Saturday, June 21, 2008

Caps thoughts

The Caps took a trip down memory lane tonight, drafting Bengt Gustafsson's son Anton in the first round (after trading their first rounder, #23, and a 2nd rounder for pick #21). If you don't know who Bengt Gustafsson is, you are not a Caps fan. If you don't know how to pronounce the name "Gustafsson," don't worry. It's spelled exactly how it looks...just like this: GUSTAFSSON. There, you said it. Got it down?

Here's more on Bengt (from Wikipedia):


  • Set a Washington Capitals record (since broken) for points by a rookie with 60 in 1979-80
  • Scored the fastest goal from the start of a period (5 seconds in third period) vs. the Philadelphia Flyers on January 18, 1983
  • First coach in history to win the Olympics and the IIHF World Championship in the same year (2006)

Notable events

But seriously, Anton Gustafsson is going to be either a stud or a dud (well I guess most people are one or the other). If Gustafsson can stay healthy (apparently he's the hockey equivalent of Nick Johnson), he'll be a solid, two-way centerman. If he can't stay healthy, his NHL career will likely be shorter than that of his father's sting of 629 games.

Here's Anton's scouting report (from

Talent Analysis

Gustafsson reminds quite a bit of his father Bengt-Åke. He is a highly skilled two-way center with very good hockey sense. Gustafsson has good size, decent strength and plays a hard-nosed game where he often likes to play the body.

In the offensive zone, he comfortably sets up plays and leads the team with his play. Gustafsson’s puck control is good and he easily finds good passing opportunities. Although perhaps not a natural goal scorer, he does have a good release. Could perhaps work some with his acceleration, but he is fast when he reaches full speed and very difficult for the defensemen to get hold of.

Defensively, Gustafsson takes a lot responsibility and is a leader that takes no unnecessary risks. Instead, he makes smart and simple decisions. Overall, perhaps the most all-round Swedish player that is/was eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
I'll give the pick an 8/10 and the trade a 6/10. A second rounder (especially the top second rounder we had out of 3 total) is too much to add on to just move up two slots anywhere besides the top ten. But Gustafsson at 21 is a decent buy, and will hopefully be an NHL mainstay for the boys in red white and blue.

The Caps also traded D Steve Eminger and their 3rd rounder from this draft to Philly for the 27th overall pick, which was used to draft defensemen John Carlson. I'd say the trade and pick are both 10/10. Eminger has talent, but is rarely used and is no more than a #6 at this point in time. If Carlson makes it to the NHL with the tools he supposedly has while Mike Green is still with the Caps, they'll have a lethal combination of puck-moving defenders. Here's Carlson's scouting report from
John Carlson has size, speed, skill, and a high hockey IQ. Praised for his physical assets, he isn't afraid to use them. A great two-way defenseman, has both the offensive skills and defensive shutdown abilities, logs a lot of PK minutes. Could be the next best all-around D-man behind the big 4 Doughty, Pietrangelo, Schenn, Bogosian. An extremely rounded and fast player, capable of QBing the PP. May have hurt his draft ranking due to playing in the USHL, could have gone somewhat higher. He has the ability and he will be an NHLer.
Overall, the Caps did well today. They added two kids (and I can call them kids now that they are, in fact, younger than me, a scary thought) who will be more than just 3rd liners. Gustafsson could be a 1st line center if he stays healthy and Carlson looks pretty underrated to me. Nice work, George McPhee.

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