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Caps Draft History: 1975 Entry Draft

The Capitals owned the first overall pick in the 1975 Entry Draft.

by Washington Capitals @Capitals /

The Capitals owned the first overall pick in the 1975 Entry Draft, but opted to trade the pick to the Cup-winning Philadelphia Flyers for the Flyers' first pick, defenseman Don McLean and center Bill Clement. The trade set the Caps' franchise back several seasons and stands as one of the worst decisions in the team's early history.

The Flyers used the top pick to take center Mel Bridgman who went on to enjoy a solid 14-year NHL career. The Caps took Alex Forsyth -- whose NHL career lasted all of one game -- with what was originally Philly's pick. McLean played nine games with the Caps and was out of pro hockey altogether by the following season. Clement succeeded Doug Mohns as the Caps' captain, but played a mere 46 games with Washington before being dealt to Atlanta.

In defense of Washington's decision, the draft that year was a particularly thin one talent-wise. Because the NHL allowed 18-year-olds to be drafted in the previous draft (another attempt to keep talent away from the rival World Hockey Association), the best players had been selected in 1974.

It was not a very fruitful draft for the Caps. Aside from Forsyth, only defenseman Peter Scamurra ever donned a Caps sweater. He was taken with the first pick in the second round. Later in the second round, future Caps Dennis Maruk (California, 21st overall pick), Brian Engblom (Montreal, 22nd) and Doug Jarvis (Toronto, 24th) were chosen.

Of all the players who were selected in the 1975 draft, only one went on to a career that could eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. Right wing Dave Taylor of Clarkson College was taken by Los Angeles with the 210th overall pick (there were 217 total). He went on to score 431 goals and 1,069 points in 1,111 NHL contests.

Ex-Caps coach Ron Wilson was taken by Toronto with the 132nd overall pick. The 1975 draft was also noteworthy in that it was the first for which the newly formed Central Scouting Bureau provided the clubs with a numbered ranking of the top available talent.

Hindsight is 20/20: History shows they shouldn't have, but the Caps did deal away the first overall pick. But history also shows they could have done better than Forsyth at No. 18. Much better. Either Maruk or Jarvis would have been a great pick. Rugged right winger Willi Plett was taken with the 80th overall pick; he won the Calder Cup as the NHL's top rookie and went on to a strong 13-year career.



Alex Forsyth
Drafted 122nd overall by WHA, NHL career consisted of one game with Caps.


Peter Scamurra
Played in 132 games over parts of four seasons with the Capitals.


Blair MacKasey
Minor league teammate of Ron Wilson, played one NHL game with Toronto. MacKasey played minor league baseball in Expos' chain.


Craig Crawford
Also drafted by the WHA's San Diego Mariners. Pro career spanned two years, four leagues.


Roger Swanson
Also drafted by the WHA's Phoenix Roadrunners. Played four seasons as a pro.


Clark Jantzie
Also drafted by the WHA's New England Whalers, never turned pro.


Mike Fryia
Pro career consisted of 16 games with Tidewater Sharks of SHL in 1975-76.
Jim Ofrim
Also drafted by the WHA's Edmonton Oilers, never turned pro.
Malcolm Zinger
Also drafted by the WHA's Cleveland Crusaders. Played two years of pro hockey.

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