But here it is the day before the draft and it's time to cram. To help us all, I've taken the list of mock drafts from over at DC Pro Sports Reports (with one or two additions), seen who the Caps are predicted to take, and pulled some info (from TSN.ca) on those kids. Here we go (the first two players are the projected Caps pick in three mocks, the next five names in two mocks, and the rest appear as the Caps pick in one mock apiece)...
- Anton Gustafsson, C, Frolunda (Swe Jr) - Comparable: Jordan Staal.
TSN: If an NHL team is convinced the son of ex-NHLer Bengt Gustafsson is healthy, he could easily go much higher in the first round than No. 30. But the Swedish centre had significant lower back issues and his health status was a primary concern of NHL teams at the Central Scouting Combine. Those concerns could cause his stock to drop radically, but teams were doing a lot of homework on him to be sure. His X-rays and MRIs will tell as much about when he's drafted as his on-ice performance.
NHL Central Scouting: Anton is a highly skilled player with strong puckhandling skills and playmaking ability. 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.
- Colby Robak, D, Brandon (WHL) - Comparable: Joni Pitkanen.
TSN: The Brandon Wheat King defenceman has pro size and speed and skills but hasn't put them together to the satisfaction of the scouts. As a result, he finds himself as a first-round possibility -– certainly lots of potential -- but one who could easily slip into the second round amidst concerns that he's soft and won't be able to battle at the pro level unless he finds another level.
NHL Central Scouting: Robak is a smooth skating defenseman with the keen ability to skate the puck out of danger. He goes in to scrums, comes up with the puck and almost effortlessly skates it up ice; combine that with a shrewd ability to look up-ice, head-man the puck and then join the rush from behind.
- Tyler Cuma, D, Ottawa (OHL) - Comparable: Steve Staios.
The Ottawa 67 is a strong two-way defenceman with leadership ability and a willingness to compete hard at both ends of the ice.
NHL Central Scouting: Really adept at knowing when to pass the puck out of the zone or to put the wheels on and carry the puck out of the zone. He helps the Ottawa 67's power-play from the point and is really reliable. Equally adept at the defensive game.
- Greg Nemisz, C, Windsor (OHL) - Comparable: John LeClair.
TSN: A big, diligent forward with an NHL-calibre shot who protects the puck well and understands the game. But he needs to pick up his skating, add a little more energy to his game. That could mean a fall into the second round, but then they were saying all the same things about Shawn Matthias a couple of years ago.
NHL Central Scouting: Greg is a big player that goes to the net, he's not overly physical but he doesn't get knocked around either. He is good on the power-play, in the sense that he sets himself at the front of the net, he's hard to move and he bangs in a lot of rebounds from there.
- John Carlson, D, Indiana (USHL) - Comparable: Mike Komisarek.
TSN: A big, strong, hard-shooting, hard-skating defenceman who will be playing with the London Knights next season.
NHL Central Scouting: He runs the power-play from the top of the umbrella and he has a very heavy shot. He's a very self-assured kid and rightfully so -- he's a boy, yet in a man's body and very physically strong. He had all the tools – size, skill, physical presence and charisma.
- Mikhail Stefanovich, RW, Quebec (QMJHL) - Comparable: Frank Mahovolich (seriously?).
TSN: One of the true wild cards in this draft. The Belarussian teased scouts with a 32-goal performance in his rookie QMJHL season but so much was expected from the big pivot who is maddeningly inconsistent with a work ethic that is spotty at best. When he's on, he's capable of dominating but he seems to be off more than on for most scouts. He has first-round talent but an application and execution level that is nowhere near where it needs to be.
NHL Central Scouting: He's a big kid, 6'2" and 200 pounds. He has good overall skills, but needs to improve on his work ethic and his involvement if he's going to make it to the next level. When he is on his game, he is a good skater and has a great shot. He can really stickhandle but needs to show it more.
- Kirill Petrov, LW, Kazan (RusDi) - Comparable: Andrei Kostitsyn.
TSN: The Russian forward is touted as having first-round talent, but his work ethic fluctuates wildly and there is some real concern about when or if he's interested in playing in the NHL. A regular with Kazan in the Russian Super League, many scouts believe he is too comfortable, financially and otherwise, to expend a first-round pick so he could slide a long way. But if a team thought there's a realistic chance at getting him out at some point, there's no denying he's a first-round talent.
NHL Central Scouting: Displayed excellent skating and mobility as well as a solid work ethic playing on Russia's (Under-18) top line. He displays toughness in one-on-one situations and delivers smart passes creating a lot of scoring chances. He is also very physically strong.
- Evgeny Grachev, C, Yaroslavl (RUS2) - Comparable: Michal Handzus.
NHL Central Scouting: Evgeny is a power forward with a good physical presence and ability to come up with the puck in traffic areas. He displays strong puck skills and the ability to make plays all over the ice, but needs to improve his acceleration and overall speed.
- Josh Bailey, C, Windsor (OHL) - Comparable: Cory Stillman.
TSN: Regarded as a skilled playmaker, the Windsor Spitfire centre is a good, solid two-way player who is conscientious in his effort at all times although scouts would like to see a little more grit to his game.
NHL Central Scouting: Josh is the quarterback on the power-play, from down low, for the Windsor Spitfires. He is a good play-making centerman with the ability to feed his linemates when he needs to and shoot the puck when the play requires that.
- Colton Teubert, D, Regina (WHL) - Comparable: Shea Weber.
TSN: The hard-rock defenceman, who draws comparisons to Shea Weber and Adam Foote, is as competitive and feisty a player as there is in this draft. What he lacks in offensive upside, he makes up for with his ferocity and defensive prowess. He relishes the opportunity to go head-to-head with the other teams' top players. By all accounts, there is no love lost between him and Kyle Beach.
NHL Central Scouting: Colten is a smooth skating defenseman, who can skate the puck out of trouble and can jump up the ice with the puck. Has the ability to take charge of the game.
- Maxime Suave, C, Val d'Or (QMJHL) - Comparable: Simon Gagne.
TSN: The son of former NHLer J.F. Sauve has good speed and good skill, especially in the puckhandling department. A streaky player, scouts would like to see more consistency from him.
NHL Central Scouting: He is a real good skater. He was traded from Quebec to Val D'Or and he had a pretty good second half on a not very good team. Once he plays with better players he'll continue to improve, he can skate and for today's game that is the number one most important criteria. He needs to continue to work hard at getting stronger and to continue trying to improve his game to make it to the next level.
- Zak Dalpe, C, Penticton (BCHL) - Comparable: Travis Zajac.
TSN: A late bloomer who left his home in Ontario to play in the B.C. Jr. A League, Dalpe showed enough to merit some first-round consideration. Best quality is his shot but some think he is mis-cast as a centre and plays better as a hard-shooting winger.
NHL Central Scouting: He has a really quick release on his shot, he is a very busy player and he plays with a lot of energy out there. He is a player that is constantly in motion. He is offensive minded, but plays well defensively too and has made huge improvements from last year – he developed out of nowhere and had a really good year in the BCHL.
So given the brief descriptions and the comparables (and any other information you've got) and assuming the Caps sit tight and make their first pick in that #23 slot, who do you hope to see them take?