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Caps Draft History: 1977 Entry Draft

Each of Washington's top four picks made it to the NHL.

by Washington Capitals @Capitals /

The 1977 draft crop was easily the deepest of the four the Caps had participated in to that point. It produced 23 skaters who would go on to appear in more than 500 NHL games and a pair of Vezina-winning goaltenders.

Each of Washington's top four picks made it to the NHL but only top pick Robert Picard enjoyed true success in the league. The Caps' expansion mates, the Colorado Rockies (nee Kansas City Scouts), had the second overall pick and took defenseman Barry Beck. Like Picard, Beck had a solid though not spectacular career. Like the Caps, the Rockies did well with the first pick but washed out with the rest.

Meanwhile, the rich got richer. The New York Islanders had the 15th pick of the 18 teams but managed to snare Mike Bossy and John Tonelli with their first two picks. The defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens had the 18th overall pick but managed to grab stalwart defensemen Rod Langway and Gordie Roberts with their second- and third-round picks. The Habs also chose winger Craig Laughlin with the 162nd overall pick. Future Cap Bobby Gould was taken by Atlanta with the 118th overall pick.

Hindsight is 20/20: Picard was a decent first pick, but the Blackhawks grabbed Doug Wilson with the sixth overall pick. Wilson played 16 seasons in a borderline Hall of Fame career, winning the Norris Trophy in 1982 and appearing in seven All-Star games. The Caps sent Picard to Toronto for in a deal for Mike Palmateer in June of 1980.

The league drafted well in the first round as all 18 players made it to the NHL and 17 of the 18 appeared in at least 250 games. But 14 teams -- including the Capitals -- let 573-goal scorer Mike Bossy slip through their hands. The Islanders grabbed him with the 15th overall pick and he became a key cog on the club that went on to win four straight Stanley Cups.

How many Cups would the Caps have won if they had taken Bossy with their first pick, Langway with their second, Gould with their seventh and Laughlin with their 10th? Remember, with Langway and Laughlin already in the fold, the Caps would not have had to trade Rick Green and Ryan Walter to obtain the two Habs. Hindsight is not only 20/20, it's painful.



Robert Picard
First Caps defenseman to score 20 goals in a season. Played 899 NHL games.


Mark Lofthouse
Parts of six seasons in NHL, four with Caps. Played in AHL until 1988-89.


Eddy Godin
Three goals in 27 Caps and NHL games. Played with AHL Hershey until 1982-83.


Nelson Burton
Eight Caps and NHL games; played in six AHL, EHL and CHL cities.


Denis Turcotte
Never turned pro.


Perry Schnarr
Played college hockey at Denver U., also drafted by WHA's Calgary Cowboys. Pro career consisted of three IHL games.


Rollie Boutin
Went 7-10-1 in three seasons with the Caps. Played pro until 1984.
Brent Tremblay
Played 10 games with Caps over two seasons. Scored one goal, one point.
Don Micheletti
Younger brother of ex-NHLer Joe, Don was captain at U. of Minnesota, also drafted by WHA's Calgary Cowboys. Never turned pro.
Archie Henderson
"Baron of Bedlam" played 23 NHL games and was pro thru 1987-88. Later a pro scout for the Caps.

Full Draft Results Here

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