Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
Filip Forsberg as a Nashville Predator.
I know what you are thinking.
How in the world can I call either of these guys draft failures? After all, Evgeny Kuznetsov has yet to play a single game in the NHL, and Filip Forsberg has played in all of five.
Look at where the Caps are currently, what their needs are on offense and how they have no cap space available to do anything about it. Then come back and tell me the way George McPhee has handled these two players is not the biggest draft fail of his tenure as general manager of the Caps.
Go ahead...I'll wait.
The Caps drafted Kuznetsov with the 26th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft. To this day, he remains the top prospect in the Caps organization. He might just be the best prospect in the world.
And he has still not played a second in a Caps uniform yet.
Unlike Anton Gustafsson or Sasha Pokulok, Kuznetsov is absolutely ready for the North American game.
His stats this past season while playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL certainly demonstrate his potential. He had 19 goals and 25 assists in 51 games during the regular season. In 25 playoff games, Kuznetsov had five goals and six assists, including one in the KHL Championship where Traktor fell in six games to Dynamo Moscow.
So why hasn't McPhee moved mountains to get this kid to D.C. already? Instead, roughly a year ago, Kuznetsov announced he would be staying in Russia for two more seasons.
Earlier this year though, Kuznetsov stated that he would come and play for the Caps after the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Meanwhile, the Caps continue to struggle to find a legitimate secondary scoring threat to compliment Alexander Ovechkin. To top that off, they allowed Alexander Semin to depart via free agency for the rival Carolina Hurricanes.
The fact that Kuznetsov remains in Russia is, in my opinion, a huge draft failure on the part of McPhee. I love the pick—it's the handling of that pick that disgusts me.
But as for disgusting, let's talk about Forsberg for a moment. Forsberg literally fell into the Caps' collective laps with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. If you go back and look at mock drafts from a year ago, you will see several that had Forsberg going in the top five.
Look at this one that I wrote last year, and you will see I had Forsberg going at No. 4!
So what does McPhee do with this talented young prospect? He trades him away at the trade deadline for Martin Erat believing that Erat will lead the Caps to the Stanley Cup.
How did that turn out, George?
Oh, that's right...In nine regular-season games with the Caps, Erat had all of one goal and two assists. In the playoffs against the New York Rangers, Erat did absolutely nothing except have a plus-one rating—and he missed the final three games of the series when the Caps could arguably have used him the most.
Meanwhile, Forsberg playing for Leksands of the Allsvenskan League in Sweden had 15 goals, 18 assists and a plus-11 rating in 38 games this past season. Forsberg was already so very good and seemingly getting better.
The Predators brought Forsberg to Nashville and gave him an early look, much earlier than the Caps were going to. And Forsberg seemed very eager to come to North America and play.
In five games, Forsberg got an assist. He was only two points shy of Erat's production with the Caps—and in half the number of games played no less.
That is also one more point than Kuznetsov has scored in his yet-to-begin NHL career.
Now the Caps are likely stuck with Erat and his $4.5 million hit against the salary cap. They can't re-sign Mike Ribeiro, and they can't make a serious run at other much-needed free agents due to their salary cap situation.
If Kuznetsov and Forsberg were going to be in Caps uniforms for the 2013-14 season, the future would look much brighter.
As it is, when you look at the totality of the circumstances surrounding how McPhee has handled the Kuznetsov and Forsberg situations, you might agree with me that these poor decisions represent the biggest draft failures of McPhee's tenure as the GM of the Washington Capitals.