As of today, by virtue of their 17th-place finish in the 2013-14 NHL standings, the Capitals own the 13th pick overall of the June 27-28 NHL draft in Philadelphia.
Considering the recent players taken in that draft position, selecting a quality player may be a roll of the dice.
Of the six players taken most recently at 13th overall in the NHL draft, four have seen time in the NHL, but only one, Vancouver’s Zack Kassian, has been an NHL regular.
In fact, you have to go back to the talent-rich draft class of 2007 [Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk, Sam Gagner, Karl Alzner, Ryan McDonagh, Jake Voracek] to find an impact player at No. 13. That would be defenseman Lars Eller, who was taken 13th overall by the Blues and traded to the Canadiens, who have developed him into a steady, two-way defenseman capable of logging 17 minutes a game.
Since then, the class of 13th overall picks has been a mixed bag:
2008 draft [13th overall]: Colten Teubert, D, Los Angeles Kings
Storyline: At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Teubert was considered one of the top defensemen in the Western Hockey League when the Kings drafted him, but he failed to make the team out of training camp in back-to-back seasons and the Kings traded him to the Edmonton Oilers in a package that brought them Dustin Penner. Teubert played 24 games for the Oilers in 2011-12, but spent the following season in the AHL and last year signed to play for the Iserlohn Roosters in the Dutch League.
2009 draft [13th overall]: Zack Kassian, RW, Buffalo Sabres
Storyline: A 6-foot-3, 214-pound right wing, Kassian spent two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League before making his NHL debut with the Sabres. He played in 27 games for the Sabres before they traded him to Vancouver in a deal that sent Cody Hodgson to Buffalo. Despite criticism over the trade, Kassian is coming off his best season with the Canucks with 14 goals, 15 assists and 124 penalty minutes in 73 games.
2010 draft [13th overall]: Brandon Gormley, D, Phoenix Coyotes
Storyline: A 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman, Gormley [no relation] played four full seasons in the Quebec League before turning pro at the age of 20. In two seasons with the Portland Pirates, Gormley played a solid two-way game, averaging six goals and 26 assists. He was recalled by the Coyotes for five games last season and is expected to crack their roster in September.
2011 draft: Sven Bartschi, LW, Calgary Flames
Storyline: The 5-foot-11, 187-pound winger scored three goals in his first five NHL games for the Flames in 2011-12, but has been inconsistent since then, bouncing from the Flames to their AHL affiliate Abbotsford Heat last season, registering two goals and nine assists in 26 games for the Flames, and 13 goals and 16 assists in 41 games for the Heat. Overall, Bartschi has played in 51 NHL games and has eight goals and 16 assists.
2012 draft: Radek Faksa, C, Dallas Stars
Storyline: A 6-foot-3, 213-pounder, Faksa was the OHL’s rookie scoring leader in his draft year and became the first Czech to be taken in the first round of the NHL draft since Jakub Voracek five years earlier. He split last season between the Sudbury Wolves and Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and the Texas Stars of the AHL and is expected to challenge for a spot with the Stars in September.
2013 draft: Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets
Storyline: A 6-foot, 186-pound defenseman, Morrissey won gold medals with Team Canada in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2013 World Junior Championships and was rewarded with a three-year contract by the Jets. He spent most of last season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western League, but is finishing the year with the St. John’s Icecaps, who are still playing in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. Morrissey is also expected to fight for a job with the Jets next season.
In the coming days we’ll be taking a look at prospects who may be available to the Capitals at No. 13, giving you the chance to draw up your own mock draft.