Friday, June 22, 2007

History Lesson Complete

Whew! Getting down to the wire, folks - just a few more hours before we find out who the newest Caps will be...and where they'll come from. Will we horde our draft picks and stockpile more fresh-faced youngsters? Will we bundle off one of the boys with our #5 pick and subject someone else to the new jersey? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let's dive into the juicy drafts of the last four years:

2003 Draft
1. Marc-Andre Fleury
2. Eric Staal
3. Nathan Horton
4. Nikolai Zherdev
5. Thomas Vanek
6. Milan Michalek
7. Ryan Suter
8. Braydon Coburn
9. Dion Phaneuf
10. Andrei Kostitsyn
16. Steve Bernier
17. Zach Parise
18. Eric Fehr
19. Ryan Getzlaf
28. Corey Perry
29. Patrick Eaves
45. Patrice Bergeron
47. Matt Carle
83. Stephen Werner
148. Lee Stempniak
182. Bruno Gervais
205. Joe Pavelski
261. Shane O’Brien
262. Joey Tenute
271. Jaroslav Halak
287. Nick Tarnasky

Lots of sparkly names in there, and again, the closer we get to the present day the harder it gets to tell just who will be a success. A lot of the guys I've pinpointed here were virtual unknowns just a year ago. In some cases, even more recently. (Jaroslav Halak, anyone?)
Steal of the Draft: Jaroslav Halak, 271st Overall

2004 Draft
1. Alex Ovechkin
2. Evgeni Malkin
4. Andrew Ladd
13. Drew Stafford
15. Alexander Radulov
20. Travis Zajac
21. Wojtek Wolski
23. Andrej Meszaros
27. Jeff Schultz
29. Mike Green
33. Chris Bourque

97. Johan Franzen
98. Dustin Boyd
227. Chris Campoli
238. Yutaka Fukufuji
262. Mark Streit

It seems hard to believe it was only three years ago that we drafted a smiling Russian kid who would go on to break records and hearts all over the place. But Ovie wasn't the only draftee - the potential future of the Capitals blueline rests in the hands of Jeff Schultz and Mike Green, while Chris Bourque's recent improvements are leading to murmurs of a place in the NHL within the next few years. As for the rest? Well, I guess there was this other Russian kid taken 2nd...but no one cares about him, I promise.
Steal of the Draft: Mark Streit, 262nd Overall (this is a purely biased choice because he's a Hab and I know very little about the other late draftees)

2005 Draft
1. Sidney Crosby
3. Jack Johnson
5. Carey Price
6. Gilbert Brule
11. Anze Kopitar
14. Sasha Pokoluk
44. Paul Stastny
45. Guillaume Latendresse

Pfft. This one so doesn't matter. Sidney who? Next.
Steal of the Draft: Unknown

2006 Draft
1. Erik Johnson
2. Jordan Staal
3. Jonathan Toews
4. Niklas Backstrom
5. Phil Kessel

So recent these guys still have the price tags on them, and only two of the top five have even dressed in the NHL. My money's on that Niklas guy, he could turn into something someday...
Steal of the Draft: Unknown

And that takes us up to today - hope to see a lot of smiling faces at KCI later tonight, but if you can't make it tune into Comcast SportsNet for (*gasp*) coverage of the Caps' uniform unveiling and other events. And if you are among the handful with access to Versus you can see what will probably be purloined TSN coverage tonight and you know it will be at least halfway decent.

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