You know what they say about October – beautiful fall weather starts to set in, football is in full swing, spooky szn, pumpkin spice this that and the other, my birthday month (hint hint) and the start of the NHL
season draft. That’s right baby, the NHL draft, the best young guns from around the world are about to have their NHL dreams realized. This blog will be a recap of the entire Capitals draft where we’ll be breaking down each Caps pick in order. Now, the Caps haven’t really had a high draft pick in quite a few years because we’ve been a wagon for the past decade. BUT HEY, don’t let that bum you out and think we won’t ever get any good players cause we’re always picking in the 20’s. History goes to show we’ve picked some studs, just take a look for yourself below.
Sammy Saves, Burky our baby, KUZZZZZZ the Birdman, MoJo (what a legend), Johnny and Mikey
Norris, and more. So hey, you never know. Now, let’s take a look at what we got here in terms of picks. 24th overall in the first round, but no second round pick?! That’s right, cause it’s sitting in the pocket of the San Jose GM that they got from us in the Brenden Dillon trade. Last year we took McMichael at 25, and the hype is still very high for him, so curious to see how this years pick compares. Let’s take a look at the Caps draft order (barring any in-draft trades), and start breaking down these picks.
Round 1: Pick 22 – Hendrix Lapierre
Postion – Center
Previous Team – Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
Stats – 2G-15A–17PTS in 19 GP
Andddd we’ve got a trade baby! You gotta think the war room saw someone they really liked and were scared to let said player slip away just to move up two spots as the Caps traded their 24th and 80th pick to Calgary for the 22nd pick in the draft and the QMJHL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018-19. Bobby Mack’s “#1 wild card” of the draft, due to the medical history. Concussions in Feb of ’19, Oct ’19, and Nov ’19, then was diagnosed with CCTI in February earlier this year. But hey, the Caps teams doctors obviously got to take a look at the kid and feel confident enough to trade up and take him. Lapierre got compared to Kuzy during the draft, which is super interesting, as they mentioned his awareness in tight, a playmaker, and hell of a passer, but also shy in driving the net and getting greasy. Don’t get me wrong, everything i’m seeing and hearing about the kid is great, and he can be an unreal talent. And luckily, having centers in the likes of Backstrom, Kuzy, and Eller, we are in absolutely no rush to get him into the lineup and he can truly develop in the organization. Here’s a GREAT story by Scott Wheeler from the Athletic, where he deep dives the full story on Hendrix.
Round 4: Pick 117 – Bogdan Trineyev
Position – Right Wing
Previous Team – MHC Dynamo Moscow
Stats – 12G-14A–26PTS in 36 GP
MORE RUSSIANS BABY, MORE RUSSIANS. Someone break out the vodka and let’s welcome this young stud to the District (whenever he actually joins the organization). Per Samantha Pell, Trineyev expected to be drafted by the Caps in the 4th round after a few discussions with the team prior to the draft, and actually met Ovi last summer (cause Russia) and snagged a pic with the goat as well. Here’s a 6-3 power forward that’ll snap it home while also gridin’ it out in the dirty areas of the ice. Oh BTW, he’ll throw big hits and… wait a min, did we basically draft another Ovi?! You know, minus being the greatest goal scorer of all time and what not. Ross Martin of thedraftanalysis.com had this to say about him “Though still physically immature, Trineyev has no qualms about playing the man — especially on the forecheck — or going into the dirty areas on the ice. Additionally, he can be seen engaging opposing players after the whistle, particularly if it looks like one of his teammates was on the receiving end of a cheap shot.” Here’s a kid that’ll be a development project, and probably spend a handful of years in Hershey as there are still a lot of aspects to his game that need work, and stick handling and offensive skillsets being a big part of that. Here’s a beauty of tuck below.
Round 5: Pick 148 – Bear Hughes
Position – Center
Previous Team – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Stats – 16G-31A–47PTS in 61 GP
It’s three picks and three forwards for the Caps so far in the draft. Can you see a trend?! Bear’s real name is Cassius, but has apparently been going by Bear since he was 4 years old, and I dig the hell out of it. If I can yell at my TV one day years from now during a Caps game hollerin’ “fuckin’ rights Bear!” then i’ll be a happy fan. Here’s a kid that just two years ago was seemingly a nobody, and his name wasn’t a well known one in the hockey world, a kid who’s dad was a rink manager and would let Tyler Johnson come skate and work on his game while receiving passes from guess who, the BEAR. Tyler Johnson had the following to say about him: “He’s a rink rat. He’s a guy that’s not really gonna come out and talk, but what I really liked about working with him was, if there was anything I saw or wanted him to do, I could tell him, and he was a guy who listened to you and was very coachable. He’s a guy that once you say for him to do something, he’ll be doing it on his own time.” Gotta love a rink rat, gotta love a guy that will do what’s asked of him, gotta love a dude named Bear. He won the Rookie of the Year Award for his Spokane Chiefs, and their website had this to say about him: “His most noteworthy stretch was the month of November, when he piled up 12 points (5G-7A) and a plus-12 rating in 12 games to earn recognition from the league as the WHL Rookie of the Month. From Oct. 19 to Dec. 14, Hughes scored nine goals and 15 assists for 22 points including a season-best 6-game point streak from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3 and a career-best three-point night (3A) on Dec. 14 at Seattle.” Check out his highlights below.
Round 6: Pick 179 – Garin Bjorklund
Position – Goalie
Previous Team – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
Stats – 2.91 GAA, .897 SV% in 28 GP
A tendy get’s taken with our last pick and I know I know, you’re all thinking “some 6th round goalie?! he’ll never sniff Capital One Area!” and yea, you’re probably right, but damn give the kid a chance! Idk tho, not tooooo sure what was going on in that war room today, but like I said, they’re the guys that get paid to do it and we’re not. I didn’t see any of you out at games last year in the WHL who are bitchin’ about the pick on Twitter. Eliteprospects.com 2020 draft guide had this to say on the Caps new tendy “As a goaltender, one of the biggest keys to success is confidence, and Bjorklund has it in spades. He’s not afraid to make a snazzy glove save or toss in a pad stack just to spice things up. He’s got the agility and the toolkit. His hands are plenty active, and he’s got great conditioning. He’s got the longevity to endure even the messiest of performances in front of him.” Here are some highlights below.
Header from the Washington Capitals Twitter account