Monday, June 23, 2008

Of Apples And The Proximity To The Trees From Which They Fall

A longtime Caps fan can't help but feel a bit nostalgic after the Caps made Anton Gustafsson their first pick, twenty-first overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, nearly thirty years to the day after the Caps selected Anton's father Bengt.

Personally, such nostalgia tends to send me straight for the white, corrugated cardboard boxes that house my hockey card collection (and to my old VHS tapes - that's Bengt at the 1:23 mark). Rooting through, I found the 1981 O-Pee-Chee gem below that included a brief description of the elder Gustafsson.

"A brilliant puckhandler for the Capitals. Bengt exhibits a graceful and fluid skating style. He's an opportunist with great finesse and uncanny hockey sense. Bengt works hard at both ends of the ice for the Capitals." [Emphasis added]

With that in mind, recall how Central Scouting's Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, described Anton pre-draft:

"Anton is a highly skilled player with strong puckhandling skills and playmaking ability. He is an effective passer through traffic who also has a good selection of shots. He's a tall, strong and talented two-way center with good vision and a fine understanding of the game. He plays a mature game even when playing against opponents who were two or three years older." [Emphasis added]

It's like déjà vu all over again, eh?

Anton's old man played 629 games in a Caps sweater and racked up 555 points along the way (good for fifth most in team history). If Gus II can produce anywhere near those numbers, it would be a most welcomed father-son similarity indeed.


JP said...

Btw, this is going to be the last of the 2008 Draft posts for a while, so if you've got anything to say on the topic, speak now or forever (for now) hold your peace... it's time to focus on this year's team.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know the Great One's stats against the Caps when Gussy was shadowing him. I seem to recall a pretty good record against those Oiler teams.

NS said...

think there's any chance Green makes it all the way to Salary Arbitration?

JP said...

I think the Green contract plays out one of two ways, NS:

1) Green signs an offer sheet, Caps match.

2) Green gets no offer sheet, comes back to the negotiating table and they get something done (this could, in theory, happen prior to July 1, as teams can negotiate with Green beginning June 26; it should be pretty clear to the player by, say, 12:01 AM on June 26 what level of interest there is in him).

Oh, and anon - I'll look into it later and see what I can find.

bigonetimer said...

clearly this draft will take a while to ripen, but I would rate the Caps' draft management 6 out of 10, owing to us getting an extra selection in the first round and holding on to the other second rounders.

Biggest "winner" of the weekend I think was Phoenix; their trade partner, Florida, I believe was the biggest "loser". I also liked what LA got done, too.

NS said...


so, Shea Weber gets 3yr/13.5mil and had significantly lower stats than Green.

6mil is looking more and more likely for Game Over Green.

JP said...

I don't know how much Weber's deal impacts Green other than to reduce the market of available young D's by one.

Weber signed for $4.5, but is widely regarded as a better player defensively than Green (at this point) and one whose season last year was significantly impacted by injuries. Don't forget, here's a kid who two seasons ago had 17G, 23A and a +13 rating (and he's just a few months older than Green).

Look at it this way, if you want to compare - Weber signed for $4.5m/year. If any team wants to sign Green to an offer sheet, they're going to have to sign him for a lot more than $4.5m (which the Caps would match in a heartbeat), and surrender compensatory picks. I'm not sure how likely that scenario is, especially if a guy like Jay Bouwmeester is an available RFA.

JP said...

@ Anon - I can't dig up Gretz's stats, but in the years in which The Great One was an Oiler and Gus a Cap (1979-80 through 1987-88), the Caps were 11-13-5 against Edmonton and gave up 123 goals (4.24 per game)

In the last season of Gus's NHL career, when Gretz was a King, the Caps were 1-1-1 against LA and gave up 13 goals (4.33 per game).

JmF said...

Let's see how many long time Caps fans are out there....How did Bengt tape his stick?