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2019 NHL Draft: Six players the Capitals could take at No. 25

2019 NHL Draft: Six players the Capitals could take at No. 25

The Capitals have the 25th pick in the first-round of the NHL Draft on Friday. While there has been much speculation that Washington could move up or down in the draft, they also must prepare for the possibility of keeping the pick and finding the best available player at that point. If they do keep the pick, here are six players who could fall to them.

F Philip Tomasino (Niagara, OHL)

Most draft projections have Tomasino going long before he reaches the Caps, but the unexpected can happen in the draft and sometimes players fall. If there is mid-round forward who drops, Tomasino would likely be the guy and the Caps would be smart to pounce on him.

Tomasino could drop because of his size as he is just 6-foot, 183 pounds. Washington has not been shy in the past about drafting an undersized player and it is also important to keep in mind that Tomasino is one of youngest draft-eligible forwards and does not turn 18 until July 28. He can easily bulk up with age.

Tomasino racked up 72 points in 67 games in the OHL this past season, representing a 48-point improvement from the previous year. His skating and speed are exceptional which are highly coveted attributes by the Caps.

F Bobby Brink (Sioux City, USHL)

The biggest need in the draft for Washington is high-end offensive talent and Brink certainly fits the bill. He is not the best skater, but late in the first-round, you expect there to be negatives to a player’s skillset. What he lacks in skating he makes up for in hockey IQ, vision and pure offensive ability.

Brink scored 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games in the USHL this past season. With 1.58 points per game, he averaged the most among any player with at least 25 games. He will play for the University of Denver in the fall.

F Connor McMichael (London, OHL)

McMichael is another undersized forward at just under 6-foot, 182 pounds. If he were a couple of inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier, his skill would make him a top-10 pick.

With the London Knights, McMichael became the go-to player on offense with 36 goals and 36 assists in 67 games. His shot is deceptive, but his greatest attribute is his hockey IQ. He understands and sees the game very well. You can help a player bulk up, but it is hard to develop the same kind of vision he possesses.

F Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)

At 18, Poulin is already 6-foot-1, 212 pounds. He is not just a bruiser, however, as he still put up 29 goals and 47 assists in the QMJHL last season. He is also the son for former NHLer Patrick Poulin.

A hard-working, big-bodied forward with high offensive upside? Yeah, that sounds like a good fit for the Caps.

F Brett Leason (Prince Albert, WHL)

Leason will be one of the older players in the draft at 20. He was passed over in the past two drafts and appears to be a bit of a late-bloomer. His skating has improved tremendously over the past year which helped his overall game. With 36 goals and 53 points last season, Leason improved his point total by a whopping 57 points from the year before.

The route that he took the NHL by going from undrafted for two years to first-round talent will likely scare off some teams and 25 may ultimately be a bit high for Leason. The Caps, however, like taking players from the WHL and Leason’s extra maturity and size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) could help him reach the NHL sooner than many of the other 17, 18-year-olds in the draft. That would appeal to the Caps who are in desperate need of depth offense but don’t have the cap room to add much in free agency.

D Thomas Harley (Mississauga, OHL)

The obvious need for the Caps is at forward and if they reach the 25th pick and the best players on the board are all defensemen, the most likely scenario is that they would trade back. They may make an exception depending on which defenseman falls to them, however. If Harley is still on the board at 25, I would not be surprised to see MacLellan go for it.

Harley played in all situation for Mississauga and has an uncanny ability to find shooting and passing lanes in the offensive zone which means he could quarterback the power play some day. He is also very dependable in his own zone and has the size, skill and mobility to be an NHL defenseman despite the fact that he does not turn 18 until August.

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Everything you need to know as Backstrom is declared out for Wednesday and Caps make flurry of roster moves

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Everything you need to know as Backstrom is declared out for Wednesday and Caps make flurry of roster moves

Dealing with a number of injuries and the possible suspension of Garnet Hathaway, the Capitals made a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday. Carl Hagelin was placed on LTIR and Nic Dowd was played on IR. Both players are dealing with an upper-body injury and acre considered day-to-day. Hagelin will be eligible to return to the roster on Dec. 2 and Dowd on Nov. 21. Goalie Vitek Vanecek was reassigned to Hershey. The resulting cap space allowed the team to recall forward Beck Malenstyn, Mike Sgarbossa, defenseman Tyler Lewington and goalie Ilya Samsonov, which the team announced earlier on Wednesday.

In addition, it was announced that Nicklas Backstrom will not play Wednesday against the New York Rangers. due to an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day and remains on the active roster.

The team continues to insist both Hagelin and Dowd are day-to-day, but they had no choice but to place one of them on LTIR in order to get enough cap room to call in some reinforcements. The team does not get relief from Dowd going to IR other than an extra roster spot, nor will Hathaway's salary come off the books if he is indeed suspended.

It was clear from the start that calling up Vanecek was a temporary move and that the team wanted to get back Samsonov as quickly as possible. These moves allowed them the cap space to do so. It also allowed them the cap space to recall a seventh defenseman in case of injury, hence the Tyler Lewington move. The salary cap gymnastics the team had to go through last week show why keeping the bare minimum number of players on the roster can quickly turn into a problem. With all the injuries upfront, however, and the possible Hathaway suspension, the bare minimum may be exactly what the Caps will be left with in terms of forwards.

With no Backstrom, Hagelin or Dowd, we are going to see some line shuffling at the morning skate in preparation for Wednesday's game against the New York Rangers (8 p.m., NBCSN). Lars Eller will move up to the second line with Backstrom out and both Sgarboss and Malenstyn will be inserted into the bottom six. If this is in fact what happens, then Wednesday will be Malenstyn's first career NHL game. He clearly caught the eye of head coach Todd Reirden in the preseason with his strong play.

No announcement has yet been made regarding Hathaway's suspension.

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How to Watch Capitals at Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

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NBC Sports Washington

How to Watch Capitals at Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Washington trounced Anaheim on Monday, with its 5-2 victory. Now, the Capitals head up to New York's Madison Square Garden for a Wednesday Night Rivalry Night against the Rangers. 

With Washington leading the all-time series record, and veteran defenseman John Carlson having a career season (including a seven-game point streak), New York better be ready for a challenge.

Here is everything you need to know about the rivalry night matchup, including how to watch.

CAPITALS at RANGERS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers, Game 24 of the 2019-2020 NHL Regular Season

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals at Rangers game will be broadcast on NBCSN (Channel Finder Link)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Rangers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at RANGERS TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live (NBC Sports Washington Plus)

7:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live (NBC Sports Washington Plus)

8:00 PM: Capitals at Rangers (NBCSN)

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live (NBC Sports Washington Plus)

11:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live (NBC Sports Washington Plus)

CAPITALS at RANGERS INJURY REPORT

Capitals:

Carl Hagelin, upper body, day-to-day

Nic Dowd, upper body, day-to-day

Rangers:

Marc Staal, ankle, week-to-week

Mika Zibanejad, upper body, day-to-day

CAPITALS at RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

John Carlson, D, Capitals (8G, 27A, 35 Pts): Back in October, when the Caps and Rangers first met this season, Carlson put up a team-high three points. Now, the defenseman has a seven-game point streak and is tied for the third-most points in the league (35).

Artemi Panarin, C, Rangers (9 G, 14A, 23 Pts): Since joining the Rangers as a free agent this summer, Panarin has shown his offensive prowess and now leads New York in goals (9). He also has nine points in the Rangers' last five games, though he's only scored twice in that period.  

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals (15G, 10A, 25Pts): An offensive powerhouse for Washington, the captain is once again providing numbers up front. Ovechkin also has six goals and five assists over the Capitals' last 10 games. 

CAPITALS at RANGERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 273 (55 postseason)

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead 131-117-18

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead 103-90-18

Playoff Record: Capitals lead 28-27

Last Meeting: Caps win 5-2 (10/18/19)

Last 10: Capitals lead 9-1

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