Washington Capitals: Top 10 best NHL Draft picks in team history

Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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Michal Pivonka, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport
Michal Pivonka, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport /

#6 Michal Pivonka

Michal Pivonka was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the third round at 59th overall in the 1984 NHL Draft. He would join the Capitals in the 1986-87 season. In the 1983 European Junior Championships, Pivonka was named to the tournament’s all star team after his performance caught the eye of NHL scouts. He would later appear in the World Junior Championships in 1985 and 1986, winning a gold medal on the second try.

It took a while for Pivonka to make the jump to the NHL after he got drafted as he needed to complete his required military service before making the jump. He had big shoes to fill when he joined the Caps after Bengt-Ake Gustafsson retired. He would center a line with Bobby Gould and Gatean Duchesne.

With strong skating, brilliant passing and puck handling, and physicality, Pivonka made decent first impressions. Pivonka played for the Caps for 12 seasons. In the early 90’s he was reunited with fellow countryman Peter Bondra. The two became a dynamic duo. In 1991-92, Pivonka scored a career high 80 points in 80 games with 23 goals and 57 assists.

Pivonka recorded 418 career points with the Capitals with 181 goals and 418 assists. His final season occurred in 1998-99. He completed his overall pro career in 2000 after he was dispatched to the Kansas City Blades of the IHL.