I was having a conversation, of sorts, with the always thought-provoking folks over at Japers' Rink, and the subject came around to drafting. I made a couple of points regarding the Capitals that I'll consolidate here...
There is a line of thought that if you get one player, maybe two (on average) out of each year’s draft that plays real minutes, you are probably doing pretty well. OK, so how have the Caps done in this regard?
2002: Alexander Semin, Boyd Gordon
2003: Eric Fehr
2004: Alex Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz, Mike Green
2006: Nicklas Backstrom, Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, (Mathieu Perreault in waiting)
2007: Karl Alzner
2008: John Carlson
2009: Marcus Johansson
That’s 12 roster players since 2002 (and one who might be an in-season call-up, who already has NHL experience), and only one draft that was a shutout.
But getting players to your roster is not the only object of the draft exercise. Drafted players are not just "players-in-waiting," but trading assets as well, even years after their being drafted. And here is how the Caps have been busy in that regard over recent years...
Brian Sutherby (2000) was traded for a pick that was later moved to get Cristobal Huet in 2008.
Matt Pettinger (2000) was traded for Matt Cooke in 2008.
Steve Eminger (2002 pick) was traded to Philadelphia in 2008 for a draft pick that became John Carlson.
Tim Kennedy (2005) was traded in 2005 for a pick that became Mathieu Perreault.
Oskar Osala (2006) went in the 2010 deal that brought Joe Corvo to DC.
Ted Ruth (2007) was moved in 2008 to bring Sergei Fedorov to Washington.
Stefan Della Rovere (2008) was traded for D.J. King in 2010.
This is a club that has used the draft smartly in building a roster, and not just in the most commonly thought of fashion.*
* We would appreciate it, though, if no one brought up the whole Kris Beech (1999), Michal Sivek (1999), Ross Lupaschuk (1999)-for-Jaromir Jagr trade, though.