Washington Capitals 2000 Draft in Review

By Jeff Charlesworth

The Washington Capitals surprised no one with the players they selected early on in the 2000 Entry Draft. The top three selections all came from the Western Hockey League, where the Caps have gone for several high picks before. The unexpected moves came when the Capitals made four trades involving nine draft picks and one player – 1995 first-rounder Miika Elomo. Elomo had survived Friday’s expansion draft and was expected to make the jump to the NHL next season.

In the first round (26th overall), they chose Brian Sutherby from Moose Jaw. He is a two-way center, and is very physical. The Caps needed more offensive forwards, but could not pass on Sutherby. He suffered a shoulder injury in November and missed some time. He plays a similar style to current Capital Jeff Halpern, but is a bit bigger.

With the first of their two second-round picks (43rd overall), the Capitals grabbed Matt Pettinger. He is a big winger who has some offensive ability. He left college mid-season to enter the WHL and scored seven goals in his first 12 games. He is the fourth member of the 1999-2000 Calgary Hitmen on the Capitals’ reserve list – joining Kris Beech, Rastislav Stana and
Stephen Peat.

The other second-round pick (61st overall) was used to select big defenseman Jakub Cutta from Swift Current. He is an stay-at-home defenseman but likes to carry the puck. He is originally from the Czech Republic, but has adjusted to the North American game very quickly.

In the fourth round (121st overall) the Capitals selected defenseman Ryan Van Buskirk from Sarnia. He was originally a 1998 pick of the Phoenix Coyotes (100th overall), but re-entered this year’s draft. He has some offensive ability and decent size. Due to the fact that he is two years older than the other 2000 draftees, he may be ready to turn pro right away.

In the fifth round (163rd overall), Washington chose center Ivan Nepriayev from the Russian Yaroslavl junior team. The Caps’ final pick (9th round, 289th overall) was used to select 28-year old Defenseman Bjorn Nord from Djurgarden in Sweden. He has greatly improved offensively
the last two seasons, and will probably be brought into training camp to compete for a spot in
the lineup.

This year the Capitals decided to put all their faith in high picks, as they ended up trading away four lower picks to move into the fourth round. They also picked some older players that will be able to step in immediately. Although Pettinger is a good prospect, the Capitals did not improve their depth on the wing – in fact, Pettinger was the only winger taken this year. It seems that the scouts felt there was not much to be had deep into the draft, and discarded the late picks.

Washington Capitals 2000 Entry Draft Selections

1 26 C Brian Sutherby (Moose Jaw-WHL) 6'2" 180
C.S.B. Ranking: 8th Selected: 14th, North Americans

2 46 LW Matt Pettinger (Calgary-WHL) 6'0" 205
Selected: 23rd, North Americans

2 60 D Jakub Cutta (Sw. Current-WHL) 6'3" 195
Selected: 32nd, North Americans

4 121 D Ryan Van Buskirk (Sarnia-OHL) 6'2" 207
Selected: 65th, North Americans

5 163 C Ivan Neprajiev (Yaroslavl-RUS)
Selected: 66th, Europeans

9 289 D Bjorn Nord (Djurgarden-SWE) 6'0" 196
Selected: 117th, Europeans