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With The 14th Pick In The 2005 NHL Entry Draft...

Assuming that GM GM doesn't package any picks to move up in the draft, what can Caps fans expect the team to do when its first round pick comes up at #14? The glaringly obvious need for this team is defense. Past Steve Eminger and Shaone Morrisonn, the team doesn't have any prospects that project to be top 4 defensemen in the NHL (though we're sure Jeff Schultz, Nolan Yonkman, Mike Green and Jakub Cutta will all give it the ol' college try).

Jack Johnson will undoubtedly be taken in the first five picks, perhaps as high as second to Anaheim. The next highest-ranked defensemen are Marc Staal (#7 by ISS, #8 by Bob McKenzie), Luc Bourdon (#11, #11), Ryan Parent (#15, #16) and Brian Lee (#16, #14) [click on player's name for his Hockey's Future profile and on the second ranking in the parens for Bob McKenzie's take on the player] . A darkhorse (no pun intended... really) non-D pick is LW Kenndal McArdle, since GM GM is known to have a soft spot for WHLers. And, of course, anyone who falls dramatically would be an obvious choice.

We can't imagine that Staal will be there at 14, but Bourdon very well could be, so for the moment he's Japers' Rink's "It" Guy (though we're not terribly impressed yet). A few notes on him:
  • 6-2, 205 lbs; shoots: left
  • Played for Val d'Or in the QMJHL last season, scoring 13 goals and adding 19 assists and 117 PIMs in 70 games
  • Talent analysis: "Bourdon is a very good two-way defenseman who plays very well in his own zone and can contribute offensively, as he showed this season with 13 goals and 32 points. He makes the appropriate first pass and has a good, hard shot. It is easy to look at Bourdon’s -39 rating and assume that it indicates poor defensive play. However, in this case, it is reflective of the fact that Bourdon averaged 30 minutes of ice time or more on a weak team. Bourdon can be a physical force and hits hard, both along the boards and in the open ice. His positional play is good, but sometimes he is too aggressive, resulting in penalties." [Hockey's Future] (emphasis added)
  • "Played exceptionally well at the Under-18 world championship in the spring and has all the physical tools (size and skating) to be a good one, though some question his decision making. Still, it's difficult to imagine him dropping out of the top 15. He's a candidate to crack the top 10." []
As more information becomes available as to how the Caps might be leaning, we'll be sure to post it here.

UPDATE: has a mock draft up here in which they have the Caps reaching for some Finnish goalie whose name sounds more like a character from Star Wars - Tuukka Rask. With Maxime Daigneault (21 years old) and Rat Stana (25) already behind Maxime Oullet (24) and Olie Kolzig, I don't see the Caps taking a goalie, but I guess we'll wait and see.

UPDATE: has a mock draft up here in which they also have the Caps taking Rask, noting "The Capitals do not have a premier goaltender in their system that will excite the fans and Rask has the potential for greatness. The next great Finn goaltender is a potential superstar who has the poise and mentality of a veteran. He sees the play development quickly, anticipates well and makes saves look easy. He is tremendously athletic and has the ability to carry his team on his back." Ever hear of Oullet? Drafting a goalie still makes little sense to me.

Hockey's Future has a mock draft up here in which the Caps take American-born d-man Brian Lee with Luc Bourdon still available. Now at least we're making some sense, though I can't remember the last time the Caps spent a high pick on an American (so I looked it up - it was Pat Peake, who scored all of 28 career NHL goals, with the 14th pick in 1991).

UPDATE (7/28): Hockey's Future has a Capitals 2005 Draft Preview up in which they're sticking with Brian Lee as the Caps' pick.