Although the 2021 NHL Draft started last night it truly begins today at 11 a.m. for the Washington Capitals. With their first pick coming at 55th, it’ll be a lengthy wait before they’re finally on the clock. Once they are, what could they possibly do with such a late pick?
The Caps will have five selections in this year’s draft. They will approach it like they have for any other draft, by taking the best player available. That’s the approach that assistant general manager Ross Mahoney has told the media for the last couple years. This year, despite a pandemic and no in person workouts, the Caps will use that same approach.
This year they interviewed potential candidates they could select on Zoom while also watching video highlights of each player to get a feel of what they could bring to the NHL level. The Caps are expected to select 55th, 75th, 199th, 151st, and 183rd and could get more picks if they make a trade or two.
It is going to be a unique draft. Some leagues such as the Ontario Hockey League did not have a season. The Western Hockey League had a small schedule with their competition taking place in regional tournaments. As did the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
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"“Some of the kids didn’t get to play a full season, some did like in the USHL. They had a normal season, some of the European leagues were pretty strong. The Ontario league didn’t have a season, but they had a showcase in Erie where our scouts were able to attend and watch. Western League was a condensed 24 games that they played. Different in that aspect where normally you get early, midseason and late-season views.”"
The Caps have every option available at number 55. There’s no right or wrong answer for a team that’s trying to shed salary. But perhaps we could see more than five picks and some wild trades.
"“[We’re] still trying to take the best player that’s available to us. This year it seems to be kind of spread out as far as, I wouldn’t say it’s a draft as far as stronger defensemen, or stronger right-wingers. It seems to be in this year’s draft that it’s pretty equal in terms of having pretty good players at all the positions and a couple pretty good goalies that are probably going to be first-round picks.”"
You can catch rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft beginning at 11 a.m. today on NHL Network.