After taking Russian goaltender Ilya Samsonov in the first round of the NHL draft on Friday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., the Capitals set their sights on bolstering their blue line by selecting three straight defensemen in Rounds 2, 5 and 6 on Saturday.
The four draft picks match the fewest taken by the Capitals in any draft year. They also made four picks in the 2011 draft. Unlike that year, when the Caps did not pick until the fourth round, the Caps traded away their third- and fourth-round picks on Saturday to select Swiss defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler at No. 57 overall.
After sitting out Rounds 3 and 4, the Caps made defenseman Connor Hobbs their fifth-round pick at No. 143 and defenseman Colby Williams in the sixth round at No. 173.
Hobbs, 18, is a puck-moving 6-foot, 187-pound defenseman from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who plays for the Regina Pats, the same childhood team of Capitals coach Barry Trotz and the hometown of Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney.
Hobbs used the word “super pumped” at least four times in his interview with reporters and said he had an “awesome” pre-draft chat with the Capitals.
“I’m super happy, super pumped,” he said. “I thought I’d go somewhere in he middle-ish to late rounds I can’t say enough. I’m super pumped, super excited.”
Hobbs recorded one goal and 15 assists, along with 31 penalty minutes, in 33 games for Regina last season after being traded from Medicine Hat, where he had one goal and one assist in 12 games.
He said he has a hard shot and likes to “rip the puck,” saying he strives on making hard tape-to-tape passes out of his defensive zone.
MORE CAPITALS: WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT SAMSONOV
He grew up a Maple Leafs fan and said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is his favorite player. Along with the Caps’ other draft picks, he is expected to attend the Caps’ development camp from July 7-11.
The Caps took Hobbs’ teammate, Colby Williams, with their final pick of the draft at No. 173. Considered more of an offensive threat from the blue line, the 5-11, 191-pounder from Regina, Saskatchewan recorded 11 goals and 30 assists with 95 penalty minutes in 64 games with the Pats.
Here are some thumbnails on the three defensemen taken by the Caps:
Jonas Siegenthaler, 6-2, 220, Zurich, Switzerland
- Siegenthaler spent the majority of the 2014-15 season with Zurich in the Swiss League under former Stanley Cup-winning coach Marc Crawford. A physical, two-way defenseman, Siegenthaler led the Lions with 39 penalty minutes.
- Internationally, Siegenthaler registered four assists in seven games and was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2015 Under-18 World Championship, helping host Switzerland to a fourth-place finish. Siegenthaler has also represented his country at the 2015 World Junior Championship and the 2013 and 2014 Under-18 World Championships.
- In 2012-13, Siegenthaler was part of two championship teams. He registered 2-12-14 in 34 games for Zurich’s junior team to win the Swiss Elite Jr. A Championship and also helped the under-17 team to a title with two assists in five postseason contests.
What they’re saying: Jonas Siegenthaler is a smooth skating defenseman with a tremendous combination of size and mobility. Keeps his game simple, by not risking too much and always looking to make a short safe pass. Needs to improve his shoot, despite most of the time being on target, his release is poor and it lacks power. Has fine hands and puck handling and his passes are soft and accurate, but like his shot they lack power. Stands his ground along the boards and is not afraid to use his body, while playing a reliable defensive game. – Elite hockey prospects
Connor Hobbs, 6-0, 187, Saskatoon, Sask.
NHL team: Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL player: Drew Doughty
Movie: Boondock Saints
TV show: That '70s Show
Actor: Will Ferrell
Musician: George Strait
Sport (other than hockey): Football
Athlete (non-hockey): Derek Jeter, Roy Jones Jr.
What they’re saying: "He does a lot of things really well. He's big, he's got good skills, he moves good on the ice. He's everything we hoped for. For somebody who shoots the puck like him, you hope there's going to be more offence. I think there will be. More than anything, he's 17. Last year he was playing midget hockey. When he's 18 and 19 years old, he's going to be a really high-end defenseman." – Pats coach John Paddock
Colby Williams, 5-11, 191, Regina, Sask.
- Set career highs with 11 goals, 30 assists and 41 points in 2014-15. Added 3 goals, 5 assists in nine playoff games. Named defenseman and player of the year for Pats.