Photo: The Washington Capitals went the trade route in the 2011 NHL Draft, sending their first round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for winger Troy Brouwer. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)
After nearly advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, the revitalized Washington Capitals now turn their attention to the off-season. After having just four picks in last year's draft, the club has stockpiled 11 picks for this June's draft, including the 11th overall pick, which they acquired from the Colorado Avalanche for Semyon Varlamov, and their own 16th overall pick.
Photo: London Knights captain Jarred Tinordi and his London Knights teammates fell just short of a Memorial Cup championship. Tinordi is a top prospect of the Montreal Canadiens (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
Below is the bottom third of the ranking of the prospect depth of the NHL organizations as voted by the Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice each season, in the fall and spring.
Photo: Defenseman Dmitri Orlov is one of the newest additions to a young Capitals blue line. Orlov earned a spot in the lineup because veteran defenseman Mike Green spent most of the 2011-12 regular season on the IR. (Photo courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SM)
Since the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, and more recently Marcus Johansson, have graduated to form the core of the Washington Capitals, the organization's prospect pool has been dwindling. Their top prospect, Yevgeni Kuznetsov, is one of the most skilled young forwards outside of the NHL, but has said he'll likely be spending the next two years in Russia. Beyond Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby, the Capitals prospect cupboards are fairly bare, and it's reflected in their first annual prospect awards.
Photo: Braden Holtby had a strong post-season with the Capitals, allowing only 1.95 goals per game. Holtby will be expected to compete for a starting job in 2012-13. (Photo courtesy of
Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)
Despite having a couple prospects who could become key players for the team in the future, the Washington Capitals prospect pool thins out pretty quickly. Evgeny Kuznetsov has first-line potential, while Braden Holtby has shown throughout this year's playoffs that he could become an elite-level goaltender. Yet, the bottom half of the Capitals top-20 is populated with players unlikely to ever make an impact at the NHL level.
1. (1) Yevgeni Kuznetsov, RW 8C
Drafted 1st Round, 26th overall, 2010
Photo: Pittsburgh native Patrick Wey has gradually turned into a solid two-way defenseman in his three years with the Boston College Eagles. (Photo courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Washington Capitals have an intriguing mix of prospects currently playing in Europe and at the NCAA level. They have some highly-touted prospects in Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Patrick Wey, impressive youngsters like Caleb Herbert and Travis Boyd, and more veteran role players like Mattias Sjogren. Most of them are still a few years away from joining the professional ranks, either with the Capitals or the Hershey Bears.