Washington Capitals entered the 2005 NHL Entry Draft looking for defensemen. In
the seven-round draft, the Capitals chose five defensemen, one goaltender, and
one forward. However, the forward was moved in a draft day trade (Tim Kennedy to
Buffalo), and the NHL is still investigating a pick that they believe is an
ineligible claim (the selection of Viktor Dovgan). While the Capitals made some
selections that appeared to be “off the board,” the biggest surprise of all
may have been the fact that they did not select one player out of the WHL, a
popular source of talent for them.
virtue of a trade near the conclusion of the first round, the Capitals were the
only team to have two first round selections.
Pokulok, D – Cornell (ECACHL)
1st round, 14th overall
was a surprise choice with the 14th pick. The big blueliner is an exceptional
skater and an excellent puckhandler. As a freshman, he got a lot of ice time and
was a solid contributor on the power play at Cornell, but missed some time due
to a broken collarbone. He is the first Cornell player ever selected in the
first round of the NHL Entry Draft, and was the first NCAA player taken in this
is projected as a top-four defenseman. The 19-year-old was named to the ECACHL
All-Rookie team as well as the Florida College Classic All-Tournament Team in
December when he recorded three assists in two games versus Boston College and
Maine. The native of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec played for the Notre Dame Hounds
in 2003-04 and made the SJHL All-Rookie Team.
Joe Finley, D – Sioux Falls (USHL)
1st round, 27th overall
Capitals pulled the trigger on a late first round deal with the Colorado
Avalanche to obtain the No. 27 pick, and once again went for size on the
blueline in USHLer Joe Finley. The best word to describe Finley is physical.
Intimidating is another, as the Minnesota native is 6’7 and 229 pounds, and is
expected to play at a weight of at least 240 by time he is ready to make the
jump to the pro ranks. Finley played for Team World in the USHL
Prospects/All-Star Game this past season. A few days before the draft, Finley
signed a letter of intent with the University of North Dakota and was one of
three Fighting Sioux incoming recruits (along with Brian Lee and T.J. Oshie) to
be drafted in the first round.
As a big player, it is going
to take time for the rest of his skill set (shot, decision-making, and
puckhandling) to develop. Finley is a good skater and finishes his checks hard.
Finley needs to work on his defensive zone play, and at this stage, he is a
project. Prior to the USHL, Finley played two years at Edina HS.
Thomas, D –
4th round, 109th overall
the first of two selections in the fourth round, the Capitals drafted Andrew
Thomas. Thomas completed his freshman season with the two-time defending NCAA
champion Denver Pioneers, and could in fact turn out to be the best player the
Capitals drafted in 2005. An above-average skater, Thomas got a lot of ice time
during the latter stages of the season, and definitely exhibited a mean streak.
The native of New Hampshire was second on the team in penalties (35) and penalty
minutes (78). An intense player, he is sound positionally, and reads the attack
well. Thomas is a good puck carrier, and has an accurate shot from the point.
Thomas has been on championship teams the past two seasons as he helped the USHL
Waterloo Black Hawks capture the Clark Cup in 2004.
McNeill, D –
4th round, 118th overall
Capitals acquired the 118th pick from the Boston Bruins in the 2004 trade of
Michael Nylander, and chose Patrick McNeill from the Saginaw Spirit. A smaller
defender, McNeill stands to benefit from the new NHL rule changes. He was the
No. 1 pick in the 2003 OHL Priority Selection, and was the leading scorer among
the Saginaw blueliners.
strength is as the quarterback on the power play, and he has a great wrist shot.
An intelligent player at both ends of the ice, McNeill is adept at joining the
rush. He was named an OHL All-Star and also played for Team Canada at the
Under-18 World Championship.
Machesney, G –
5th round, 143th overall
spending the first four picks addressing needs on defense, the Capitals selected
goaltender Daren Machesney in the fifth round. Machesney is a steady player with
good skating ability and great lateral movement. A butterfly goalie with a quick
glove hand, Machesney likes to challenge shooters and prefers to play an
aggressive style. He does a good job controlling rebounds and had a save
percentage this past season of .917.
played in the CHL Top Prospects Game earlier this year and received OHL
All-Rookie Team accolades. He spent most of the 2003-04 season with the
Newmarket Hurricanes, and was chosen as the OHA’s top prospect.
Kennedy, LW –
6th round, 181th overall
Kennedy was the only forward taken by the Capitals, but his stay with the
organization was brief as he was moved in a draft day trade to his hometown
team, the Buffalo Sabres. The left winger was sixth in the USHL in scoring this
past season (61 points). Kennedy was named to the All-USHL Second Team, and
paced all playoff scorers with 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists).
who will be attending Michigan State in the fall, captured the 2004-05 Sioux
City Team MVP award as well as the Top Offensive Player honor.
Dovgan, D –
CSKA-2 Moskva (RUS 3rd level)
7th round, 209th overall
a draft without a little controversy? In the seventh and final round of the NHL
Entry Draft, the Capitals selected Russian defenseman Viktor Dovgan, but the NHL
disallowed the pick, as an ineligible claim. The Capitals claim they have valid
information proving his birth date to be February 27, 1987. The CSB, as well as
Eurohockey.net, show his birth date as December 29, 1987, which makes him
eligible for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL is expected to make its ruling on
this case in a few weeks.
Traded their two second round choices, No. 47 and 52 overall, to Colorado for
Colorado’s first round choice, No. 27 overall.
Traded LW Tim Kennedy (sixth round choice in 2005, No. 181 overall) to Buffalo
for Buffalo’s sixth round choice in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
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