Saturday, June 21, 2008

Notes from Day One

Some notes about the first round…

- In 2004 (the last draft before the lockout), one player was drafted in the first round who was shorter than 6’0” (Rob Schremp, 25th overall to Edmonton)…last night, seven sub-six players were drafted.

- In 2004, 16 players under 200 pounds were selected, last night…20. However, where in 2004 no players under 175 pounds were taken, last night there were six players under 175 taken, and three (including top pick Steven Stamkos, plus Mattias Tedenby and Zach Boychuk) barely cleared the bar.

- On the other side, in 2004 nine players taller than 6’2” were selected; last night – six. And, while in 2004 there were 12 players more than 200 pounds selected, last night there were ten.

- In 2004, two…count ‘em, two (Wojtek Wolski and Schremp) were picked out of the OHL. Last night…11 players were picked from the OHL, including the first four picks.

- In 2004, seven centers were selected in the first round. Last night, twelve. Conversely, there were nine defensemen picked in the first round in 2004, last night there were 12.

- The United States was a constant in representation in the first round – six Americans were taken in 2004, six last night. Even for all the talk about the Russians and the uncertainty about their status this year, there were three Russians taken in 2004 (including the top two picks), two last night. It was the rest of Europe that took it in the teeth, compared to that 2004 draft:

- The big difference between the years was in trades. In 2004, with labor uncertainty hanging over the proceedings, only six deals were made in two days. Last night there were fourteen trades made in the first round involving 18 teams. Three teams – Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Nashville – made three trades apiece.

- This is the fifth year in the last seven that the Caps had multiple picks in the first round (last night’s second pick coming by virtue of a trade with Philadelphia, where the Caps parted with Steve Eminger and the 84th overall pick in this draft to get the 27th overall pick). With those picks, the Caps have now selected:

2002: Steve Eminger, Alexander Semin, Boyd Gordon
2004: Alex Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz, Mike Green
2005: Sasha Pokulok, Joe Finley
2006: Nicklas Backstrom, Simeon Varlamov
2008: Anton Gustafsson, John Carlson

- This is only the sixth time that the Caps have taken a center with their first pick. The list…

1978: Ryan Walter
1981: Bobby Carpenter
1999: Kris Beech
2000: Brian Sutherby
2006: Nicklas Backstrom
2008: Anton Gustafsson

Two of the previous five logged more than 1,000 NHL games, and only one has played less than 198 games (Nicklas Backstrom…we think he’ll pass that mark before too long).

And, if you’re wondering about Bengt – Anton’s father – he was a fourth round pick of the Caps (55th overall) in the 1978 amateur draft, the Caps’ seventh selection in that draft.

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