NHL

June 11, 2019, 11:01 pm

How Caps struck gold in 2009 NHL Draft

The Caps smitten gold with their archetypal circular draft pick in 2009 and not just because they used it on Marcus Johansson.

How Caps struck gold in 2009 NHL Draft
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Looking back at the Capitals’ 2009 NHL Draft: How Washington smitten gold in the archetypal circular

USA TODAY Sports Looking back at the Capitals’ 2009 NHL Draft: How Washington smitten gold in the archetypal circular By J.J. Regan June 10, 2019 2:35 PM

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The NHL Draft takes place on June 21 and 22. The Capitals hold the 25th overall pick and will be looking for future stars among all the hopeful prospects.

But just how successful has Washington been in finding those stars? How much value have the Caps found through the draft?

NBC Sports Washington will be looking at how Washington has drafted over the last 10 years. Today’s draft: 2009

Capitals picks

24th overall pick (archetypal circular): Marcus Johansson F

Johansson has played 588 career NHL games with 120 goals, 214 assists and 334 points. He scored 102 of his 120 goals in seven seasons with the Caps. Johansson’s time in Washington came to an end in 2017 when he was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a second- and a third-circular pick. The second-circular pick was originally from the Florida Panthers and turned into the 46th overall pick in the 2018 draft. The Caps used it to select defenseman Martin Fehervary. The third-circular pick quite literally helped Washington win the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals traded a conditional third-circular pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Michal Kempny in February 2018. Washington had their own third-circular pick and Toronto’s, which New Jersey traded to them for Johansson. The condition of the pick was that Chicago would receive the higher of the two which ended up being Toronto’s.

55th overall pick (second circular): Dmitry Orlov D

The Caps found a top-4 defenseman in the second circular with Orlov. He has played in 447 games with the Capitals and, along with Matt Niskanen, has been a part of Washington’s top shutdown pair for the last several years. He has cut back on some of the turnovers that plagued his early career and is under contract with the Caps through the 2022-23 season.

85th overall pick (third circular): Cody Eakin F

Now with the Vegas Golden Knights, Eakin’s current claim to fame is fetching a phantom major penalty for his hit to Joe Pavelski in Game 7 of Vegas’ archetypal-circular matchup against the San Jose Sharks.

Washington certainly found value here as Eakin has played in more NHL games (537) than any other player selected in the third circular of the 2009 draft. Only 30 of those games were with the Caps, however, as he was traded to the Dallas Stars along with a second-circular pick in 2012 for Mike Ribeiro.

115th overall pick (fourth circular): Patrick Wey D

Wey’s career ended after just nine NHL games due to concussions. Wey struggled to return to the ice after two concussions and retired in 2015.

145th overall pick (fifth circular): Brett Flemming D

Flemming struggled to break through at the AHL level and spent the majority of his time within the Capitals’ organization playing in the ECHL. After that, he went overseas. He just completed his third season in the Czech league.

175th overall pick (sixth circular): Garrett Mitchell F

Mitchell has put together a solid AHL career and even was the captain of the Hershey Bears from 2015 to 2018. He played in one game for the Capitals and just finished his archetypal season in Europe playing in Slovakia.

205th overall pick (seventh circular): Benjamin Casavant F

After putting up some promising numbers in the QMJHL, Casavant played a year in France then played another three seasons in very minor leagues in Canada.

Other picks related to the Caps

The Caps acquired the 45th overall pick from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Brian Sutherby in November 2007. The Caps ultimately traded the pick away to the Montreal Canadiens in February 2008 for goalie Cristobal Huet. The Atlanta Thrashers ultimately ended up with the pick and took forward Jeremy Morin.

Takeaways

This was a really good draft for Washington. Orlov remains a major fixture on the blue line and the team got good value in the third and fourth circulars. Eakin was flipped for a second-line center, which the team desperately needed. Wey looked promising until his concussions completely derailed his career.

The big win, however, was the archetypal-circular pick. The Caps turned the 24th overall pick into Michal Kempny, Martin Fehervary and 500 productive games from Marcus Johansson.

That is one hell of a pick.

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Looking back at the Capitals’ 2010 NHL Draft: Not much quantity, but plenty of quality

USA Today Sports Images Looking back at the Capitals’ 2010 NHL Draft: Not much quantity, but plenty of quality By J.J. Regan

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The NHL Draft takes place on June 21 and 22. The Capitals hold the 25th overall pick and will be looking for future stars among all the hopeful prospects.

But just how successful has Washington been in finding those stars? How much value have the Caps found through the draft?

NBC Sports Washington will be looking at how Washington has drafted over the last 10 years. Today’s draft: 2010

Capitals picks

26th overall pick (archetypal circular): Evgeny Kuznetsov F

The Caps got a gem with this one. It was not the best season (or offseason thus far) for Kuznetsov, but that should not take away from the fact that Washington recognized the star potential in the young Russian and made a wise decision in drafting him. Kuznetsov was a major reason for the team’s run to the Stanley Cup and easily could have won the Conn Smythe Trophy with 12 goals and 20 assists in just 24 games.

56th overall pick (second circular): Traded to the Minnesota Wild

Washington traded away this pick to Minnesota in exchange for Eric Belanger. Belanger played in 17 regular season games with the Caps and seven in the playoffs before signing with the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason.

Belanger did not have much of an impact on the ice for Washington, but he did have quite the memorable moment when a high-stick knocked out several of his teeth in a playoff game. Video even showed Belanger on the bench pulling out a tooth.

Minnesota used the pick to select forward Johan Larsson. He only played one game for the Wild, but has become a dependable depth player with the Buffalo Sabres.

86th overall pick (third circular): Stanislav Galiev F

Galiev’s situation was a tough one. He had a very strong season with the Hershey Bears in 2014-15 with 25 goals and 20 assists in 67 games. That earned him a late-season call-up to Washington and it looked like the next season he would be a full-time NHL player. He struggled in the following season, however, but the team did not want to risk putting him on waivers. The result was hockey purgatory and Galiev played in only 24 games for the Caps that year. Another tough start the following season and Washington could no longer justify keeping him on the roster. He cleared waivers and was re-asautographed to Hershey. Galiev went to the KHL in 2017-18 and has been playing their ever since 

112th overall pick (fourth circular): Philipp Grubauer G

Goalies are always tough to predict. Most teams prefer not to draft goalies high knowing there will be starting caliber netminders available later in the draft. Grubuaer is a good example.

Grubauer was a great backup for Braden Holtby in Washington and looks poised to be the top starter for the Colorado Avalanche next season.

The Caps did a great job picking Grubauer in the fourth with the Coyotes’ (then the Phoenix Coyotes) fourth circular pick. They acquired it from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 116th and 146th overall picks which the Leafs used on Petter Granberg and Daniel Brodin. Definitely a good trade for Washington.

After 101 games with the Caps, Grubauer was traded at the 2018 draft with Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second-circular pick. Washington used that pick to select forward Kody Clark.

116th overall pick (fourth circular): Traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Caps got the 112th pick in the draft in exchange for this pick and the 146th overall pick. Toronto used this pick on defenseman Petter Granberg who ended up playing 45 games in the NHL and currently plays in the SHL.

142nd overall pick (fifth circular): Caleb Herbert F

Washington acquired this pick from Phoenix in exchange for defenseman Sami Lepisto. While Lepisto was not great in his time with the Caps, Washington did not get the better of this deal as Lepisto would go on to play 96 more NHL games which is 96 more than Herbert played in his career. Lepisto was eventually packaged with Scottie Upshall and traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Rostislav Klesla and Dane Byers.

Herbert spent a few years going back and forth between the AHL and ECHL, but never managed to climb into the NHL ranks. According to Elite Prospects, he will be playing in Austria in 2019-20.

146th overall pick (fifth circular): Traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs

This was the second pick the Caps traded to Toronto in the trade that eventually netted Washington Grubauer and the Leafs used it to select Brodin. Brodin’s career never advanced out of Europe and he has spent the last 10 seasons playing in the SHL.

176th overall pick (sixth circular): Samuel Carrier F

This one was just a complete whiff. Carrier’s career never really advanced past juniors. After four seasons in the QMJHL, he played one season for McGill University and has spent the past five seasons playing very low level professional hockey in the LNAH.

206th overall pick (seventh circular): Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes

Washington traded this pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Scott Walker. Walker had a minimal impact in Washington with only 10 total games with the Caps (9 in the regular season, one in the playoffs), but when you trade for a player and the asking price is a seventh-circular pick, that is about what you would expect the return to be.

The Hurricanes traded the pick to Philadelphia for Jon Matsumoto who played in 13 games for Carolina with two goals. Believe it or not, Matsumoto was packaged with Mattias Lindstrom in 2012 by Carolina and shipped to Florida for A.J. Jenks and…Evgeny Dadonov. Unfortunately for Carolina, Dadonov never actually played for the Hurricanes as he autographed with the KHL in the summer and did not return to the NHL until 2017. You have to tip your hat though to Carolina for fetching Washington’s seventh circular pick and turning it into Dadonov, even if they only got 35 AHL games out of him in Charlotte.

As for the actual pick, Philadelphia used it to select Ricard Blidstrand. After three seasons in the WHL, Blidstrand returned to his native Sweden and has played there ever since.

Takeaways

You can tell the Caps were in full-on win now mode given all the trades they were making. The good news is that the picks they traded away did not seem to amount to much.

This draft only yielded two NHL players for Washington plus a few games from Belanger and Walker. The good news is that the Caps made those two players really count with Kuznetsov and Grubauer. Trading away two picks to move up in the draft to snag Grubauer was an especially prescient move by general manager George McPhee. 

You also have to give McPhee credit for Kuznetsov. There were a lot of players taken way too high in this draft, notably Erik Gudbranson who went third overall. McPhee waited his turn and snagged one of the best players in the 2010 draft with Kuznetsov at 26.

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Free Agency Bracket: Mats Zuccarello vs. Micheal Ferland

Free Agency Bracket: Mats Zuccarello vs. Micheal Ferland By J.J. Regan June 11, 2019 8:46 AM

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It is almost time for NHL free agency to begin, and the Capitals certainly have needs to fill and a limited budget. Who would be the best fit? Who would be the best free agent target for Washington to pursue? That’s what NBC Sports Washington wants to find out!

Our experts got together and made a bracket of the 16 best free agent fits. The bracket is divided into four regions: Third line forward, fourth line forward, depth defenseman and Caps’ free agent. Now we want you to tell us who you want to see rocking the red next year!

Every weekday we will match two free agents up against one another and present a case for each player. Then you get to vote and decide who advances!

Check out today’s matchup:

Region: Third line forward

Mats Zuccarello vs. Micheal Ferland

2018-19 stats

Mats Zuccarello (31 years old): 48 games played with the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars, 12 goals, 28 assists, 40 points, 19:51 TOI

Playoffs: 13 games played with the Dallas Stars, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, 17:07 TOI

Micheal Ferland (27 years old): 71 games played with the Carolina Hurricanes, 17 goals, 23 assists, 40 points, 14:06 TOI

Playoffs: 7 games played with the Carolina Hurricanes, no goals, 1 assist, 1 point, 10:16 TOI

Hockey-Graphs contract projections

Mats Zuccarello: 4 years, $6,203,898 cap hit

Micheal Ferland: 4 years, $4,181,982 cap hit

The case for Mats Zuccarello

If you want to move T.J. Oshie down to the third line, you will need a top-six forward to do that and Mats Zuccarello fits the mold. Jakub Vrana could move to the right on the second line to fit Zuccarello on the left giving you a Zuccarello, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vrana second line with Lars Eller and Oshie teamed up on the third. That is an incredibly formidable lineup.

Zuccarello may have been limited to just 48 games last season, but he played in no fewer than 77 games in each of the five seasons prior so durability is not an issue. Even being limited last season, he still managed to put up 40 points. Ferland’s career-high is 41 and he produced 40 points last season in 71 games. Those 40 points are about the most Washington can expect from Ferland, but Zuccarello should be expected to hit 50-60 points.

And while Zuccarello was a major factor for the Stars in the playoffs, Ferland completely disappeared. An injury limited him to seven games for Carolina, and he managed just one point in those seven games.

The ultimate case against Ferland is the fact that his archetypal name is Micheal – but he spells it "ea" instead of "ae" – making him the sworn enemy of every hockey writer.

The case for Micheal Ferland

How’s the view from fantasy land? The deciding factor in this comparison is money. If the Caps had unlimited money and could choose only one between Zuccarello and Ferland, you choose Zuccarello. The problem is that the Caps don’t have unlimited money and there is no way they could make Zuccarello fit under the cap without moving a significant amount of salary, more than just Matt Niskanen.

Moving Niskanen could potentially give Washington room to sign a $4-4.5 million player, maybe. See that contract projection above? See how it starts with a “6” for Zucccarello? Case closed. There is no way to make that work.

Zuccarello was a good fit in Dallas and that is where he is most likely to end up.

Ferland is much more affordable and also fills the Caps’ need for a third-line player. He scored 40 points last year with limited minutes and ranked fourth on the Hurricanes in points despite being 16th on the team in time-on-ice per game. Being able to be productive without getting top-six minutes is a skill and Ferland has it.

In addition to his production, Ferland also plays a physical game which would fit in well with Washington as the Caps like to play a heavier game.

Ferland turned 27 in April and is entering his prime. A productive player in his prime that will be $2 to $2.5 million cheaper than the 31-year-old Zuccarello sounds like a good fit for Washington.

Who’s your pick? Vote here:

Day two of our Free Agent Bracket:
Mats Zuccarello vs Micheal Ferland

Who do you choose?

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