8. Alexander Semin, LW – Washington Capitals
Due to a playing dispute resulting from military obligations to his home country and the NHL lockout, Alexander Semin spent the last two seasons playing in the Russian Super League after an impressive rookie season with the Washington Capitals in 2003-04. His pure offensive talents from the left wing position make him an extremely valuable commodity to any NHL organization. With Ovechkin already holding down the left side on the first line, the presence of Semin on the second line provides immediate scoring depth for the organization. Returning to North America from Russia may require a slight adjustment from Semin, but it is only a matter of time before he, Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr anchor the offense for a new and young Capitals team.
10. Nicklas Backstrom, C – Washington Capitals
As one of the top players taken in the 2006 Entry Draft, Nicklas Backstrom adds another elite prospect to the Washington Capitals organization. Already stocked with the likes of Ovechkin and Semin, Backstrom is the anchor in the middle for the young wing prospects. Hailed as the most NHL-ready of all draftees in 2006, Backstrom opted to return to Sweden for this season. After scoring 10 goals in 46 games last season in the Swedish Elite League, in addition to leading his age group in overall scoring, Backstrom returns more with eye towards improving his game than establishing himself as a top player.
48. Eric Fehr, RW – Washington Capitals
Fehr jumped to the professional ranks with Hershey last season after posting massive offensive numbers in his final two seasons in the WHL, picking up 53 points in 70 games. He also saw a limited action with Washington, appearing in 11 games. Fehr has excellent offensive instincts, and coupled with his good size, is adept at both driving to the net and working hard along the boards to dig out pucks. There is some concern about his skating, as well as his occasional lack of defensive coverage and awareness, and he will have to work hard on his two-way play in the next season or two if he is to make a permanent jump to the next level. He will have ample opportunity next season to fine-tune those aspects of his game that need work, and will likely once again get a bit of time with the Capitals. Even a slightly improved defensive game, coupled with Fehr’s excellent offensive presence and great size, could prime him for key minutes on a scoring line two years down the line.