SI.com's Allan Muir has a list
of fifteen "where's-he-been guys, the last-chancers, the longshots, the dark horses and the no-names who could be big names before too long if things go their way," and two Caps make his list:
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.
I would be AOK with Bouchard spending one more year tearing it up in the Q. (Go Viking Ship!) If he's ready to play in Washington, then by all means, but it's not imperative that he make the big leagues right out of the gate.
Pokuluk, on the other hand, I still dither on. I wasn't happy about that pick when we made it and I'm still not happy about it. I have no idea what to expect from him because I've never seen him play. I have no idea what "reasonable expectations" are.
I think one reasonable expectation would be that he could use a year in the AHL. I cannot see him making the team.
As for Bouchard, as much as I like what I've seen from him (granted, none of it has been with or against NHL talent), it just makes more sense from a contract management standpoint to send him back to juniors unless he really impresses.
So you weren't happy when they made the pick and still aren't happy about it. But you've never seen him play. Makes sense.
I am convinced that Muir gets all his Caps news/insight from the Post and the Times. Muir hasn't been at rookie camp as far as I (or anyone else I've talked to) know, and yet, he somehow knows that Pokulok has been impressive in rookie camp. Reminds me a lot of when he wrote about Semin being a flake a few days after Tarik wrote about it last season.
Not that it really has to do with anything.
- Empty Maybe
Well, at least Muir's paying attention, it seems, because the Caps get no love (read: media ink) from ANYBODY.
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