Sloppy Seconds

[Ed. Note: Despite the title, this post has nothing to do with Dion Phaneuf, Elisha Cuthbert and Sean Avery.]

As you've no doubt heard, this year's NHL Entry Draft is supposedly one of the deepest in a while. As a result, at last year's draft the Caps were happy to stock up on 2008 picks, specifically second-rounders - they've got three of 'em: their own, San Jose's and Philly's (53rd, 56th and probably 57th overall).

On the surface, that sounds like a good thing... but history says otherwise.

Here's a list, by round, of all the skaters who the Caps have drafted after the second round who racked up more points in their NHL careers than the most prolific second round pick in Caps history, Stephen Leach (who had 283 career points):
  • 3rd - Michal Pivonka (599 career points)
  • 3rd - Steve Konowalchuk (396)
  • 3rd - Jason Woolley (314)
  • 4th - Bengt Gustafsson (555)
  • 4th - Trent Klatt (343)
  • 5th - Dean Evason (372)
  • 6th - Dmitri Khristich (596)
  • 7th - Andrew Brunette (549 and counting)
  • 8th - Peter Bondra (892)
  • 10th - Richard Zednik (346 and counting)
That's ten players picked in the third round or later who went on to score more points than the highest-scoring second round pick in franchise history (by ridiculous comparison, the best second round pick in Islanders history had 1,425 points, and no one they drafted in the later rounds had more than that).

On the surface, that might not seem all that noteworthy (though a little anomalous, perhaps). But the point isn't to highlight the Caps' later round gems (did I just call Trent Klatt a gem?) as much as it is to show how collectively mediocre-at-best the organization's second round picks have been. Do you know how many individual 61-plus point seasons there have been in the NHL since the Caps' first draft back in 1974? Try 2,198. Do you know how many of those 2,198 have been by any of the 37 second round draft picks in Caps history? You guessed it - not a single one (Leach's sixty points for the '91-'92 Bruins is tops among D.C. second rounders).

Now, before you start clamoring for GMGM to unload that trio of picks, note that most of the current regime's second round picks still have some time to prove themselves (I hear that Michal Sivek is on the verge of a breakout season... no?). And besides, the Caps have a strong draft record on second round goalies, taking Byron Dafoe in 1989 and future Vezina-winner Jim Carey in 1992, with Michal Neuvirth (Class of '06) a promising prospect (of course, then there are Maxime Daigneault (2002) and Jomar Cruz (1998)).

But should the Caps keep and use any or all of their second round picks, take comfort in the fact that John Druce was a second round pick back in 1985... and every team needs a John Druce come springtime.

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