Caps Draft Recap + News & Notes
It has been a busy 24 hours for the Washington Capitals so let’s get right to it.
During the first round of the NHL draft, the Washington Capitals traded up two spots to draft Hendrix Lapierre, Center. Lapierre was widely regarded as a “top ten” talent but fell in a majority of rankings due to an extensive injury history over the last 1.5 years. Here is a list of recent injuries:
-February 6th 2019: First Concussion, missed 9 games
-October 23, 2019: Second Concussion, missed 4 games
-November 21, 2019: THIRD concussion in the same year, shut down for the season
-February 19th, 2020: Diagnosed with CCTI, had six treatments in the spring to get his
-April 7th, 2020: Medically cleared to play
-October 2nd 2020: Returned to play, 2G-2A in first game
That is a pretty lengthy injury history in a very short window of time.
Here is the exact scouting report from NHL.com...
“Great skater with powerful strides. Excellent puck skills and Hockey IQ. Able to execute plays at high speed. Creates time and space with his puck skills and has the creativity to make plays. Strong two-way game. A complete player who brings a strong work ethic”.
The talent is evident with this player and he has a very high ceiling. From a pure talent perspective, this is a great selection. The Capitals needed to address offensive top-six capability depth and Lapierre fits that mold.
Here is my issue with the selection...
The Capitals recently ranked LAST in the league by the Athletic for best farm system. They simply do not have a lot of talent in the pipeline. This is the result of dominating the regular season for the last decade and trading draft capital every year at the deadline. The Capitals traded their 24th AND 80th pick to move up two spots. When your prospect pool is lacking, it is generally not wise to trade away draft capital. It is especially not wise to basically mortgage your entire draft on an injury prone player like Lapierre. Maybe I am over analyzing but it just seems like a risky move in my opinion.
There were a couple big storylines on the defensive front yesterday. Michael Kempny is out 6-8 months (presumably all of next season covid pending) with an achilles injury. This prompted the Capitals to accelerate their trade talks with Brendan Dillon. The Capitals promptly signed Dillon to a 4-year, $15.6 million contract. His cap hit will be $3.9 million per year which is third highest on the team for defensemen. I like the deal; I don’t love it. Dillon led the league in minor penalties at 32. He is an aging defenseman who did not statistically help us improve after the deadline last year. I just hope a new coaching system will help sure him up all-around.
Lastly, multiple league sources (not my sources) are reporting that Henrik Lundqvist is expected to sign with the Capitals on Friday. If this is the case, I am very interested to see what the deal is. I believe the Caps slightly overpaid Dillon. They still need to pay Ovi AND they will need to pay Vrana next season. Factoring all of that, I expect a team friendly 1-2year deal for $1.5-2mil per year.