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How Stanley Cup champion Capitals were built

Washington drafted 14 players on roster, including seven in first round

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor

The core group of players who helped the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights were assembled through the NHL Draft. The Capitals have 14 active players who were drafted by them, including seven in the first round.

The Capitals have a strong international presence with seven players from Canada; six from the United States; three from Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic; and one each from Germany, Denmark and Australia (among those who have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs). 

The free-agent signings of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik in 2014 provided stability, and trades for Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie rounded out their forward group.

Here's how the Capitals roster was built, along with some background on their coaches and general manager:

 

[RELATED: Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage | Capitals Championship Gear]

 

Forwards

Nicklas Backstrom, C: Selected in the first round (No. 4) of the 2006 NHL Draft, Backstrom, 30, had 71 points (21 goals, 50 assists) in 81 regular-season games and had 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 20 playoff games.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Capitals presented with Stanley Cup

Jay Beagle, C: Signed as a free agent March 26, 2008, Beagle, 32, had 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 79 regular-season games and had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 23 playoff games.

Travis Boyd, C: Selected in the sixth round (No. 177) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Boyd, 24, had one assist in eight regular-season games and had no points in one playoff game.

Andre Burakovsky, LW: Selected in the first round (No. 23) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Burakovsky, 23, missed 26 regular-season games because of injury and as a healthy scratch, and had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 56 games and had six points (two goals, four assists) in 13 playoff games.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm7: Burakovsky forces turnover to score

Alex Chiasson, LW: Signed as a free agent Oct. 4, 2017, Chiasson, 27, had 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 61 regular-season games and had two points (one goal, one assist) in 16 playoff games.

Brett Connolly, LW: Signed as a free agent July 1, 2016, Connolly, 26, had 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 70 regular season games and had nine points (six goals, three assists) in 24 playoff games.

Lars Eller, C: Acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens for two NHL Draft picks June 24, 2016, Eller, 29, had 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) in 81 regular-season games and had 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 24 playoff games, including the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 5.

Shane Gersich, RW: Selected in the fifth round (No. 134) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Gersich, 21, made his NHL debut March 28 against the New York Rangers and finished the regular season with one assist in three games. He had no points in two playoff games.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C: Selected in the first round (No. 26) of the 2010 NHL Draft, the 26-year-old had an NHL career high 83 points (27 goals, 56 assists) in 79 regular-season games and led the playoffs with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 24 playoff games.

T.J. Oshie, RW: Acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, July 2, 2015, Oshie, 31, had 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 74 regular-season games and had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 24 playoff games.

Alex Ovechkin, LW: Selected in the first round (No. 1) of the 2004 NHL Draft, Ovechkin, 32, had 87 points (49 goals, 38 assists) in 82 regular-season games and had a Capitals record 15 goals (and 27 points) in 24 playoff games.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Ovechkin receives Conn Smythe Trophy

Devante Smith-Pelly, RW: Signed as a free agent July 3, 2017, Smith-Pelly, 25, had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 75 regular-season games and had eight points (seven goals, one assist) in 24 playoff games.

Chandler Stephenson, RW: Selected in the third round (No. 77) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Stephenson, 24, had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 67 regular-season games and had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 24 playoff games.

Jakub Vrana, LW/RW: Selected in the first round (No. 13) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Vrana, 22, had an NHL career-high 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 73 regular-season games and had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 23 playoff games.

Nathan Walker, LW: Claimed off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 20, Walker had one goal in nine regular-season games and had one assist in one playoff game. Selected in the third round (No. 89) of the 2014 NHL Draft by Washington, Walker was placed on waivers and claimed by Edmonton on Dec. 1, and was the first Australian to play in an NHL game.

Tom Wilson, RW: Selected in the first round (No. 16) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Wilson, 24, had an NHL career-high 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 78 regular-season games and had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 21 playoff games.

 

Defensemen

John Carlson : Selected in the first round (No. 27) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Carlson, 28, had an NHL career-high 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists) in 82 regular-season games and had 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 24 playoff games.

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm4: Carlson blasts one-timer for PPG

Christian Djoos : Selected in the seventh round (No.195) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Djoos, 23, had 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 63 regular-season games and had one assist in 22 playoff games.

Jakub Jerabek : Acquired in a trade with the Canadiens for a fifth-round pick Feb. 21, 2018, Jerabek, 27, had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 36 regular-season games with the Canadiens and Capitals, including four points (one goal, three assists) in 11 games with Washington. He had one assist in two playoff games.

Michal Kempny : Acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on Feb. 19, 2018, Kempny, 27, had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 53 regular-season games with the Blackhawks and Capitals, including three points (two goals, one assist) in 22 games with Washington. He had five points (two goals, three assists) in 24 playoff games.

Matt Niskanen : Signed as a free agent July 1, 2014, Niskanen, 31, had 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 68 regular-season games, missing 14 games with two upper-body injuries. He has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 24 playoff games.

Dmitry Orlov : Selected in the second round (No. 55) of the 2009 NHL Draft, Orlov, 26, had 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 82 regular-season games and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 24 playoff games.

Brooks Orpik : Signed as a free agent July 1, 2014, Orpik had 10 assists in 81 regular-season games and had one goal and four assists in 24 playoff games. He is the oldest player on the Capitals (37).

 

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby : Selected in the fourth round (No. 93) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Holtby, 28, was 34-16-4 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in 54 regular-season games and was 16-7 with a 2.16 GAA, .922 save percentage and two shutouts in 23 playoff games.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Holtby on Cup win, Ovi's leadership

Philipp Grubauer : Selected in the fourth round (No. 112) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Grubauer, 26, was 15-10-3 with a 2.35 GAA, .923 save percentage and three shutouts in 35 regular-season games (28 starts) and was 0-1 with a 4.57 GAA and .837 save percentage in two playoff games.

 

Coaches

Barry Trotz, coach: Hired May 26, 2014, Trotz became the 17th coach in Capitals history after coaching the Nashville Predators for 15 seasons. The 55-year-old ranks fifth in NHL regular-season wins (762).

Todd Reirden, associate coach: Hired June 25, 2014, finished his second season as associate and fourth with the Capitals. Reirden previously spent four seasons as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Blaine Forsythe, assistant coach: Hired prior to the 2006-07 season as a video coach, Forsythe has spent nine seasons as assistant coach.

Lane Lambert, assistant coach: Hired June 27, 2014, Lambert finished his fourth season as assistant coach. Prior to joining them, he spent three seasons as an assistant with the Predators.

Scott Murray, goaltending coach: Hired prior to this season after spending the previous four seasons with their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey.

 

General manager

Brian MacLellan: Promoted to GM on May 26, 2014, MacLellan finished his16th season with the Capitals, having previously been assistant general manager.

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