With the benefit of hindsight, the Japers’ Rink team has done a decent job in past mock drafts. We didn’t have a first round pick last season, but for the 2020 mock draft we picked Marat Khusnutdinov with the 24th overall pick. The Capitals brass went with Hendrix Lapierre after moving up to draft him with the 22nd overall pick. Lapierre looks like the better pick after overcoming his injury issues and putting up strong junior numbers. Marat also still looks good but will need to come over from Russia to show his progress.
For 2019 we picked Patrik Puistola with the 25th overall pick, but thank goodness the Caps didn’t listen to us because in reality they used the 25th overall pick on goal scoring center Connor McMichael who is now looking like a legit steal of the 2019 draft. Puistola can still be something but McMichael has proven much more.
In 2018 we selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the 11th overall pick, after trading Philipp Grubauer and our first-round pick to the New York Islanders. In reality, Kotkaniemi went third overall to Montreal, and the Capitals took Alexander Alexeyev with the 31st overall pick. A towering, physical, two way defensemen that was about to make his NHL debut this upcoming season but an offseason surgery will keep us waiting.
Lacking a pick in 2017, we chose Alex DeBrincat with the 26th pick three years ago for the 2016 draft– DeBrincat was actually (foolishly) passed over in the first round and dropped to Chicago with the 39th pick, while the Caps took Lucas Johansen. Of all the players on the list we really wish the Caps listened to us on that one. DeBrincat is an alite 40 goal scoring talent, and while Johansen seems to be making a comeback from injuries, will never be an impact player like DeBrincat.
In 2015, we took Joel Eriksson Ek with our 22nd pick. Eriksson Ek actually went to Minnesota at 20th-overall, while the Caps selected Ilya Samsonov. This one is a tough call. Eriksson-Ek has turned into a strong top six defensive center while Caps are still waiting for Samsonov to hit his potential as a top NHL goalie.
The year before that, we picked Julius Honka with the 13th overall pick. In reality, Honka went to the Dallas Stars with the 14th-overall pick, and the Capitals selected Jakub Vrana. Looking back, we’re pretty okay with getting that one wrong after Vrana’s has been an elite winger for a couple years and Honka hasn’t found a NHL home (even though he should).
In 2013, we selected J.T. Compher with our 23rd pick, but he was ultimately drafted 35th overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Instead, the Capitals opted for Andre Burakovsky, who went 20th overall to the San Jose Sharks in the mock draft. Again, we’re happy we were wrong. PS: miss you Bura.
The year before that, we had not one, but TWO first round picks. With the 11th and 16th picks, we chose Zemgus Girgensons and Pontus Åberg. In the actual 2012 draft, the Capitals selected Tom WIlson with the 16th overall pick and [redacted] with the 11th overall pick. We were off on that.
In 2011, we selected Scott Mayfield with the 26th pick. Mayfield actually went to the New York Islanders with the 34 overall pick, and the Caps traded their 26th overall pick for Troy Brouwer.
And last, but certainly not least, we took Brock Nelson with our 26th overall pick in 2010. Nelson actually went to the Islanders with the 30th overall pick and the Capitals took Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was selected by the 24 overall pick in the mock draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Nelson ended up being a Cap killer, but the Capitals likely don’t win a Cup without top-tier Kuznetsov.
So, in retrospect, we’ve never actually been right! Whatever. That’s the past, we’re moving on now. With the 20th pick of the 2022 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, Japers’ Rink is proud to select, from Moose Jaw Warriors, Denton Mateychuk.
I spent years telling the Caps to stop drafting left handed defensemen but if Denton is still there when the Caps pick I’ll be screaming for them to take this left handed defensemen. Denton is a smallish defensemen at 5’11” but has good weight at 192lbs. Don’t let his size scare you, Denton is scrappy and has no problem playing the rough stuff. He’s a high end skater with great vision, hands, and shot. He’s a masetro with the puck in the offensive zone, creating offense from nothing. The best part about his offensive game is his willingness to jump into the play; he’s like a fourth forward out there. Most smallish offensive defensemen usually come with the caveat that they are poor defensively, but Denton is anything but. The same brain he uses to problem solve in the offensive zone is the same he uses to ready plays and end up them before they start in the neutral an defensive zone. He’s reliable all over the ice. There’s very little to not like him his game. If he was two inches taller he’s be in the top 10, maybe higher. What’s most intriguing about Denton though is that he’s one of the youngest players in the draft, meaning we might not even know what his ceiling could be. He’s getting Roman Josi type comparable. There’s a top three defensemen there, but truly has the ability to be a top pairing defensemen.