Saturday, June 23, 2007

What They're Saying: The Caps' 2007 Draft

With ten picks in this weekend'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), and a collection of comments on the Caps' 2007 Draft generally (and the draftees specifically) from around the hockey world. Check back often, as this post will be updated as needed.

In General

The Good
In Karl Alzner (fifth overall), the Caps got the consensus best defenseman at the draft. They used all three of their picks in the top 46 to snag rearguards, shoring up that position for years to come.

The Bad
Their second-round pick (34th overall), defenseman Josh Godfrey, is very one-dimensional. Every team needs a power-play quarterback, but Godfrey cannot be a defensive liability in the NHL.

Worth Noting
Drafting high-school kids is always a boom-or-bust endeavor, but the Caps did it at the right time. They used their last two picks on them. Center Nick Larson was selected 185th overall and left wing Andrew Glass was chosen 199th. Larson in particular has a ton of offensive potential; it just needs to be seen against stronger competition. - Forecaster
In the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals continued to look towards North American defenders, with some gifted forwards later on. Character and leadership were the common denominators among them. The Capitals also traded down a number of times to gain extra draft picks in what is expected to be a very strong 2008 draft. - Hockey's Future
Karl Alzner, D (1st round, 5th overall):

No question about it, Calgary's Karl Alzner is the consensus top-ranked defenceman this year and if he's not the first defenceman chosen in the draft, it's going to come as a surprise to many. But having said that, the praise for the rangy blueliner is somewhat muted. That's because he's not really a high-end offensive defenceman, nor is he a big, physical bruiser or a defensive presence. "He's one of those guys who does everything pretty well, but nothing is necessarily excellent or over the top," one scout said. Alzner is described by some a true modern-day defenceman, whose ability to play strong positionally and whose stick-on-puck, stick-on-stick game is good. He also gets shots through from the point. While the odd scout has Alzner outside of the top 10, most have him there solidly, if not in the top five, and we know of at least two teams who rate him as the third best player available in this draft. - TSN
A skilled stay-at-home defenseman with good skating ability. Is calm under pressure and composed with the puck. Has good positioning and reads the play well. Has a strong shot from the point. Wins battles along the boards and in his own zone. Needs to improve his acceleration and his ability to change tempo throughout the game. - NHL Central Scouting
Alzner has emerged as a legitimate top 5 candidate for the 2007 NHL Entry draft. A tremendous World Junior camp got him named to the team. He was the seventh d-man. The quiet type who continues to make the difficult plays look easy. He is noted for his outstanding poise and ability to make plays in each zone. He is very skilled and handles the puck with confidence. Would like to see him take more risks offensively and carry the puck but rarely chooses to do so. Is capable of playing physical but needs to demonstrate this on a more regular basis. Overall, an outstanding, well-rounded player who is a definite leader for Calgary. - ISS
He’s quite capable of generating offence as his statistics will testify. Eight goals and 39 assists in 63 games this season easily surpassed his total from his sophomore season. He just doesn’t like to gamble, a trait that is sure to endear him to any of his future coaches. - ISS
He comes with a lot less fanfare than [last year's #1 pick overall, defenseman Erik] Johnson, but Alzner has the makings of a quality top-four defenseman at the NHL level.... Alzner's poise with and without the puck is an attribute that stands out above the crowd.... He has been compared to the likes of Ottawa Senators defenseman Wade Redden for his smooth ability from the back end, though Alzner projects as a more physical, less productive version. He's going to be a good one. - The Hockey News
This year's blue line brigade boasts one high-end talent in Karl Alzner... He brings size, intelligence and a calm presence on the blue line. He ranks right up with Mark Katic as the best passing defensemen in the draft — Alzner's crisp outlets are always right on the tape and he sees the ice very well. He's the type of guy you can safely pencil in as a first pairing d-man for the next 10-12 years.- Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report
He’s a big, mobile, two-way defenseman and rock solid on both ends of the ice. - Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren
He’s a big defenseman who is a good skater and has a good head on his shoulders. He thinks the game through very well. He can move the puck, and is a good, solid two-way defenseman. He has some offense in his game and is going to be a big solid blueliner. The only question is, what is his top end and how high is he going to get? He’s going to play because he’s smart, mobile and has a good stick. He’s a very solid prospect. - Philadelphia Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor
Alzner is a very polished skater, and he plays a very solid, sound game. There's not a lot of risk with the game he plays. You'd like to see him work that out more in the junior ranks -- to take a few chances, push his envelope a little bit -- but he's just not that kind of player. - Anonymous NHL Scout
I don't know if he's going to be a star in the NHL. But I'd bet a lot of money that he's going to have a long career in the NHL. - Anonymous NHL Scout
[C]learly the top defender in this year's class because of the completeness of his game and the general assurance he will become a very good NHL defenseman without much "bust" potential. He understands the game and does all things very well, thus should be a very high pick. - ESPN
In Alzner, the Capitals have not just a potential No. 1 defender of the future, but someone who could easily become a fan favorite in the years to come. - Hockey's Future
Josh Godfrey, D (2nd round, 34th overall)
[T]he best PP triggerman in the OHL this season with an absolute cannon shot. - Red Line Report
[T]he best in the OHL when it comes to accurately slapping a rubber saucer. - Osprey News Network
Ted Ruth, D (2nd round, 46th overall)
Any team interested in drafting him in June knows they will be getting a character player that has a good chance of developing into a vital asset for the franchise. -
[Q]uick skating, finesse puck mover - Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report
A stay-at-home defenseman with good mobility. Has a good wrist shot from the point that gets through to the net. Plays the body hard and hits with authority. Quick to get to the puck in the corner and strong one-on-one. - NHL Central Scouting
Ruth's character is off the charts. Ruth possesses all of the necessary skills to become an NHL defenseman, but we believe his work ethic and leadership are what will guarantee his success in the NHL. - ESPN
Brett Bruneteau, C (4th round, 108th overall)
[A]n underrated scorer - Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report
Dan Dunn, G (6th round, 154th overall)
Dunn is already 19 years old and still playing Tier II in the OPJHL, but has plenty of athleticism and good reflexes. - Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report
Nick Larson, C (7th round, 185th overall)
He's raw, but has a lot of great tools that he's just learning how to harness. Could make a very rapid ascension up the charts if he accelerates the learning curve. - Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report


Tyler said...

Per Tarik, the young Round One defenseman's new nickname is: Cookie.

Rage said...

That makes a princess, and a muffins, and now a cookie. This is potentially amazing/awful.

NS said...

anyone else think the draft was a complete friggin train wreck for the Caps??

JP said...

I don't (but there are certainly plenty of people who think that - check the Caps Message Board).

It's not a draft that gives you much to get overly excited about, but a) you can never have too many good young defensemen and b) they accumulated picks for next year's draft, which is MUCH stronger than this year's.

It was a patient draft and presumably part of the big picture game plan.

Anonymous said...

it definitely wasnt a train wreck in the sense that they picked a solid dman that will anchor the team for years to come and hopefully will be starting a year from now, which means he would be contributing sooner than any other player from this years draft with the exception of maybe kane.
there were no expectations going into the draft in terms of
improving the team for next year, except for the possibility of a trade for a starter, which many were hoping for, including myself, and when that didnt happen it was a small let down. I think terms like 'train wreck' need to be reserved for another week or so, but i am very nervous that nothing (good)is going to happen.

NS said...

No doubt, Azner seems to be a good pick, but do you think it was worth taking him over a player like Gagner? Hopefully when I see Azner in action, i will be proven wrong. I always tend to favor forwards...

Maybe those two 2008 second rounders they received can give them some leverage to trade up to a first round pick as well? who knows. i just couldnt help but feel dissapointed after the draft.

as anonymous noted, i am nervous that nothing good is going to happen in FA. They will either pay WAY too much for someone or just get another player that will have no impact on the team. Seems like it will be very hard to get the players they need if they couldn't get it with a draft day trade.

nonetheless, i hope GMGM and the Caps prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

Considering we got players like Seabrook, Neuvirth, and Bouchard in the 2nd rounds, those 2nd round picks are nothing to laugh over. We could easily get some nice studs next year with those picks, or use them as trade pieces this year. A lot of people don't realize that for every Esposito and Aliu, there can be twice as many next year w/o all the question marks.

Doogie said... sounds familiar. Any relation, I wonder?

Doogie said...

Oh, and Alzner is going to be a solid guy for the Caps down the line. I've seen enough of him here in Calgary to approve of this selection.

JP said...

It's his grandfather's brother (check out the next post!). :)

Doogie said...

Dammit, you beat me to it. I was just going to delete that comment because I saw the next post.

Anonymous said...

I knew you would delete my post, I guess you don't employ freedom of speech except only when it's comes to yourself!!! When you make unfounded comments on players that you have never seen before!!!

JP said...

Actually, I deleted your comment because it was the single stupidest comment ever made on this blog.

I was hoping you'd come back, see that your comment had been deleted, stop and wonder why, and then realize that it was because not a single word of the analysis in this post was my original thought and that this post was merely a collection of other people's takes on the Caps draft, as indicated by the attributing links at the end of each pull quote.

Therefore, you'd say to yourself, "Gee, J.P. really saved me from the internal embarassment of knowing that the whole world could see the idiocy I posted when I wrote 'To say Godfrey was the BAD of the draft actually shows that you no jack sh*t about what you talking about. Even in the summer camp he proved his critics wrong again!! Considering he had new skates not broken in & had been off the ice for 3 months. He will prove you Jasper & NHL central scouting wrong. His #s speak for them self +- of -2 for 68 games doesn't make him a defencive liability. Give your head a shake and give the kid the benefit of doubt.' I should really thank J.P. What a guy."

But I guess I was hoping for too much.

jr said...

I have recently read some of your other comments since and it seems that you have changed your mind on some of the 2007 draft. From what I saw at the summer camp the Caps future looks very promising. Yes it was stupidity on my behalf,sorry about the previous posts.
Thanks JP

JP said...

Kudos for owning up to it - and for ditching "anonymous." Hope you hang around.

My main point, though, was that none of the stuff in this post is my opinion - it's just a collection of quotes from around the web. The quote you referred to, for example, was from Forecaster.