Moscow (Russia)