Caps Look for More Late Draft Success

McPhee has a history of finding value outside top 20 picks

June 24, 2013

The 2013 NHL draft is Sunday and the Capitals find themselves in a familiar position with their first selection in the bottom third of the first round at No. 23.

This summer’s prospect pool is expected to be deep with talent, particularly at the center and defense positions.

“We certainly have our views on the draft and our scouts have done a lot of work obviously,” said general manager George McPhee, who declined to discuss specifics about the Capitals’ draft process Monday. “[We] have a way that we like to approach the draft, and we’ll approach it that way.”

Recently, the Capitals have had success picking in the latter stages of the first round, selecting top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov (2010), forward Marcus Johansson (2009) and defensemen John Carlson (2008) and Mike Green (2004) within the final 10 picks of the first round.

According to McPhee, at that point in the draft, the Capitals try to strike a balance between filling an organizational need and simply selecting the best player available, regardless of position.

There is also the possibility of trading the pick to either move up in the draft or to acquire other assets. McPhee said Monday that “there may be more activity in this one than other drafts” as teams scramble to fit under the new salary cap, which will drop from $70.2 million to $64.3 million next season.

Washington has made trades at each of the past five drafts.

McPhee said he has spoken to “a lot” of other general managers over the past few days to “figure out what they want to do at the draft [and] what they want to do in general.”

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