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Mahoney: Caps will take best player available

by Adam Kimelman
TORONTO -- For the fifth time in the last nine drafts, the Washington Capitals will have multiple first-round picks when the teams convene in Pittsburgh for the 2012 NHL Draft.

They have the Colorado Avalanche's choice at No. 11, and their own pick at No. 16, and Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney told that those are pretty nice places to be.

"We think we're in a good position at 11 and 16, if we maintain those picks, to pick up some good prospects," he said.

Mahoney said the GM George McPhee will listen to all options, as he does every year, and said moving up or down certainly could be an option.

"We're always willing to listen to different things that come up," he said. "You never know if you will be able to move up or move back or what the case might be. You have to see what happens with the phone calls that come to the general manager regarding trades, things like that.

"I think there's some good depth to [the draft]. You have to see how the draft is progressing and decide if there is somebody you wanted to move up [to pick], or even go the opposite way where maybe there's somebody that you're happy with and you can move back and pick up an extra pick. You have to read it as the draft is progressing."

Mahoney said the team's philosophy going into the draft is to take the best player available, and that doesn't change no matter how many picks the team has.

"We've always taken the best players available to us," he said. "We've had years where we've had three picks with [Steve] Eminger and [Boyd] Gordon and [Alexander] Semin, another time we had [Mike Green and [Jeff] Schultz and [Alex] Ovechkin, we had [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Semyon] Varlamov. Our philosophy has always been follow our list and take the best player available to us.

"I think it’s a pretty good year for all positions, especially when you're talking earlier in the draft. I think there are a lot of defensemen available, but when you're looking at the first round, there's good players at every position."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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