General manager George McPhee and his scouting staff have done a terrific job in recent years of stocking the organization with top prospects, even though they routinely pick late in the first round.
While their franchise has been built around 2004 first overall pick Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who was selected fourth in 2006, the team has surrounded them with talent plucked later in the draft. Key players like John Carlson, Mike Green, Marcus Johansson and Michal Neuvirth were all picked outside of the top 20 in their draft years, which is a big reason why the Capitals have been among the best teams in the league for the last four seasons.
McPhee and the Caps hold just one pick inside the first three rounds, but it's a first-round selection, so there's a reasonable shot the player they select will be destined for the NHL. In addition to the 26th pick in the draft, the team has selections in the fourth through seventh rounds, so they'll try to uncover a late-round gem at one of those slots.
Looking ahead, the team would like to add a center for the future, preferably one capable of playing on Capitals' top three lines at some point down the road. In addition, with the potential departures of Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin within the next year, the team could use a top-nine winger for the future.
However, after another disappointing postseason that saw the Capitals get out-muscled, the team may opt to take a stay-at-home defenseman with the size and grit that the team currently appears to be in need of.
If the team can acquire a player who can play any of those roles with the 26th pick, they'll have filled one of the holes in their roster. Here's a look at seven players the Capitals would love to get their hands on at Friday's NHL draft.