The Washington Capitals’ offseason so far has been a roller coaster, the kind that climbed the peak when Alex Ovechkin hoisted the Stanley Cup and crashed when coach Barry Trotz, now directing the New York Islanders, announced his resignation 11 days later.
While it hasnt been announced who will take the helm, the Capitals must nonetheless look forward, and there’s no better time than Friday night to do just that.
As the Stanley Cup champions, the Caps must wait until the 31st pick of the first round to make a selection. One of their more immediate concerns could be manning the blue line with fresh talent — Washington ranked 16th in goals against per game in 2017-18, for instance — and have a wide defensive pool to fish from, including 18-year-old Bode Wilde, who decommitted from Michigan on Monday, and Jett Woo, who would be the NHL’s first first-round pick of Chinese descent.
While their most prized Russian gem, Ovechkin, was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, the Capitals have had luck picking low. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had 12 goals and 20 assists in this season’s playoffs, was selected as the 26th overall pick in 2010; defenseman John Carlson (68 points this season) was picked 27th in 2008; and Braden Holtby, responsible for “The Save” that salvaged the Capitals’ win in Game 2 of the finals, wasn’t chosen until the fourth round as No. 93 in 2008.
How to watch the draft
Day: First round, Friday; rounds 2-7: Saturday
Site: American Airlines Center, Dallas
Pre-draft coverage: NBCSN, Friday, 7 p.m.
Draft coverage: NBCSN, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; NHLN, Saturday, 11 a.m.
Stream: NBCSports.com or NBCSports app
5. Arizona Coyotes
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. New York Islanders
12. New York Islanders (from Calgary Flames)
13. Dallas Stars
15. Florida Panthers
16. Colorado Avalanche
19. Philadelphia Flyers
20. Los Angeles Kings
21. San Jose Sharks
22. Ottawa Senators (from Pittsburgh Penguins)
23. Anaheim Ducks
24. Minnesota Wild
26. New York Rangers (from Boston Bruins)
27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Nashville Predators)
28. New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay Lightning)
29. St. Louis Blues (from Winnipeg Jets)
30. Detroit Red Wings (from Vegas Golden Knights)
31. Washington Capitals