Capitals

Quick Links

Revisiting the 2012 draft: Caps find value in volume of picks

Revisiting the 2012 draft: Caps find value in volume of picks

Every year as soon as the NHL draft is finished, everyone rushes to give their grades and their thoughts on what happened even though it is impossible to evaluate. Nobody knows how a team really did in a draft until time has passed. Players people project to be stars turn out to be busts while late-round picks end up surprising everybody.

As the Capitals prepare for the 2017 draft which will begin on Friday, let's take a look back five years to see how the 2012 draft panned out for Washington.

Filip Forsberg, forward, selected in the first round, 11th overall

Every Caps fan is of course well aware of the exploits of Forsberg whom the Caps traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he was a great draft pick. He has developed into one of Nashville's top offensive threats and certainly would be a top-six, probably top line player in Washington.

RELATED: Schmidt in Toronto? New report says Leafs interested

Tom Wilson, forward, selected in the first round, 16th overall

Wilson has not lived up to being the 16th overall pick offensively, but has proven himself to be an NHL player with his strong physical play. He also showed flashes of the potential the team saw in him in the 2017 postseason, especially in the first round against Toronto in which he was phenomenal. What makes him hard to evaluate as a draft pick is how his development was mishandled early in his career. Would he be a better player today if he had been sent back to his junior team in 2013-14 rather than stay in the NHL to play fewer than eight minutes a night? 

Chandler Stephenson, forward, selected in the third round, 77th overall

Stephenson has played in 13 NHL games and is still looking for his first point. This year could be a big year for him, however, as the Caps will be in need of depth forwards and I project he will spend the majority of the hockey season in Washington.

Thomas DiPauli, forward, selected in the fourth round, 100th overall

DiPauli was not signed by the Caps after the four-year deadline and became a free agent. He signed an entry-level deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer of 2016, but his first professional season was limited to just 21 games in the AHL due to injury. He has some offensive upside and was a very good college player in Notre Dame. Could he be the next rookie forward to shine with the Penguins?

Austin Wuthrich, forward, selected in the fourth round, 107th overall

After four years at Notre Dame, Wuthrich has spent the past two seasons in the ECHL.

Connor Carrick, defenseman, selected in the fifth round, 137th overall

Carrick was a surprise in training camp in 2013 and started the season with the Caps, playing in three games before being sent down to the AHL. He would be called up in January and stick with the team for the rest of the season. After that season, he struggled to stay in the Caps' lineup and did not play a single NHL game in 2014-15. He was traded to Toronto in 2016 as part of the package that sent Brooks Laich to the Leafs. Since then, he has been a regular in Toronto's lineup, but I have to wonder how much of that is due to a rebuilding defensive core. How big of a role Carrick will continue to have with the Leafs remains to be seen.

Riley Barber, forward, selected in the sixth round, 167th overall

Barber has played in three NHL games, but looks poised to compete for a spot with the Caps this year. His grinding style of play seems best suited for a fourth-line spot which is exactly where the Caps will need him.

Christian Djoos, defenseman, selected in the seventh round, 195th overall

Despite his small size, Djoos has shown he has NHL talent with a breakout year in Hershey last season. His size is the only thing really standing in his way and his chances of making his NHL debut this season got a heck of a lot better with Nate Schmidt leaving for Vegas in the expansion draft. General manager Brian MacLellan's comments seem to indicate both Djoos and Madison Bowey will be relied upon to have big roles next season. If he proves to be a reliable NHL defenseman, Djoos will be considered a late-round steal.

Jaynen Rissling, defenseman, selected in the seventh round, 197th overall

Rissling has spent the majority of his professional career in the ECHL. He played in five games in the AHL in 2014-15, but has not returned to that level since and seems unlikely to do so anytime soon.

Sergei Kostenko, goalie, selected in the seventh round, 203rd overall

Kostenko has played in nine ECHL games. He did not play at all in the 2013-14 season and has been playing in the VHL, Russia's minor league, ever since.

Other takeaways:

This draft reflects the enormity of the task the Caps face this season. Washington's first five picks in 2012 came before their first pick in 2017 (120). You can also see just how difficult it is to find value in the later rounds. All three of the Caps' first three picks have played in the NHL. Of the remaining seven players, only two have any NHL experience. The good news for Washington is that Stepehenson, Barber and Djoos are all likely to take on bigger roles this year.

Draft grade: B-

Amazingly, it still may be too early to fully grade this draft, but that's just the nature of hockey where it takes a great deal of time for most players to develop. What if Djoos turns into a top-four defenseman and Barber and Stephenson both thrive as bottom-six grinders? That would mean the Caps drafted six dependable NHL players. That is an impressive number of finds. One could also reasonably argue that Forsberg is the second best player in the entire draft. Snagging him 11th was a steal, even if he ended up thriving in Nashville rather than Washington. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Caps were no doubt hoping for more offensive production from Wilson when they took him 16th overall. While he may be an important piece in Washington, he has not delivered offensively.

What grade do you give the 2012 draft?

MORE CAPITALS: Mahoney suggests Djoos could compete for roster spot

Check out the latest episode of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcastsAudioboom and Google Play and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @CSNCapitals@TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.

Quick Links

4 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning to win the Eastern Conference

4 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning to win the Eastern Conference

The Capitals dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in Game 7 on Wednesday to claim the conference crown and a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. Washington took an early lead and never looked back.

Here is how they bucked their Game 7 history to win.

62 seconds

The last time these two teams met in Tampa, the Lightning struck just 19 seconds into the game and it set the tone for the entire contest. This time, it was the Caps who struck early.

A big hit by Tom Wilson in the neutral zone created a turnover that started the rush for the Caps. Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Ovechkin for the one-timer and he fired it past Vasilevskiy just 62 seconds into the game.

Andre Burakovsky’s big night

Injury limited Burakovsky to just 56 games this season. He suffered another injury in Game 2 of the first round and did not return until Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. He was a healthy scratch in Game 5 and was talking about talking to a sports psychologist over the summer. He had not recorded a point this postseason heading into Wednesday game.

And somehow, he rattled off two goals to lead the Capitals.

The start of the second period was all Tampa Bay. The Lightning were dictating the play and buzzing around Braden Holtby. They outshot the Caps 8-1 to start the frame, but Burakovsky got the momentum right back as he stole the puck away from Dan Girardi and fired a beautiful shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy. John Carlson sprung him on a breakaway later in the second period which he put through the five-hole of Vasilevskiy for his second goal of the game.

Braden Holtby is suddenly unbeatable

The last goal Holtby allowed was 33 seconds into the second period…of Game 5. After not recording a single shutout at all this season, he blanked the Lightning in both Game 6 and Game 7 for back-to-back shutouts.

The Lightning had their opportunities. They pushed and pushed hard all game long, especially in the second period as they recorded eight of the first nine shots on goal of the period.

It didn’t matter.

Holtby was up to the task as he dominated the Lightning yet again, even turning aside a breakaway from Alex Killorn to keep the clean sheet. He made 60 straight saves and did not allow a goal for 159:27. This is just the fifth time in NHL history a goalie recorded a shutout in both Game 6 and Game 7 of a playoff series.

Team defense

The Lightning had their chances, but they were frustrated all night long by the all-in defense the Caps played. As good as Holtby was, he let up a lot of juicy rebounds early on. But Tampa Bay could not get a stick to any of them because the Caps defense beat them to the puck all game long.

The Caps recorded 15 blocked shots in the game. Devante Smith-Pelly took a shot block off the back of the neck, T.J. Oshie took one off the boot.

This team was all-in all night long and it frustrated what was the league’s top offense.

Quick Links

Did Bryce Harper predict the Caps-Knights Stanley Cup Final?

harperscf.png
USA TODAY Sports

Did Bryce Harper predict the Caps-Knights Stanley Cup Final?

On May 1, the Capitals were in the middle of their second-round series vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. Everyone was skeptical about whether or not they'd be able to overcome the looming second-round hump. 

Everyone except Bryce Harper that is.

On May 1, Harper tweeted this: 

Moments after the Caps' Game 7 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Eastern Conference, fans remembered Harper's prescient tweet.

Harper is a Las Vegas native and has been an outspoken Knights supporter since the beginning of the season.

However, as one of D.C.'s most beloved athletes, it's tough to imagine a scenario in which he roots against the Caps in a series that's so monumental for the entire city.

He hasn't announced which team he's pulling for yet, but regardless of who wins the Cup Bryce Harper will end up pretty happy.

MORE CAPITALS: 

Caps headed to Cup: First Cup Final in 20 years
How the Caps beat the Bolts: 4 reasons
Ovi and the Cup: 13 years in the making