Draft 2007: A Filling Stable Leads to a Deference for the Future

Cup'pa JoeIn the days immediately following the 2006 Entry Draft the Caps commonly earned exceptionally high evaluations for their work in Vancouver. The grade range generally ran from ‘A+’ to ‘A.’ The success of their 2007 draft, however, is inextricably linked to 2008’s, in light of George McPhee’s preference to defer selecting at times Friday night and Saturday†in favor of†acquiring picks†for next June.
There were compelling reasons for the Caps to acquire additional picks for the 2008 draft. For one, it’s light-years better in terms of high-end†quality and overall depth. But just as importantly, there’s a bit of a glut of strong prospects crowding the Caps’ organization these days. Since 2002, the Caps have drafted 12 players in the first round. Twelve. They’ve added eight second-rounders in that time, too. This morning, it’s difficult to point to a single one of these 20 high-enders and pronounce him “bust.”
That’s the good news. But beginning this very weekend†Caps’ management has some difficult decisions to make in terms of committing next season to the likes of Jacub Klepis and†Tomas Fleischmann.†Qualifying offers come due then, and as they impact 2002 picks, it’s that portion of prom when the band strikes up the slow song. To dance or not to dance?
Or you could call†it the 5-year itch.††
Some of these high-enders will make the Caps this fall. The rest need a place in the organization to play. (Only a couple, you’d think, could and would be packaged†in a trade or two.)
The past couple of years, I’ve thought about how many European prospects the Caps have who’ve yet to make a commitment to playing in North America. (There are some good ones over there, too.) But even that’s changing; early in this offseason the Caps inked Josef Boumedienne and Sami Lepisto.
With training camps in 2005 and 2006 the Caps brought in a conspicuous number of tier II and III free agents to address the organization’s lack of quality depth. But this September, there will be a far more†organic quality to the 60 or 70 skaters at Kettler Capitals, the likes of which Caps’ fans have never seen.
We may well see all 20 of those first- and second-rounders from the past five drafts then. We will likely see all of the collegiate free agents the Caps have inked the past couple of springs. We will see some fresh faces from Europe. And most exciting, from my vantage, will be the appearance of late-round draft gems like Andrew Gordon, Travis Morin, Viktor Dovgan, Mathieu Perreault, and Andrew Joudrey, all of whom possess viable pro hockey aspirations.
A preview of this our-guys-on-the-ice aura arrives in two weeks’ time at Kettler, with the Caps’ July Rookie Development Camp. Fans understandably are preoccupied with the end-game results from†early October through April, but the foundation for a durable rebuild requires reliably successful†drafting and development. The drafting work appears to be working well; the development aspect is more in question, as the Caps, beginning this fall, need to see some Hershey Bears graduate and make a positive impact on the parent roster — guys like Dave Steckel, Mike Green, Klepis and or Flash.
The Caps left Columbus with more high-value assets — three from the first two rounds. One, though (Alzner), may step into the big league soon, and another (Ted Ruth) can be stashed on a university campus, if need be, for four years. It was a savvy and sage handling†of his organization’s development blueprint by George McPhee. ††

This entry was posted in College Hockey, DraftGeek, Entry Draft, Hershey Bears. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Draft 2007: A Filling Stable Leads to a Deference for the Future

  1. usiel says:

    The flashier pick at the top of the caps draft would have been gagner or voracek (hey I like Offense!) but landing Alzner I’m really warming up to.
    Love the moves to land a couple of extra seconds…those could be used as potential trade value for moves this summer or if the caps are making a move to the playoffs next season and want to bring in some help at the deadline. Or lastly next June they could be used to move up in a high quality draft.

  2. Rage says:

    So, uh, you think they did pretty okay?

  3. Andrew says:

    I really like the stable of D prospects GMGM has amassed. If anything has been demonstrated, the time and committment it takes to develop the resources properly makes the quantity hard to dismiss.
    I also like the NCAA as a place to stash prospects for 2-4 years. Look at Joudrey…wore a C in his senior year, won an NCAA crown, and got four years under Coach Eaves. He contributed right away for Hershey down the stretch as well.
    I like.

  4. Andrew – you make an astute observation about Joudrey. Members of the Bears’ organization have told me they love him, and while he enjoyed only a handful of shifts late in the postseason, I saw him make stuff happen almost every time out. He had modest offensive numbers with the Badgers, but the more I see of him more I become convinced that his is very much an all-around game. And great leadership potential, too, as you pointed out.

  5. exwhaler says:

    Andrew Gordon also had the NCAA experience, and didn’t McPhee make some noise about him getting a legit chance at a RW spot this year? Given his senior season, I can believe it.
    On a message board, somebody suggested the possiblity of McPhee amassing the 2008 second rounders because he may be shopping the Caps’ first round 2008 pick for a veteran trade. That could be interesting….

  6. Shmee says:

    Its really exciting to know that we will get a chance to glimpse some of the talent that has been in development during the rebuilding phase. No doubt, good scouting, drafting (especially in later rounds, which have produced guys quality depth guys like Mike Fisher) and development are a cornerstone of building a solid club that is long term contender.

  7. odessa steps says:

    Bill Simmons makes every obvious joke about the NHL Draft today.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/070625

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