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Drafting for Success

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals hold the 26th overall draft selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, which begins on Friday, June 24 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota and will be televised on VERSUS at 7 p.m. Rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday and will be televised on NHL Network at 11 a.m. The Capitals currently hold four picks in the seven-round draft, with one pick in each of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. Last year, the team selected forward Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th overall) in the first round.

Fifteen players (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson, Eric Fehr, Jeff Schultz, Boyd Gordon, Mathieu Perreault, John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Andrew Gordon, Braden Holtby, Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth) who played for the Capitals in 2010-11 were originally drafted by Washington, which puts the Capitals in the top five in the NHL in terms of home grown talent.

For the second consecutive season Washington has the 26th pick in first-round, which ties for the fifth-latest pick the Caps have had to start a draft. The Caps also had the 26th selection in the 2010 draft (Kuznetsov) and in 2000 (Brian Sutherby) and did not have any first-round picks in the 2001, 1998, 1987 and 1983 drafts because of trades.

While the 26th selection ties for Washington’s latest first-round pick, the Capitals have enjoyed success near that point. In 2004, George McPhee selected Jeff Schultz and Mike Green at 27 and 29, respectively. In 2006, the Caps selected goaltender Semyon Varlamov at the 23rd spot. In 2008, Washington selected John Carlson at No. 27 and tabbed Marcus Johansson with the 24th pick in 2009. Last season, the Caps made Evgeny Kuznetsov the 26th overall selection.

After Washington’s first-round selection (No. 26), the Caps will not pick again until the fourth round. The Capitals have had success picking in the later rounds, selecting the likes of Perreault (6th round, 2006), Richard Zednik (10th round, 1994), Andrew Brunette (7th round, 1993), Peter Bondra (8th round, 1990), Ken Klee (9th round, 1990), Dmitri Khristich (6th round, 1988), Dean Evason (5th round, 1982) and Gaetan Duchesne (8th round, 1981) late in the draft.
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