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Capitals Select Simeon Varlamov With Second First-Round Pick

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals selected goaltender Simeon Varlamov (sih-MYON VAHR-luh-mahv) in the first round, 23rd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. In the second round, the Capitals selected goaltender Michal Neuvirth (MIGH-kuhl NEW-verth), right wing Francois Bouchard (fran-SWAH boo-SHARD), and defenseman Keith Seabrook with the 34th, 35th and 52nd overall picks, respectively.

Varlamov, 18, played in 33 games for Yaroslavl 2 of the Russian-3 league in 2005-06, posting a 1.81 goals-against average and eight shutouts. He was selected as best goaltender at the Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in 2006. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 183-pound Somora, , native was ranked second among all goaltenders by NHL’s Central Scouting. Varlamov is the first Russian goaltender to be taken in the first round since Boston’s Evgeni Ryabchikov in 1994.

Neuvirth, 18, played in 45 games in 2005-06 for Sparta Junior of the Czech Junior league and posted a 2.02 goals-against average. The 6-foot, 174-pound Usti Labem, , native was ranked fourth among goaltenders by Central Scouting and was reported as “a consistent, cool goaltender under pressure and has quick reflexes.”

Bouchard, 18, was Baie Comeau’s first pick, 20th overall, in the 2004 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft. In 2005-06, he posted 102 points (33 goals, 69 assists) in 69 games for Baie Comeau and was selected to the 2005-06 QMJHL All-Star Game for the Canada-Russia Challenge. The Capitals acquired the 35th overall pick in the 2006 Entry Draft from Boston along with Boston’s fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2005 Entry Draft (Patrick McNeill) in exchange for Michael Nylander, March 4, 2004.

Seabrook, 17, played in 58 games for Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2004-05, recording eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points, and posted 70 penalty minutes and was the Express’ rookie of the year. He posted 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) and 81 penalty minutes in 2005-06 and was a member of the Express’ 2005-06 Canadian Junior A championship team. He will attend the University of Denver this fall.

The Capitals had two picks in the first round and five picks in the first two rounds, more than any other team. The Capitals were one of three teams (Minnesota, St. Louis) with two first-round picks. Washington selected Nicklas Backstrom with the fourth overall pick in the first round.

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