Caps Add Godfrey, 2008 Selections
Sunday, June 24, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 23 -- Josh Godfrey, ranked the No. 141 North American skater by NHL central scouting, didn't make plans to attend this weekend's NHL entry draft until about three weeks ago.
But the 19-year-old defenseman from Ontario is glad he made the journey to Nationwide Arena on Saturday, because the Washington Capitals selected him in the second round, 34th overall -- much earlier than he had anticipated.
"Originally I wasn't going to come down," Godfrey said. "But a lot more teams started getting interested, so I decided to bring my parents and enjoy the weekend."
Godfrey went undrafted last season but was familiar to the Capitals, who had invited him to last summer's development camp in Hershey, Pa. Though he was unable to participate because of a knee injury, the club kept an eye on him.
Godfrey then solidified his standing as a sleeper pick -- Montreal, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Toronto, Atlanta and the New York Islanders also expressed interest late -- after he tallied 24 goals and 33 assists for Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2006-07 regular season.
His best asset is likely his slap shot, which, he said, has been clocked at 99 mph. He's also been selected to represent Canada in the Canada/Russia Super Series, an eight-game tournament featuring some of the top under-20 players from the two nations later this summer.
Moments after Godfrey was selected, General Manager George McPhee traded down, sending the 41st pick to Philadelphia for the 84th pick and the Flyers' second-round draft pick in next year's draft, which is expected to feature a deeper pool of talent. The Capitals also acquired a 2008 second-round selection on Friday in a trade with San Jose.
"We added a lot of picks for next year's draft, which is supposed to be a terrific draft," McPhee said. "It's ammunition that can be used in trades."
Defenseman Ted Ruth was selected with the 46th overall pick. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound product of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program was the third consecutive defenseman chosen by the Capitals and the 14th defenseman since 2004. Eight of those players were drafted in the first two rounds.
Washington also selected Phil DeSimone, the U.S. Hockey League player of the year, five more forwards and a goaltender. All 10 picks were North Americans. League-wide, 165 of the 211 players selected were born in either Canada or the United States.
Although the Capitals did not trade for any NHL-caliber talent this weekend, as some had speculated they might, the summer is just getting started, McPhee cautioned. Free agency begins next Sunday and the club is expected to be active.
"I'll say hello to the family tomorrow," McPhee said, "And then get right back at it."