Over the last 15 years, the Washington Capitals have amassed 21 first-round draft picks. Count ‘em, 21. Most of which are still with the team, others traded for other picks and considerations.
They could have made some better moves, but it goes to show first round picks success is a numbers game. The more you have, the better chances you have of landing a star. Despite their lack of post-season success, the Washington Capitals are one of the few teams who have made excellent long-term NHL picks and stuck with them.
2000 Entry Draft, Pick #26: Brian Sutherby
Sutherby ended up being more of a grinder and lower line player than what anyone had hoped. Despite that, he found some success in the AHL and NHL during his 15 year career.
Post-Pick Picks: Justin Williams (28th), Niklas Kronwall (29th)
2002 Entry Draft, Pick #12: Steve Eminger, Pick #13: Alexander Semin, Pick #17: Boyd Gordon
A whopping 3 picks in the first round, only Semin would stand out before signing with Carolina after his contract expired. He had some great seasons in Washington, but he went for more money in 2012-13 and hasn’t seen 50 points since.
As far as the other two picks, nothing to brag about.
Post-Pick Picks: Alex Steen (24th), Cam Ward (25th), Duncan Keith (54th), Jiri Hudler (58th)
2003 Entry Draft, Pick #18: Eric Fehr
Still with the Capitals (excluding 35 games with Winnepeg), Fehr has established himself as a reliable heavy hitter and 3rd line/2nd line fill in. But with players like Getzlaf and Perry still undrafted, it really makes you wonder...
Post-Pick Picks: Ryan Getzlaf (19th), Brent Burns (20th), Ryan Kesler (23rd), Corey Perry (28th), Shea Weber (49th), Corey Crawford (52nd)
2004 Entry Draft, Pick #1: Alex Ovechkin, Pick #27: Jeff Schultz, Pick #29: Mike Green
Without a doubt, the most successful draft year for Washington that brought Ovie and Mike Green onto the ice.
2005 Entry Draft, Pick #14: Sasha Pokulok, Pick #27: Joe Finley
It’s hard to follow up after the 2004 Draft, but this one went much worse than expected. Neither player has yet to wear a Capitals or NHL jersey for that matter.
Post-Pick Picks: Tukka Rask (21st), T.J. Oshie (24th), James Neal (33rd), Paul Stastny (44th)
2006 Entry Draft, Pick #4: Nicklas Backstrom, Pick #23” Semyon Varlamov
A much better follow up to 2005, they would find the elite Center Backstrom and (at the time) reliable goalie Varlamov, who now starts for the Colorado Avalanche.
Post-Pick Picks: Patrick Berglund (25th), Nick Foligno (28th)
2007 Entry Draft, Pick #5: Karl Alzner
A pretty high pick for someone that turned out to be a grinder. Albeit reliable, there were a number of better choices avilable.
Post-Pick Picks: Jakub Voracek (7th), Logan Couture (9th), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th), PK Subban (43rd)
2008 Entry Draft, Pick #21: Anton Gustafsson, Pick #27: John Carlson
They made a solid pick with the elite defender John Carlson, but Gustafsson decided he never wanted to play hockey again and quit altogether in 2009-10.
Post-Pick Picks: Jordan Eberle (22nd), Roman Josi (28th)
2009 Entry Draft, Pick #24: Marcus Johansson
Another player still with the Capitals, Johansson is a relibale 2nd line player. There wasn’t an abundance of talent in this draft after the Top-10, but Washington made a solid choice.
Post-Pick Picks: Kyle Palmieri (26th), Simon Despres (30th)
2010 Entry Draft, Pick #26: Evgeny Kuznetsov
Kuzi made his full-season debut in 2014-15, scoring 11 goals and 26 assists in 80 games and 7 points in 14 playoff games. He’s only 23 years old, but developing into a solid player.
Post-Pick Picks: Juston Faulk (37th)
2012 Entry Draft, Pick #11: Filip Forsberg, Pick #16: Tom Wilson
Unfortunately for Washington, they didn’t give Forsberg a chance in the NHL before trading him to Nashville for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Forsberg would then have a killer season with the Predators and make all of the Washington management facepalm each other.
Wilson, still with the team, is another solid bottom 6 player.... but makes you wish it was him going and not Forsberg.
Post-Pick Picks: Tomas Hertl (17th), Olli Maata (22nd), Tanner Pearson (30th)
2013 Entry Draft, Pick #23: Andre Burakowsky
Scoring 9 goals and 13 asststs in 53 games, he’s yet another bottom-6 player the Capitals seem to have an abundance of. But another talent-lacking year, anything taken after the Top 5 didn’t have high expectations either.
Post-Pick Picks: None after the Top 5.