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Looking back at the Capitals’ 2013 NHL Draft: Trade bait

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USA Today

Looking back at the Capitals’ 2013 NHL Draft: Trade bait

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: 2013

23rd overall pick (first round): Andre Burakovsky F

Even after five seasons in the NHL, it is hard to know what to make of Burakovsky. There are many times in which he flashes the skill that made him a first-round pick. For every game he plays like that, there is another one where you barely notice he is on the ice. Inconsistency has completely plagued his career.

Burakovsky has played in 328 games for Washington with 62 goals and 83 assists. When you look at the players taken after Burakovsky in the first round (Hunter Shinkaruk, Michael McCarron, Shea Theodore, Marko Dano, Morgan Klimchuk, Jason Dickinson, Ryan Hartman) it still looks like a good pick for Washington. Burakovsky is arguably the best of that bunch. No one except Theodore really comes close. But if you had told the Caps after drafting Burakovsky that after five seasons his career-highs would be 17 goals and 38 points, I think general manager George McPhee would have been disappointed by that.

53rd overall pick (second round): Madison Bowey D

Bowey was a highly touted prospect for several years as he played his way through the WHL and AHL. When he finally made it to the NHL, he struggled to stay in the Caps’ lineup. These are always tricky situations in that when you have a player ready for the NHL, you don’t want to keep him in the minors. But if he can’t make the lineup, it doesn’t do him any good to continue sitting him.

Rather than watch Bowey’s value decrease, MacLellan instead elected to trade him and a second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Nick Jensen and a fifth-round pick at the 2019 trade deadline.

Bowey played in 84 total games for Washington with one goal and 17 assists.

61st overall pick (second round): Zach Sanford F

This pick belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks who traded it to the Winnipeg Jets. The Caps acquired it in exchange for Washington’s third and fourth round picks plus a fifth from the Calgary Flames they had acquired in the Dennis Wideman trade. All three picks were for the 2013 draft.

Sanford played in only 26 games with the Caps in his rookie season before general manager Brian MacLellan packaged him with Brad Malone, a first round pick and a conditional second for Kevin Shattenkirk and Pheonix Copley. Shattenkirk was an expensive rental, he didn’t fit in well and yet again, Washington was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. Copley is now the current backup for Braden Holtby though so at least there’s that.

84th overall pick (third round): Traded to the Winnipeg Jets

This pick was traded to Winnipeg for the 61st overall pick that netted them Sanford.  The Jets selected forward Jimmy Lodge with the pick. He has spent his career cycling between the AHL and ECHL. He has not yet played in the NHL.

114th pick (fourth round): Traded to the Winnipeg Jets

This was another pick included in the Winnipeg trade. The Jets took defenseman Jan Kostalek. He played junior hockey in the QMJHL, progressed to the AHL, but returned to his native country of the Czech Republic last season having never played in the NHL.

127th overall pick (fifth round): Acquired from the Calgary Flames, traded to the Winnipeg Jets

This was the third and final pick the Caps included in the Winnipeg trade. The Jets took defenseman Tucker Poolman who actually did reach the NHL and played 24 games for Winnipeg in the 2017-18 season. He has not been back since.

144th overall pick (fifth round): Blake Heinrich D

Heinrich went from the WHL to the University of Manitoba for two years and played in the ECHL in the 2018-19 season.

174th overall pick (sixth round): Brian Pinho C

Pinho had a tremendous career in Providence and, after four years of college hockey, still elected to sign with the Caps rather than holding out for free agency. His first professional season came in 2018-19 which he spent with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. In 73 games, he scored four goals and eight assists. He seems like a better fit for the AHL than NHL at this point and will likely spend the majority of his career there.

204th overall pick (seventh round): Tyler Lewington D

After several years in the AHL, Lewington played in two games for the Caps in the 2018-19 season and actually recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight in one game. As exciting as that performance was, his ceiling looks to be as a No. 7 at the NHL level. Depending on what happens this offseason for the Caps, he could end up being just that for Washington next season.

Takeaways

Six years later, it is still unclear what type of player Burakovsky is ultimately going to be. Will he finally break through and become that top-six player his talent says he should be?

At this point, it is fair to say the Caps won the trade with Winnipeg. Washington got Sanford in exchange for three draft picks that amounted to only 24 total NHL games. Caps fans may be a bit bitter about Sanford considering they just watched him help the St. Louis Blues win a Stanley Cup while the Caps ended up with a total bust of a trade in the Shattenkirk deal. But there are two things to keep in mind. First, the trade was not a total bust as it helped the team reacquire Copley. Second, the Caps got T.J. Oshie from St. Louis for a package that included Copley, Troy Brouwer and a third-round pick so Washington still came out on top in the end.

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At Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament, T.J. Oshie continues to chug beer

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At Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament, T.J. Oshie continues to chug beer

If you know anything about Stanley Cup champion T.J. Oshie, it's probably that he has a thing for chugging beer.

At his second American Century Champions celebrity golf tournament out on Lake Tahoe, Oshie kept his reputation alive and well by funnelling a beer from a fan in between holes.

The Caps winger signed a jacket amidst a crowd of fans cheering "C-A-P-S, Caps, Caps Caps" before being accepting a beer.

At last year's tournament, the freshly-minted NHL champ stuck with his signature celebration and chugged beer through his golf polo before sinking a put with a beer helmet on.

Oshie finished 51st this year, while Tony Romo took back-to-back first place titles.

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20 Burning Capitals Questions: Can Alex Ovechkin hit 50 goals again?

20 Burning Capitals Questions: Can Alex Ovechkin hit 50 goals again?

The long, endless summer is only halfway done. The Capitals last played a game on April 24 and will not play another one until Oct. 2. 

But with free agency and the NHL Draft behind them now, the 2019-2020 roster is almost set and it won’t be long until players begin trickling back onto the ice in Arlington for informal workouts.  

With that in mind, and given the roasting temperatures outside, for the next three weeks NBC Sports Washington will look at 20 burning questions facing the Capitals as they look to rebound from an early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, keep alive their Metropolitan Division title streak and get back to their championship form of 2018.   

The list will look at potential individual milestones, roster questions, prospects who might help and star players with uncertain futures. We begin with Alex Ovechkin, for whom 50 goals is always the expectation. But how much longer can the captain keep this up?  

Alex Ovechkin is already back running up mountains and pushing giant tires down tracks. 

It’s become a summer training ritual documented on social media for Ovechkin, who has had more downtime than he would have liked in 2019. Instead of partying with the Stanley Cup well into July, he has already had plenty of vacation time with wife, Nastya, and son, Sergei, and his family all while plotting how to get the Stanley Cup back to Washington.   

That extra time for rest and training is necessary with Ovechkin’s age-34 season approaching. His birthday is Sept. 17. It is his 15thNHL season. The question: Can Ovechkin defy the odds and make a run at yet another 50-goal season?

We’re getting close to the historical limit. Johnny Bucyk scored 50 goals at age 35 for the Boston Bruins in 1970-71. Jaromir Jagr turned 34 toward the back end (Feb. 15) of a 2005-06 season when he scored 54 goals for the New York Rangers. 

But that’s the list Ovechkin is working with. Otherwise, we are in uncharted territory. He could pass Jagr by hitting 50 again during a season he will actually begin at age 34. He can’t yet catch Bucyk, who was 35 for the entirety of that 1970-71 season, to become the oldest 50-goal scorer in NHL history. 

That honor – if it happens - would actually have to wait until 2021-22, which is a year Ovechkin is not even under contract. He has two years remaining on the 13-year deal he signed with the Capitals way back in 2008. We were all so much younger then. 

But looking ahead, a 50-goal season at age 35 for Ovechkin would still fall short of Bucyk, who had a May birthday and was just a few weeks shy of his 36thbirthday when he scored 51 for Boston in 1971. Neither Bucyk nor Jagr even led the league in goals those years – something Ovechkin has done a record eight times. 

Jagr’s 54 goals came in an offense-happy year after a lockout canceled the 2004-05 season. There were five 50-goal scorers that year alone. This entire decade since 2010 there have been five players total who have scored 50 goals, including Ovechkin. And he’s the only one to hit 50 more than once. He’s done it four times this decade and just missed a fifth when he hit 49 in 2017-18. So close.  

"I’m sure he had some doubters out there that think it’s going to stop," Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamos said in March. "But [Ovechkin] just finds a way. He’s motivated. He loves to score goals."

Becoming the league’s oldest 50-goal scorer can wait a while. There’s a big contract negotiation that must take place before then. For now, there’s the small matter of catching Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for most 50-goal seasons all time. They both have nine. Ovechkin has eight. 

It wouldn’t shock anyone to see Ovechkin put together a few more 50-goal campaigns well into his 30s. Who would doubt him at this point? But expecting him to do it is another thing. Bodies age, injuries accrue, skills erode, speed diminishes.

Washington scored 274 goals last season. That was fifth in the NHL. It could probably withstand some erosion from Ovechkin, especially if its defensive play is better. The Capitals gave up 238 goals last season, which ranked 16th. The team made moves to improve its penalty kill and did its best to keep its scoring depth – though it remains to be seen if keeping Carl Hagelin and signing free agent Richard Panik was the right move while letting Brett Connolly walk and trading Andre Burakovsky. 

But this team has for several years now relied on its offensive stars to help carry the freight. That quality up and down the lineup begins with Ovechkin and it’s why the Capitals always seem to out-produce the advanced metrics that peg them as a very good team, but not an elite one. 

There is a Stanley Cup banner hanging at Capital One Arena that proves some teams just have a knack for playing better than the underlying numbers say that they should. History says Ovechkin should be done with 50 goals by now. Do you want to bet against him even at age 34? 

There are other milestones ahead for Ovechkin even if he falls short of 50 this season. A 42-goal season would get him to the magical 700 mark. Only seven players have ever done that. On the way, he’d pass legends like Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694). A 50-goal season on the nose would tie Ovechkin with Hall-of-Famer Mike Gartner, who scored 397 of his 708 career goals with the Capitals. 

If that happens then the Gretzky watch will begin in earnest. Gretzky’s record of 894 career goals still seems impossible to reach. But one more 50-goal season would pull Ovechkin to within 186 goals before age 35. Suddenly the implausible seems possible then. 

“I don’t think it’s crazy. It’s going to be tough," said Stamkos who scored 60 goals in 2011-12 and is one of those five players with Ovechkin to top 50 this decade. "But the longevity he’s had in his career is pointing in his favor going forward. He’s always going to have that shot. I think there’s a chance. It’s going to be tough, but I do think there’s a chance for him to break it.”        

The greatest goal scorer of his generation then could make a final assault on history. But it all starts with one more big year before the aging curve really kicks in. Does Ovechkin have another 50 in him?  

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