Washington Capitals Entry Draft Preview

By Jeff Charlesworth

George McPhee and the Washington Capitals enter the 2000 entry draft without the luxury of
multiple high selections like they did a year ago. It would be difficult to beat last year’s
effort anyway, as the Class of 1999 looks as though they will make a huge impact on the future in
DC. Not including the “Top 5″, in which the Caps chose five of the first 37 players, McPhee
uncovered a gem in the fifth round by the name of Roman Tvrdon – who had possibly the best
season of any Capitals prospect. He also found two promising defensemen in the later rounds:
David Johansson and Igor Shadilov. If he can continue his success of selecting quality players
in the later rounds, the Capitals should make this draft a success as well.

The Capitals will select 26th in the first round, and have ten selections in all. They traded
their third-rounder to Colorado in the Dale Hunter deal, and their fourth to Anaheim for Stephen
Peat. They also sent their seventh-round selection to Chicago in return for a late pick which
they used to select Shadilov a year ago. The Caps gain a compensatory fourth-round pick as the
“Future Considerations” from the Joe Juneau trade. They also receive Tampa Bay’s seventh-round
pick as part of the Jaroslav Svejkovsky deal, Calgary’s seventh-rounder in return for Tom
Chorske, and an eighth-round pick from New Jersey for Ken Sutton.

There are a few trends that McPhee seems to have shown in his three drafts so far. First of
all, fifteen of his twenty-seven selections have been Canadian. However, after drafting only two
Europeans in his first two years, he chose five in 1999. He has shown a preference for WHL
players (8) and U.S. Collegians (6), but has shied away from the Quebec League – selecting only
two players in three years, both from his first draft (1997). Position-wise, he has picked a
good mix, except he has chosen only two left-wingers. One interesting trend I have noticed is
that McPhee seems to have slated Rounds 1-4 for Canadian Hockey League players, with only two
exceptions so far (Chris Corrinet and Michal Sivek). Meanwhile, Rounds 5-9 are set aside for
everything but CHL players, with only three exceptions (Pierre-Luc Therrien, Nathan Forster and
Blake Evans).

The Capitals should stay away from defensemen this year, as they are loaded at that position.
The organization had eight first-year defensemen at the minor-pro level this season, and it
looks as though they will retain them all. McPhee should look to strengthening the forward
positions, particularly left wing. The Caps lack true scoring ability from the wings, and
although they have several two-way banging types – there is no replacement for Peter Bondra on
the horizon. Since the Capitals do have quite a few NHL-calibre prospects at the forward
positions, McPhee can afford to take a chance and select flashy high-risk prospects, and he
won’t have to worry if they don’t turn out. The Caps will probably pick up a goaltender in the
middle rounds, and you can also expect a couple of over-sized behemoths in the later rounds – as
Washington has always loved big players.

The Capitals might be tempted to trade up to select Alexei Smirnov (Dynamo Russia) or Nikita
Alexeev (Erie OHL), but the price to move up and Smirnov’s similarities to Alexandre Volchkov
will probably scare them off. Hopefully Alexander Frolov (Yaroslavl 2 Russia) or Matt Pettinger
(Calgary WHL) will be available when the Caps get on the board. One or both of them may be gone
by number 26, so depending on availability, Frolov would be first choice followed by Pettinger.
Ruslan Zainullin (Kazan Russia), Krys Kolanos (Boston College HE) and Shane Endicott (Seattle
WHL) – who is slipping off a lot of people’s draft board – will get consideration if the first
two are gone. The second round is even tougher to predict, because it is anybody’s guess who
will still be around at that point. Kris Venarsky (Plymouth OHL) and Brett Nowak (Harvard ECAC)
are possible selections, but will probably be mid-second round picks. Brad Winchester (Wisconsin
WCHA) is a bit of a reach at this spot, but is a good fit with the direction that Washington is headed.

PREVIOUS WASHINGTON DRAFTS UNDER GEORGE MCPHEE



1999



1 7 C Kris Beech Calgary (WHL) 6'3 184
2 29 C Michal Sivek Trinec (CZE) 6'4 203
2 31 RW Charlie Stephens Guelph (OHL) 6'4 223
2 34 D Ross Lupaschuk Pr.Albert (WHL) 6'2 212
2 37 D Nolan Yonkman Kelowna (WHL) 6'4 200
5 132 RW Roman Tvrdon Trinec (CZE) 6'0 186
6 175 RW Kyle Clark Harvard (ECAC) 6'7 210
7 192 D David Johansson AIK Jr. (SWE) 6'0 183
8 219 C Maxim Orlov CSKA (RUS) 6'0 176
9 249 D Igor Shadilov Dynamo (RUS) 6'2 189

1998



2 49 G Jomar Cruz Brandon (WHL) 6'2 194
3 59 C Todd Hornung Portland (WHL) 6'0 200
4 106 LW Krys Barch London (OHL) 6'1 195
4 107 RW Chris Corrinet Princeton (ECAC) 6'3 220
5 118 D Mike Siklenka Lloydminster (Tier2) 6'4 215
5 125 LW Erik Wendell Maple Grove HS (MN) 6'1 187
7 179 D Nathan Forster Seattle (WHL) 6'3 196
7 193 G Rastislav Stana HC Kosice (CZE) 6'2 172
8 220 D Michael Farrell Providence (HE) 6'1 205
9 251 C Blake Evans Tri-City (WHL) 6'2 216

1997



1 9 D Nick Boynton Ottawa (OHL) 6'2 215
2 35 D J.F. Fortin Sherbrooke (QMJHL) 6'2 190
4 89 G C. Cruickshank Kingston (OHL) 6'3 220
5 116 RW Kevin Caulfield Bos. College (HE) 6'2 210
6 143 D Henrik Petre Djurgarden (SWE) 6'1 187
8 201 G P.L. Therrien Drummondville (QMJHL) 6'1 170
9 226 RW Matt Oikawa St.Lawrence (NCAA) 6'2 215