Steve Scheifele is an expatriate, of sorts.

The 18-year-old, whose family lives in Greenbelt, Md., spent this past school year playing Junior B hockey in Stratford, Ontario, and the 6-foot, 185-pound right wing may be one of the players selected when the National Hockey League conducts its draft today.

Scheifele attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School for grades 9 to 11 before leaving home to find better competition. If he is drafted, it is believed he will be the first Washington-area player to be so selected.

"It was a chance to get scouted by college and pro teams and to get more ice time," Scheifele said by phone from Stratford. "It also meant living away from home. But ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to live in Canada and play hockey."

In 40 games this past season, Scheifele scored 41 goals and had 39 assists for 80 points. He also had 84 penalty minutes.

Next fall, he will attend Boston College on a hockey scholarship, and some time down the line he wants to play in the NHL.

"I'd like to play in the NHL, but I'd like to make sure I'm ready," Scheifele said. "If that's after two or three years, or after graduation, I don't know. I'll just play it by ear, work hard and see what happens."

And for whom would he like to play?

"The team that wants me the most," he said. "I wouldn't mind playing for Washington because I did grow up watching them. I went to a lot of games ever since I started playing at age 10 ."

Jack Button, the Capitals' director of player personnel and recruitment, said he is "almost positive" Scheifele will be drafted.

"Because of expansion, first in 1967 and then in subsequent years, to cities like Washington, we've developed more kids from more unlikely places," said Button. "But they can't stay at home because of the competition.

"Steve has paid the price, having gone away from home to get better competition," Button said. "We've watched him at Stratford, and we know him fairly well from playing at our school last summer. He'll also be there this summer. We have him rated at a certain spot, and if he's available in that area, we'd be delighted to have him."