Capitals’ Draft Class: 2008

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Overview: The Caps’ two first-round picks were from San Jose and Philadelphia respectively. While being the son of a former Capital would bring problems of its own, Anton Gustafsson did not stay in North America long enough to distinguish himself from his father, Bengt Gustafsson. Gustafsson only played one game with the Hershey Beard before informing the Capitals he no longer wanted to play in North America. Gustafsson is now 25-years old and is continuing his career in his home country of Sweden.

Picks:
RD 1- Anton Gustafsson, C, (21st overall)
RD 1- John Carlson, D, (27th overall)
RD 2- Eric Mestery, D, (57th overall)
RD 2- Dmitri Kugryshev, RW, (58th overall)
RD 3- No 3rd-round pick
RD 4- Braden Holtby, G, (93rd overall)
RD 5- Joel Broda, C, (144th overall)
RD 6- Greg Burke, LW, (174th overall)
RD 7- Stefan Della Rovere, LW, (204th overall)

Overview: The Caps’ two first-round picks were from San Jose and Philadelphia respectively. While being the son of a former Capital would bring problems of its own, Anton Gustafsson did not stay in North America long enough to distinguish himself from his father, Bengt Gustafsson. Gustafsson only played one game with the Hershey Beard before informing the Capitals he no longer wanted to play in North America. Gustafsson is now 25-years old and is continuing his career in his home country of Sweden.

Every Caps’ fan knows John Carlson, the Capitals’ top defenseman who put up 55 points in 2014-15. With the departure of Mike Green, Carlson will likely see more power play minutes; which could allow him to improve on his numbers from this past season. Carlson has blossomed into one of the NHL’s top offensive defenseman, and was snubbed as a Norris Trophy finalist; though he finished tenth in voting.

Holtby, obviously, had a breakout year in 2014-15, playing 73 of the Capitals’ 82 games. He posted a 41-20-10 record, and was a big reason the Caps were so dominant down the stretch. A RFA, Holtby has yet to sign a new deal.

Evaluation:
Considering the pick used to select Carlson originally belonged to the Flyers, a team in need of defensive help, the Caps came out on top in the trade in which they acquired the pick. Holtby was a diamond in the rough, and both players are key components of the present-day team. Despite that, the loss of Gustafsson hurt the grade more because he was a first-round pick. Second-round pick Kugryshev failed to live up to expectations; as he too returned overseas.

Final Grade B-

Michael Fleetwood

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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