Sasha Pokuluk (Capitals): The Caps passed on a number of prospects who were held in wider esteem to take this 6-5, 230-pound blueliner 14th overall in 2005. So far the returns have been unimpressive. Pokulok lost all but 17 games last season to a pair of concussions that derailed his pro debut. The time off allowed him to get past the ill effects and he made a strong impression at rookie camp. He still has a lot to prove, however, as the Caps have loaded up on high-end blueline prospects. Pokuluk needs to establish himself after falling behind Karl Alzner, Jeff Schultz and possibly Josh Godfrey on the depth chart.
Francois Bouchard (Capitals): The leading scorer in the QMJHL last season (and the brother of Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard) was a revelation in rookie camp, and has some team officials openly pondering the possibility of a job with Washington's forward corps this fall. With veterans Chris Clark and Viktor Kozlov ahead of Bouchard, it won't be easy, but GM George McPhee has left the door open for his stickhandling wizardry.Of course, if Bouchard doesn't make the Caps, his attempt to defend his QMJHL scoring title will be one of the top stories to watch in that league.