Friday, June 26, 2009

Storming the Crease discusses the Washington Capitals draft scenario

Storming the Crease is yet another one of the most CLS-friendly blogs out there. Rob, the blog's faithful editor, was a reliable source of Capitals perspective in a mini-blog for the Pens-Caps series. Make sure to check out his great blog.

1. What direction do you expect Washington to go in with this year's draft? What's your preference?

GM George McPhee has done well with picking players either later in the first round or with subsequent selections. Granted, since the team wasn’t that good for a while, the Caps did benefit from some high selections such as Alex Ovechkin first overall in 2004.

The current Caps are all about winning the Cup now. That means the most drama emanating from the team’s table in Montreal will revolve around trades, specifically focusing on Michael Nylander and Jose Theodore. Both players seem to be headed out of town, assuming McPhee can swing a deal. It probably wouldn’t involve the team’s first-round pick, but you never know.

McPhee is great about keeping the proverbial cards close to his vest -- and this year is no different.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Capitals’ history. What are some of the "steals" and groan-inducing moments that Washington fans will never forget?

There’s little debate that the Caps’ all-time draft steal came in the 1990 draft: Peter Bondra, the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer, was selected in the eighth round, 156th overall. Bondra scored 472 goals in 14 seasons with the franchise.

Other late-round values include Richard Zednik (10th round, 249th overall in 1994) and Gaetan Duchesne (8th round, 152nd overall in 1981).

The busts started at the franchise’s beginning: Greg Joly, selected first overall in 1974, scored just 21 goals in nine NHL seasons. Other disappointments include 1995 first-rounder (17th overall) Brad Church (two NHL games played) and 1996 first-rounder (fourth overall) Alexandre Volchkov (three NHL games played).

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Caps and/or NHL in general.

There’s no doubt the Caps are still steaming from the 6-2 game seven loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year’s playoffs. But in order for the Caps to follow the Pens’ path to a title, they need to do more than just stew. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

That means the team needs to add an offensive-minded veteran center and a defensive-minded defenseman (or two). The Caps also need to become more consistent—which means no more nights off, no more 3-1 series deficits and no more thinking that “flipping the switch” when facing a deficit will earn them a Stanley Cup.

The Caps need to emulate the Pens and Detroit Red Wings in work ethic and determination. Adding new players will help, but the main source of the change has to come from the current roster.

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