Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
It's Draft Day!
Tonight, June 24th, is the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the second consecutive year, the Capitals will be drafting at number 26 overall, in front of only Tampa Bay, Boston, Vancouver, and San Jose. Last year, as many know, the Caps drafted dynamic Russian scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov, with that pick and George McPhee will look to duplicate this success this time around.
McPhee has said several times in the months leading up to the draft that he does not see very many "game changers" in this year's crop of entrees, which is his way of saying he does expect to get a player ready to contribute right away or even a year down the road in the first round. Nevertheless, GMGM has had alot of success late in the first round, so whoever he does pick bears some serious watching. That being said, here is some info on players that are rumored to be on DC's radar or who could fall to them.
Philip Danault: Danault is a center for the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres, and scored 24 goals and 43 assists while going +17 in 61 games this year. Danault is a good old Canadian boy, viewed by many as a "willing" player which means that he is the kind of guy who will do the little things consistently to help the team win. He's not the most talented guy in the draft by any stretch, even though he can score, but he does have an abundance of hockey smarts and is very reliable, two qualities that the top-heavy and skilled Caps lineup could use. He's molded around a Cody Eakin; a guy with a relentless motor who just plays the game right. Danault is a sleeper, and to me, you cannot have enough of these guys. I like.
Nicklas Jensen: Jensen is a winger for the OHL's Oshawa Generals, and scored 29 goals and 29 assists while going +14 in 61 games this year. A native of Denmark, Jensen is a strong skater and and a gamebreaker who uses his size to create offensively and can battle well in the corners. He's big and physical, so there is little doubt about his ability to hold up in the NHL, and he is responsible defensively for the most part; many think of him as a Lars Eller type player (think Brooks Laich with more skill). He would be an ideal pick for DC.
Alexander Khokhlachev: Khoklachev is a center/winger from the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, and scored 34 goals and 42 assists this year while going +9 in 67 games this year. A Moscow native, just like one Captain of the Washington Capitals, he is an elite offensive talent, with superior vision, stick skills, and speed. But he does not come without several red flags: he's small both in height and weight and he's not very responsible in his own zone. There is no denying his offensive upside, but he's risky, and he is not the kind of player DC needs. But because of GMGM's policy of "best player available," if he's left at 26, he'll probably put on the Red.
Tomas Jurco: Jurco is a winger for the QMJHL's St. John Sea Dogs, and scored 31 goals and 25 assists while going +47 in 60 games this year. Jurco, who is Slovakian, spent the majority of this season as a linemate for Caps prospect Stan Galiev, and is potentially the best pure offensive scorer in this draft class and, based on skill alone, is a clear first round pick. However, he is incredibly inconsistent and also struggles with the defensive side of his game. Hmmm, sounds a lot like Alexander Semin to me. Nein! NEIN!
I will be live-blogging the Draft starting at around 6:30 Friday night. Don't forget to tune in to watch on Versus at 7.
To catch up on a crazy day of trades and signings in the NHL yesterday, click here.