The Washington Capitals made 10 picks in the 2012 NHL draft, more than in the past two years combined. Here’s a look at each player:
First round, No. 11 overall
Center, Leksand (Sweden)
6-foot-1¼, 188 pounds
Forsberg, ranked as the top European skater by NHL Central Scouting, fell to the Caps thanks to eight defensemen going in the top 10. He has one more year left on his contract in Sweden but will see what happens from there.
Caps director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney: “We’ve charted him now for a couple years. We thought he’d be one of the better prospects in this year’s draft. To have him fall to us we think was really good fortune for us. You looked at, the two Russian players went in the top three picks and [Ryan] Murray and then there was a real run of defenseman and Forsberg was sitting there for us. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to call his name out.”
First round, No. 16 overall
Right wing, Plymouth (Ontario Hockey League)
6-foot-3½, 205 pounds
Wilson will need some time to develop some of his raw talent, but the Caps think he can be a good all-around player eventually.
General manager George McPhee: “You can find guys that are tough, but if they can’t play, what good are they? This kid seems to be that rare combination these days of a big guy who’s tough who can play. Worst-case scenario is he plays on the fourth line, but we think, if he develops properly, he could be a third or second-line player.”
Third round, No. 77 overall
Center/left wing, Regina (Western Hockey League)
5-foot-11, 190 pounds
Stephenson is an offensive player (42 points in 55 games last season) and ex-teammate of Caps prospect Garrett Mitchell. He plans on spending more time developing in Regina.
Mahoney: “He’s a smart player and he’s got very good hands. He can score, he can move the puck, he’s a good skater and he’s a very good athlete.”
THOMAS DI PAULI
Fourth round, No. 100 overall
Center, U.S. National Team Development Program
5-foot-11, 188 pounds
Di Pauli was born in Italy but moved with his family to Illinois in seventh grade because of his hockey aspirations. He’s heading to Notre Dame next.
U.S. development program under-17 coach Danton Cole: “Tommy, he’s a warrior and just plays extremely hard. He’s a talented kid. He’s probably one of the best faceoff guys that we’ve had come through. He can play the wing a little bit, but just very tenacious. He’s the kind of kid that you win championships with. Very popular in our locker room because of how good a kid he is and how hard he works. Just really is actually one of those guys that you always say you want guys that care more about their teammates’ success than they do about themselves, that’s the kind of kid Tommy is.”
Fourth round, No. 107 overall
Right wing, Notre Dame
6-foot-1, 190 pounds
Another U.S. NTDP product, he’ll be Di Pauli’s teammate again this coming season. Like Di Pauli, he prides himself on playing responsible defensively.
Cole: “He’s a big body, real good penalty-killer. I know he got some power-play time down there, good shot, good skater. He’s a real effective player.”
Fifth round, No. 137 overall
Defenseman, U.S. National Team Development Program
5-foot-11, 185 pounds
Carrick called himself a two-way defenseman, but he has some good offensive upside. He’s off to the University of Michigan, where he said he plans on staying long enough to earn a degree.
Cole: “Really good feet, extremely strong. He’s a 5-11 guy but probably one of our stronger guys in the weight room. Moves the puck real well, and his progression over two years was great. Just a real intelligent young man and again a great, great competitor, a lot like Tommy in that sense. He’ll be a part of teams that win.”
Sixth round, No. 167 overall
Right wing, U.S. National Team Development Program
5-foot-11½, 194 pounds
Barber had 20 goals and 15 assists last season for the U.S. under-18 team and is a Pittsburgh native. He’s going to Miami (Ohio).
Cole: “He tied for leading goal-scorer on our team. He’s got a pro shot, another kid with a real high compete level and hates to lose. Just his battle level is really good. … He’s a pro winger. He gets pucks out, he understands the subtleties of the game, has a good physical aspect to his game, and he has an NHL shot. He’s a goal-scorer.”
Seventh round, No. 195 overall
Defenseman, Brynas Jr. (Sweden)
5-foot-11, 158 pounds
Son of former NHLer Per Djoos, he’ll need time to bulk up.
Mahoney: “He needs to obviously get a little bit stronger, but he’s a very intelligent player, good hands, he moves the puck well. He played in all the under-18 tournaments for the Swedish team.”
Seventh round, No. 197 overall
Defenseman, Calgary (Western Hockey League)
6-foot-4, 223 pounds
Part of the same Hitmen team that gave the Caps Karl Alzner, Rissling is big, strong and the opposite of Djoos.
Mahoney: “Jaynen is 6-4, about 223 pounds, a good skater and more of a physical player.”
Seventh round, No. 203 overall
Goaltender, Novokuznetsk 2 Jr. (Russia)
5-foot-11, 187 pounds
The Caps went off the board, actually off the NHL’s Central Scouting list, to take Kostenko. The league had to ensure he was draft eligible. It’s the second straight year Washington went with a goalie they’ve loved apparently in secret.
Mahoney: “He’s very athletic, very competitive. We have seen him before in the past. He also played well when he played with Russia’s under-20 team when they came across and did the Subway [Super] Series. He basically ended up being the third goalie on the world junior team, the under-20 team. We’ve been tracking him for three years.”