In a prior post, I made my guesses for who I though would be on the Caps opening night roster. I though, seeing how GMGM and Ted Leonsis are preaching the growth from within, it would be interesting to see how all those players actually ended up in the Washington Capitals organization. Were they drafted by the team, were they acquired as prospects, were they traded for, or were the signed as UFAs?
First, here’s a quick review of my opening night roster predictions (and please do check out the original post).
THE DRAFT PICKS
Much of the opening night roster consists of players that have been drafted by the Washington Capitals. In fact, this comprises a vast majority. Take a look.
|Player||Age||Overall Draft Pick, Year|
|Alex Ovechkin||24||1st overall, 2004|
|Nicklas Backstrom||22||4th overall, 2006|
|Alex Semin||26||13th overall, 2002|
|Marcus Johansson||19||24th overall, 2009|
|Eric Fehr||24||18th overall, 2003|
|Mathieu Perreault||22||177th overall, 2006|
|Andrew Gordon||24||197th overall, 2004|
|Boyd Gordon||26||17th overall, 2002|
|Mike Green||24||29th overall, 2004|
|Jeff Schultz||24||27th overall, 2004|
|John Carlson||20||27th overall, 2008|
|Karl Alzner||21||5th overall, 2007|
|Semyon Varlamov||22||23rd overall, 2006|
|Michal Neuvirth||22||34th overall, 2006|
In total, 14 of the players I think will be on the roster come opening night have been drafted by the Washington Capitals, all since 2002. Out of those 14, 11 are 1st round picks (!), along with 1 2nd rounder, 1 5th rounder, and 1 6th rounder. Not bad. The only 1st round picks the Caps have had since 2002 that aren’t on this roster are Steve Eminger (12th overall, 2002, currently with the NY Rangers), Sasha Pokulok (14th overall, 2005, currently in the ECHL), Joe Finley (27th overall, 2005, looking to crack the Hershey Bears roster after playing in college and having some injury issues), Anton Gustafsson (21st overall, 2008, played in Sweden last season and will likely play in Hershey this season), and 2010 1st round pick Evgeny Kuznetsov. Finley and Gustafsson may very well play with the Caps some day, and Kuznetsov will almost certainly as well.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED AS PROSPECTS / YOUNG PLAYERS
Most of the young players who weren’t drafted by the Capitals (i.e. Fleischmann & Laich) have been acquired as prospects, mainly during the fire-sale period prior to the drafting of Ovechkin.
|Brooks Laich||27||Traded from Ottawa Senators for Peter Bondra in 2004|
|Tomas Fleischmann||26||Traded from Detroit Red Wings for Robert Lang in 2004|
Almost all of the remaining players, with the exception of Jason Chimera, were signed as free agents.
|Jason Chimera||31||Traded from Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009|
|Matt Bradley||32||Signed as UFA|
|Dave Steckel||28||Signed as UFA|
|Mike Knuble||38||Signed as UFA|
|Tom Poti||33||Signed as UFA|
|John Erskine||30||Signed as UFA|
|Tyler Sloan||29||Signed as UFA|
Looking at all this, GMGM has obviously been very good at developing draft picks and acquired prospects into full NHL players. None of the players on my opening night roster that have been signed as free agents, with the exception of Mike Knuble, will likely ever play higher than the 3rd-4th forward line of 2nd-3rd defensive pairing. The ability to have almost an entire NHL roster of players that have been developed by the organization is, in my opinion, impressive. Well done.