#2 Peter Bondra
Peter Bondra was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the eighth round at 156th overall in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He spent 14 seasons in Washington and scored 472 goals in 961 games. He helped lead the Capitals to their first Eastern Conference title in 1998 before the team was swept in the Stanley Cup Finals by the Detroit Red Wings.
Prior to Bondra’s draft selection, the forward did not know any English. He talked more about those early days of having to make the quick adjustment of learning a new language on the fly to Alan May during NBC Sports Washington’s Capitals Pregame Live. He also hadn’t watched a single NHL game.
"“Well, first of all, I was surprised I was drafted by the Washington Capitals. I was discovered…in the middle of nowhere actually, in Czechoslovakia. I didn’t have any knowledge of the National Hockey League, obviously, I didn’t speak any English. There was no social media, so the first [NHL] game ever I saw ever with my eyes, I was in it. So, great seats.”"
Then Capitals head coach Terry Murray would turn to Michal Pivonka to help him adapt:
"“I was so nervous, but I was fortunate and lucky to have great teammates and those teammates helped me. For example, before a game, [former Capitals head coach] Terry Murray had a coach’s presentation speech, and I didn’t understand anything. I just remember where Terry just kinda pointed to Mike Pivonka and said ‘Hey, just take him on the side and explain to him what we’re going to do in the game.’ To have teammates like that, it was a much better and easier transition to become an NHL player.”"