PITTSBURGH -- For better or for worse, before the end of tonight George McPhee will have shaped the future of the Capitals, if not with a new head coach then certainly with a draft pick or two.
While reports of Adam Oates moving ahead of Mike Haviland and Jon Cooper circulated in the hours before the NHL draft 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network, McPhee and his amateur scouts were busy putting the finishing touches on their draft list.
The Caps own the 11th and 16th picks of tonights draft, which is top-heavy with defensemen. Because of that, many draftniks have the Caps going for a blue liner with their 11th pick and a scoring forward at No. 16.
Seems like a sound strategy for a team that already has a stable of young defensemen but is short on high-end forwards.
So, assuming McPhee does not trade away his two picks, whom might the Caps select at No. 11 and No. 16.
At No. 11, here are a few options:
Matt Dumba, D, Red Deer WHL
The 6-foot, 183-pounder was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. Described as a fearless hitter who can impact the game with his speed and offensive skills.
Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland WHL
The 6-foot, 181-pounder cranked out 59 points in 72 games and added 17 points in 22 playoff games. Described as a smart, composed defenseman who can play well at both ends of the rink but could use some more nastiness.
Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton WHL
The son of former NHL defenseman Paul Reinhart, Griffin is one of the biggest blue liners in the 2012 draft class at 6-foot-4, 202 pounds. Hes also one of the most physical and many believe hes just a year or two from being a dominant presence on an NHL power play and penalty kill. In his second year in Edmonton, Griffin had 12 goals, 24 assists and 38 penalty minutes in 58 games.
Jacob Trouba, D, U.S. Development Program
At 6-2, 193 pounds, Trouba might be the grittiest of all the high-end defensive prospects and although he wont light the lamp like Pouliot, he could turn out to be one of the most reliable two-way defenders of the draft.
Olli Maata, D, London OHL
Listed at 6-2, 198, Maata played for the London Knights last season and that could tip the scales in his favor with the Capitals. An all-round defenseman who uses his size well, Maata can lug the puck up the ice as well as any defenseman in the draft and plays a consistent game. A concussion late in the season could raise some concerns.
And at No. 16, here are a few more options.
Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener OHL
At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds many see the Czech center as a first- or second-line power forward who uses his body well to shield the puck and create offense. Hes been compared favorably to Rookie of the Year finalist Gabriel Landeskog.
Sebastien Collberg, RW Frolunda Sweden
A Swedish speedster, Collberg is often linked to the Capitals because of his comparisons to Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom. Hes not small 5-foot 11, 176 pounds but his greatest asset is his quickness and speed and he is very solid in his defensive zone. He he;ped lead Sweden to gold in the World Juniors.
Zemgus Girgensons, C, Dubuque USHL
Perhaps no one in the draft holds more intrigue than this 6-foot-2, 200-pound Latvian. He played for former NHLer Jim Montgomery, who compared his work ethic to Rod BrindAmours. With those kind of credentials, if Girgensons is still around at No. 16, the Caps should grab him.