The Washington Capitals have had more first-round picks over the past decade than can be counted, and they have really done a good job not wasting them.
In 2008, the Capitals brought in John Carlson out of Windsor. Carlson could potentially be another Mike Green-type defenseman. Carlson can put up big offensive numbers and has done so in the USHL, OHL, and AHL levels.
In 2006, the Caps brought in Nicklas Backstrom and Semyon Varlamov. In just his third year Backstrom is likely to hit the 100-point mark, at 98 points through 80 games. Backstrom has taken off as the No. 1 center.
Varlamov really showed off his stuff in the last playoff run for Washington. Varlamov came out of nowhere and has challenged Jose Theodore for the starting role.
Undoubtedly the Caps' best draft occurred in 2004, when they arguably logged the best draft for any team over the decade. With the first overall selection Washington took Alex Ovechkin, the best player in hockey today. With an amazing shot, amazing talent, and the physicality to boot, no other player can rival his game at this time.
Also selected were Mike Green and Jeff Schultz. Green is the best offensive defenseman in the game today. Having recorded over a point a game in his last two seasons, including 31 goals last year, Green will likely rival the best for the Norris Trophy.
Schultz is a shutdown player for the Capitals. The 6'6", 225-pound Schultz is an intimidating player on the back end. Leading the NHL in plus-minus with a plus-44, Schultz was a solid selection for the Capitals.
In 2003, Eric Fehr was selected in the first round. While Fehr might not bring in huge numbers, he does have skill and can put up numbers when called upon. Another strong depth player that every team needs to be successful.
In 2002, the Caps selected Alexander Semin and Boyd Gordon in the first and Johnny Oduya in the seventh round.
Semin is another very gifted forward. With a wicked wrist shot, Semin can pick any corner with ease. And with 39 goals so far on the season, Semin could be leading most teams in goals and point production.
Boyd Gordon again is another depth player. Despite having played roughly half the season, Gordon still has a lot to prove to make the club full time.
Johnny Oduya is no longer with the club, but he has really stepped out of his shell recently with the Devils and Thrashers. Taken in the seventh round, Oduya was another one of those draft steals.