After announcing Chandler Stephenson Friday night in Pittsburgh, the Capitals waited 81 picks before George McPhee took the podium again.
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This gave Washington ample time to deliberate who would complement their draft class best. Instead of following the hype of the “best defensive draft ever,” the Capitals were one of four teams to not draft a defensemen by the time the 100th pick came around on day two.
The trend would not stop there as the Capitals selected 18-year-old forward Thomas Dipauli. The 5’11” two-way player is known for playing bigger than his size would indicate and uses his low center of gravity to his advantage on faceoffs.
The Italian born penalty kill specialist has the potential to be a third or fourth line center and scored a goal while playing for the United States’ U-18 Gold Medal Junior Champions.
He finished the year on the U-18 developmental team with 20 points in 51 games, but his defensive ability separated him from the pack. He will add some muscle to his 188-pound frame when he enrolls at Notre Dame this fall.
Fighting Irish Head Coach Jeff Jackson is excited to add a defensive minded forward to the depth chart and should help him find his offensive touch through four years at school.
Seven picks later the Capitals announced they would select a 6’1” right-winger with a blazing slap shot. Austin Wuthrich not only shoots with authority, but accurately as well notching 17 points during his freshmen campaign with Notre Dame last year. He had a plus-five rating last season and is working on his back check and defensive play to become a complete player.
The American winger fell through the cracks because of injuries and went undrafted in the 2011 draft. Regardless of the lack of hype, he was offered a scholarship to Notre Dame for his success on US developmental teams. He has decent size and does a solid job screening goalies, but like Dipauli needs to bulk up before heading to the AHL.
The two Notre Dame forwards will have three years to skate together and should have no excuse for not knowing exactly where the other is at all times on the ice. If Dipauli and Wuthrich can continue developing into all-around forwards and create some chemistry as amateur players, they may be playing on a professional line together for a very long time.
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