Scouting Report for All of Washington Capitals' 2013 Draft Picks
There is also the potential that all of them could be draft busts.
The Caps did not make nearly the splash they did during the 2012 NHL draft when Filip Forsberg fell into their laps with the 11th pick, to be followed up by Tom Wilson with the 16th pick.
No, for the 2013 NHL draft, the Caps had the 23rd pick, and they kept it, drafting left winger Andre Burakovsky. The Caps had options at No. 23, and if you read my full mock draft I wrote for the Caps, you already know I would have gone with someone else.
Still, with Burakovsky, there is the potential there for him to be something special.
So what exactly do we know about the newest members of the Washington Capitals?
Here are some scouting reports for the Caps' six draft picks from the 2013 NHL draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 23: Andre Burakovsky
The Caps select Andre Burakovsky with the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft.
Team: Malmo (Sweden)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 177 lbs.
With Andre Burakovsky, the Caps went with a player who looks to be a natural goal scorer. Burakovsky is the type of player who commands the puck and wants the puck on his stick. He is a very strong skater and is rather intelligent as far as his on-ice game is concerned.
In my mock draft, I suggested that the Caps select Valentin Zykov with the 23rd pick primarily because I liked the size Valentin would have provided to a Caps team that I just feel is not going to be physical enough to compete with their new divisional rivals.
While Burakovsky is tremendously talented—and a better skater than Zykov—my concern with him is that he is just not going to be big enough to stand up to the defensive pressure teams such as the Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Flyers will throw at him on a frequent basis.
If you read the scouting report on Burakovsky at draftsite.com, you will get a good feel for what he is all about. He is a great skater, has elite speed and acceleration and is not afraid to take the pounding even though he is not the most physical guy in the world.
A big issue—and one that Burakovsky will absolutely have to work on—is his tendency to be too selfish with the puck. The scouting report on Burakovsky at draftsite.com, as well as the video profile included with the slide, both reference that he can be selfish and, perhaps, a bit too confident in his own abilities.
It is great to have confidence in one's own talent. No matter how talented a player is, however, he has to be smart enough to know how to distribute the puck. That is my main concern with Burakovsky.
I am rather torn on this pick by the Caps. I love the way Burakovsky skates, and he does bear some similarities to Viktor Stalberg. He is a goal scorer and a sniper.
The problem is, however, that in making this pick the Caps have sent a message that they intend on being the same old Capitals: They will continue to try to win games the way they did when they dominated the Southeast Division—by being a finesse-first team content on outgunning the opposition.
I do not think that style of play will yield success for the Caps any longer, and in selecting Burakovsky, the Caps are trying to maintain the status quo as opposed to making a concerted effort to move forward.
Round 2, Pick No. 53: Madison Bowey
Highlights of the Caps' second-round pick, Madison Bowey.
Team: Kelowna (WHL)
Height/Weight: 6'0", 194 lbs.
While the Caps may have deviated away from the specific players I thought they would pick, they did follow my belief that they would go for a blueliner with the 53rd overall pick in the draft.
With that 53rd pick, the Caps selected Madison Bowey of the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.
Bowey is a big body, and that is exactly what the Caps need on defense, so I like this pick a lot.
At 6'0" and 194 lbs, Bowey is someone who will be hard to move once he makes the transition to the NHL. He has a propensity to be physical, and I think that is a trait that will lead him to success in the NHL.
As you can tell from the video highlights, he has exceptional vision and a good shot, is a very good two-way defender, will play the body and is not afraid to drop the gloves.
I also like his instincts, and I think he will fit in well with the Caps' strategy of having their defenders join the offensive rush when the opportunity presents itself.
The scouting report on Bowey at draftsite.com discusses how he carries the puck well and distributes the puck just as well. It is also encouraging that the report mentions that Bowey developed well in Kelowna's system, which is renowned for developing solid all-around defenders.
Bowey likes the physical stuff, and he will definitely get his chance in the Caps' rough and tumble new division.
You also have to like Craig Button's scouting report on Bowey at NHL.com. If Bowey indeed has the competitive fire of Luke Schenn or Shea Weber, then the Caps got an absolute steal by nabbing Bowey with the 53rd overall pick.
Round 2, Pick No. 61: Zachary Sanford
Zachary Sanford talks to the media after the Caps traded three draft picks to get him.
Team: Middlesex Islanders (EJHL)
Height/Weight: 6'3", 190 lbs.
One of the more interesting moves the Caps made on draft day was when they traded the 84th, 114th and 127th picks to their former rivals, the Winnipeg Jets, so that the Caps could grab the 61st overall pick in the draft.
So who was worth three draft picks? In the mind of general manager George McPhee, Zachary Sanford was.
I am not sure why the Caps felt they needed another left winger, but that is apparently what GMGM wanted here.
You have to like Sanford's size. At 6'3" and 190 lbs, Sanford is going to create some definite matchup problems for the opposition.
The scouting report on Sanford at draftsite.com notes that he has size, strength, excellent hockey intelligence and outstanding hands. In fact, much of what is in this scouting report makes you think that McPhee made a good move here.
Sanford is a good playmaker and an above-average skater. Those are all excellent qualities to have, no doubt about that. The scouting report indicates that Sanford needs to be more physical, and if that happens, there could be huge upside potential here for Sanford and the Caps.
Another good summary of Sanford and what he brings to the table showed up on SB Nations' westerncollegehockeyblog.com. There is a lot to be excited about if this article is accurate, and if Sanford turns out to be another Chris Kreider—well that would not be too terrible.
With 12 goals and 24 assists in just 36 games played with the Middlesex Islanders, it will be very interesting to see what Sanford can do once he gets to Boston College this fall.
If he works on getting more physical, then I can imagine a line with Sanford and Tom Wilson causing a lot of problems for opponents for many years to come.
I am not sure Sanford was worth three draft picks, but the more I study up on this young man, the more I like him.
Round 5, Pick No. 144: Blake Heinrich
Blake Heinrich discusses the experience he gained playing for Sioux City.
Team: Sioux City (USHL)
Height/Weight: 5'10", 192 lbs.
After trading away several picks to the Winnipeg Jets, the Caps used the 144th overall pick on Blake Heinrich, a promising defensive prospect who played very well for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL and then followed that up with a good effort for the United States of America's Under-19 squad.
It was not surprising to see general manager George McPhee go for a defensive prospect with this pick as he had been focusing on the offensive side of the puck with three of the Caps' first four picks.
True to form for the Caps, Heinrich looks like a prototypical two-way defender. He had three goals and 17 assists for the Musketeers, in 42 games played last season.
His scouting report at draftsite.com would support the idea that Heinrich has the potential to be a solid two-way blueliner for the Caps. He has good feet and vision, skates well and is an exceptional puck handler.
What I also like about the scouting report is that it sure sounds like Heinrich has a definite physical aspect to his game that might be underrated.
Heinrich's profile at mynhldraft.com echoes these sentiments, noting his intelligence and strength. Heinrich, according to this report as well, likes to play the body and get physical.
For the Caps, that is exactly what they will need moving forward.
Heinrich looks like another prospect who could yield big dividends for the Caps in the not-too-distant future.
Round 6, Pick No. 174: Brian Pinho
Caps fans are obviously going to hope that Kirk Luedeke is right about Brian Pinho
Team: St. John's Prep (HS MA)
Height/Weight: 6'0", 168 lbs.
With the 174th overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, the Caps might have taken their center of the future when they drafted Brian Pinho, a talented youngster who played well for St. John's Preparatory School in Massachusetts last year.
Pinho is planning on going to Providence in 2014, so he will have some time to hone his craft in the USHL this coming season with the Indiana Ice.
There is not a ton of information out there about Pinho. Most of what I came upon, however, had nothing but great things to say about him.
If you view the video accompanying this slide you will see that Kirk Luedeke of Hockey Journal feels pretty good about Pinho. When you hear words and phrases such as "playmaking center", "skates extremely well" and talks about the character of a player, those are all good signs.
Most important is how Luedeke feels that Pinho could be one of the biggest "diamonds in the rough" of the entire 2013 draft!
More information on Pinho can be found at SBNations' westerncollegehockeyblog.com. This article discusses that Pinho has excellent stick handling skills and exceptional on-ice vision. It also appears he is quite effective on the power play.
Obviously, we will not be seeing Pinho in a Caps uniform for some time to come. And, at only 168 pounds, Pinho will obviously need to bulk up quite a bit to fill out his 6'0" frame.
Still, so long as everyone recognizes how Pinho will be a developmental project, this is another pick that has a great deal of upside potential for the Caps.
Round 7, Pick No. 204: Tyler Lewington
The Caps certainly got a scrapper when they drafted Tyler Lewington.
Team: Medicine Hat (WHL)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 190 lbs.
With their final pick of the 2013 NHL draft, and 204th overall, the Caps might have gotten a real sleeper pick when they selected Tyler Lewington of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
Make no mistake about it, Lewington is not a finesse style of player. He is as physical a player as the Caps have drafted in many years.
One thing we know about Lewington is that he likes to fight. Do a search for him on YouTube and you will pull up roughly 12-15 videos of Lewington's fights. More often than not, he fared quite well.
This is evidenced by his stat line. Last season for the Tigers, Lewington played in 69 games. He scored two goals, had 24 assists and 131 penalty minutes. It goes without saying that Lewington felt quite at home in the penalty box last season.
Lewington's scouting report at draftsite.com notes that he has improved as a stay-at-home defender who plays a reliable and responsible defensive game.
For many Caps fans who share my beliefs as to what the Caps need to do on defense, that is music to our ears.
Lewington is also solid on the penalty kill and is an exceptional skater.
That sounds pretty good for the 204th overall pick.
I like this pick for several reasons. I love Lewington's physicality and his focus on being a defensive defenseman. At 6'1" and 190 pounds, he is going to be a handful for teams to deal with.
He can absolutely fill an enforcer role for the Caps, and that is something they will need as they try to remain competitive over the next few years.
With Lewington, the Caps got the physical defender they very much needed, and he should fill a big need on the team once he is ready and arrives in D.C.