Sunday, June 25, 2006

Recapping The Caps' Draft: Backstrom In Blackstrom (Or, If You Prefer, Baby's Got Backstrom)

With five of the first 52 picks in Saturday's NHL Entry Draft, the Caps were a busy bunch. Below is a recap of who they picked (click on the image to enlarge it), a profile of each player (where available) and any related buzz about the pick. This page will be updated as I find new material.

Forecaster has a brief synopsis of each pick here.

Nicklas Backstrom
, C (1st pick, 4th overall):
The Washington Capitals today selected center Nicklas Backstrom with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. The selection is the club’s 10th first-round selection in the last five years (2002-06).

A 6-foot, 183-pound Gavle, Sweden native, Backstrom played both junior and senior hockey with Brynas in the Swedish league in 2004-05 and was named best forward on Bryans in 2005-06. He was also named best forward on Swedish Under-20 at the World Junior Championships and named rookie of the year in the Swedish league in 2005-06.

Central Scouting reports that Backstrom is good offensive talent, an excellent playmaker and passer. He is a good offensive talent, an excellent playmaker and passer and has an incredible hockey sense and hands. Scouts have likened Backstrom’s style to fellow Swedish player Peter Forsberg. -
For more on Backstrom:
  • The WaPo has a recap of the entire draft here, with a focus on Backstrom.
  • McKeen's Hockey had Backstrom ranked second overall in this year's draft class.
  • Hockey's Future's profile of Backstrom is here.
  • Forecaster has an in-depth profile here.
  • NHLDraftNET's profile is here.
  • had Backstrom ranked fifth overall, and has a brief profile here. Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy is a great player and the sky's the limit. Scouts say he compares well to Peter Forsberg."
  • New England Hockey Journal has a piece on Backstrom here.
  • There's some video on Backstrom here.
  • Finally,'s chat with some of last night's first-rounders is here, and has a few questions that Nick fielded.
Semen Varlamov, G (2nd pick, 23rd overall):
The Washington Capitals selected goaltender Semen Varlamov (SEH-minh VAHR-luh-mahv) in the first round, 23rd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.

Varlamov, 18, played in 33 games for Yaroslavl 2 of the Russian-3 league in 2005-06, posting a 1.81 goals-against average and eight shutouts. He was selected as best goaltender at the Under-18 Five Nations Tournament in 2006. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 183-pound Somora, , native was ranked second among all goaltenders by NHL’s Central Scouting. Varlamov is the first Russian goaltender to be taken in the first round since Boston’s Evgeni Ryabchikov in 1994. -
For more on Varlamov:
  • McKeen's Hockey had Varlamov ranked 39th overall.
  • Hockey's Future's profile is here.
  • NHLDraftNET notes that "[t]he Caps are really excited about this goalies potential, especially after Ovechkin said, 'He's one of the better goalies I have ever faced.'"
  • had Varlamov ranked 20th overall, and has a brief profile here. Bob McKenzie's take: "He's not a prototypical Russian goalie - with his agility and athleticism, this guy has the ability to steal games."
Michal Neuvirth, G (3rd pick, 34th overall):
Neuvirth, 18, played in 45 games in 2005-06 for Sparta Junior of the Czech Junior league and posted a 2.02 goals-against average. The 6-foot, 174-pound Usti Labem, , native was ranked fourth among goaltenders by Central Scouting and was reported as “a consistent, cool goaltender under pressure and has quick reflexes.” -
For more on Neuvirth:
Francois Bouchard, RW (4th pick, 35th overall):
Bouchard, 18, was Baie Comeau’s first pick, 20th overall, in the 2004 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft. In 2005-06, he posted 102 points (33 goals, 69 assists) in 69 games for Baie Comeau and was selected to the 2005-06 QMJHL All-Star Game for the Canada-Russia Challenge. The Capitals acquired the 35th overall pick in the 2006 Entry Draft from Boston along with Boston’s fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2005 Entry Draft (Patrick McNeill) in exchange for Michael Nylander, March 4, 2004. -
For more on Bouchard:
Keith Seabrook, D (5th pick, 52nd overall):
Seabrook, 17, played in 58 games for Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2004-05, recording eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points, and posted 70 penalty minutes and was the Express’ rookie of the year. He posted 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) and 81 penalty minutes in 2005-06 and was a member of the Express’ 2005-06 Canadian Junior A championship team. He will attend the University of Denver this fall. The Capitals had two picks in the first round and five picks in the first two rounds, more than any other team. -
For more on Seabrook:
Oskar Osala, LW (6th pick, 97th overall):
[Hat tip to Eric at OffWing and Buttercup, for some of the above links]

No comments: