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Caps enter Draft with League-high 11 selections

by Adam Kimelman /

The Washington Capitals will be the busiest team at the 2012 NHL Draft, with a League-high 11 selections.

The 50th annual draft will be held June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The first round will start at 7 p.m. on June 22 (NBCSN, TSN), with rounds 2-7 starting at 10 a.m. on June 23 (NHL Network).

The Caps have a pair of picks in the first round -- Colorado's at No. 11, from the Semyon Varlamov trade, and their own at No. 16. It's the fourth time since 2004 they've had multiple first-round picks.


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They have five selections in the top 100 and six in the first four rounds. If Washington uses all 11 picks, it would be more than they had in the 2010 and 2011 drafts combined, when they made 10 choices.

The Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes have 10 picks each. The Predators don't have a first round pick, but after trading goaltender Anders Lindback to the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday, they'll pick three times in the first 66 selections.

The Hurricanes have three choices in the top 50, starting with the eighth pick in the first round.

The Buffalo Sabres have nine picks, including four of the first 44 selections. The Phoenix Coyotes also have nine selections, while the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators each have eight.

The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings have seven picks, as do the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils.

The New York Rangers have just four picks, the fewest of any team -- one each in the first four rounds. The Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks each have five picks.

Besides Washington, two other teams have multiple first-round picks. Tampa Bay has their choice at No. 10 and the 19th pick from Detroit from the Kyle Quincey trade. The Sabres will pick 12th and 21st, the pick they acquired from the Predators in the Paul Gaustad trade.

The Blue Jackets, who pick second, could add the Kings' pick at No. 30. They hold the option on taking that pick this year or next year through the Jeff Carter trade. They have until two picks prior to the selection to inform the NHL of their decision.

The Edmonton Oilers, who own the first pick for the third straight year, have seven picks in all, including the second pick in rounds 2-6. They also have an extra third-round pick.

It's a mystery who the Oilers have focused their attention on with the top pick. If they choose to add to their young crop of forwards, options include Sarnia right wing Nail Yakupov, NHL Central Skating's top-ranked North American skater; Quebec center Mikhail Grigorenko; Sarnia center Alex Galchenyuk; and Leksand center Filip Forsberg, Central Scouting's top-rated European skater.

If they opt for a defenseman, top candidates include Everett's Ryan Murray, Edmonton's Griffin Reinhart, Moose Jaw's Morgan Rielly, Ottawa's Cody Ceci and Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

This year's draft is considered deep in blueliners, with London's Olli Maatta, Red Deer's Mathew Dumba, Guelph's Matthew Finn, Portland's Derrick Pouliot, Peterborough's Slater Koekkoek and Hampus Lindholm of Rogle in Sweden all possible first-round picks.

Other highly talented forwards that could hear their names called early include Kitchener center Radek Faksa, left wing Teuvo Teravainen of Jokerit in Finland, Belleville center Brendan Gaunce, Kelowna center Colton Sissons, USNTDP center Stefan Matteau and center Zemgus Girgensons from Dubuque in the USHL.

Only two goalies have been picked in the first round of the draft the last three years -- and none last year -- but that likely will change in 2012. Belleville's Malcolm Subban -- younger brother of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban -- is Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender and is expected to be picked early. Andrei Vasilevski of Ufa in Russia and Oscar Dansk of Swedish club Brynas also could go in the first 30 picks.

There could be as many as four players of Russian descent picked in the first round, with potentially three -- Yakupov, Grigorenko and Galchenyuk -- going in the top five. That hasn't happened since 2001 when Ilya Kovalchuk (No. 1, Atlanta), Alexander Svitov (No. 3, Tampa Bay) and Stanislav Chistov (No. 5, Anaheim) went that early. And only one other time have Russian-descent players been taken with the first two picks -- 2004, when Washington took Alex Ovechkin No. 1, and Pittsburgh chose Evgeni Malkin No. 2.

The San Jose Sharks have six picks, which includes a compensatory second-round pick (No. 55), awarded for their failure to sign 2007 first-round pick Patrick White.

For full order of selection for the 2012 NHL Draft, CLICK HERE.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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