Although the Caps don’t own a pick in the first three rounds of this week’s NHL entry draft, assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said the team’s scouting staff is preparing as though they’ve got a full complement of selections—just in case.
“We approach it like we have a pick in every round because you never know what’s going to happen between now and when the draft starts,” Mahoney said on a conference call with reporters. “We made sure during the year that we had enough coverage on [prospects] in case something does happen and we do acquire a first, a second or a third.”
As things stand now, Washington owns picks in the 4th (120th), 5th (151st), 6th (182nd) and 7th rounds (213rd).
The Caps dealt away their first three picks in the trades that landed Kevin Shattenkirk, Lars Eller and Mike Weber, respectively.
“If it happens, it happens,” Mahoney said. “We’ve moved a few picks lately because we have a very good team and we’ve been making a run to try and win the Stanley Cup. If something comes up, and it makes sense to us, we could acquire those picks. If not we’ll go in with our picks in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.”
Asked whether he subscribes to the belief that this year’s draft isn’t a strong one, Mahoney emphasized that good players can be found in every round.
“We’ve had some players come out of all those rounds,” he said. “Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby, we took them both in the fourth round. We’ve had players like Connor Carrick, who have played some games in the NHL; we took [him] in the fifth. We’ve had the Mathieu Perreault’s in the sixth and the Johnny Oduya’s in the seventh. So there’s players there every year.”
“It’s up to us as a scouting staff as an amateur staff,” he continued, “to make sure that we get a couple of those players, and hopefully they play for the Capitals someday.”