Capitals Select Andrew Cristall In The Second Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft

Photo credit: Steve Dunsmoor

A day after selecting Ryan Leonard with the 8th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Capitals selected forward Andrew Cristall in the second round, 40th overall.

Cristall is another player where there is not a real consensus on his ceiling. He is an overshadowed name because he is in the same league as Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick. Cristall ranked from sixth all the way down to 35th by the major prospect evaluators.

The left-winger had a very strong draft season with 95 points (39 goals, 56 assists) in 54 games, which led the Kelowna Rockets and was sixth in the WHL. The Vancouver native was also fourth in the league with 1.76 points per game, but only trailed Bedard in that category among 2023 draftees. He also missed 14 games due to an injury.

Before playing junior hockey, Cristall played at St. George’s Prep School. He was named team captain of the U15 squad in his sophomore year and led the team with 80 points (43 goals, 37 assists) in just 27 games.

“He just always had the puck and if he didn’t have the puck he found a way to find and go get the puck. And when the game was on the line, I just knew that he was going to try to find a way to win the hockey game for us. He just had that tenacity and ferocity to go get the puck. He was a fierce competitor,” Cristall’s coach Todd Harkins said.

The 5-foot-10 winger is one of the best passers in the draft. His incredibly high hockey IQ is how he’s able to find passing lanes and thread the needle. Another thing that sticks out about Cristall is his edge work. He is one of the most deceptive skaters in the draft and has exceptional hands.

Cristall’s shot is decent in terms of power, but is also very accurate. He’s excellent at shooting through traffic and fooling goaltenders.

While the 18-year-old is very agile on his edges, his straightaway skating is the biggest area needing improvement. He does not have that explosive stride to him, which causes him to struggle on backchecking and on breakaways. However, that will improve as he continues to get stronger.


The Hockey Writers:

Cristall is one of the top playmakers in this class, as he’s very creative and evasive possessing high-end offensive IQ. He’s very deceptive and shifty with his movements as he maintains great control of the puck, handling it confidently in high traffic areas and even beating defenders one-on-one. Whether it’s feathering a puck through a defender’s stick or his feet, he’s always making slick plays and dekes. His soft hands allow him to make moves in tight on the net to fool goaltenders and leave them in the dust.

Elite Prospects

A dynamic player through and through, Cristall adds the extra flash to every play. He beats defenders with head fakes, handling skills, and slick edges before cutting inside or finding a teammate burst into the slot. He starts the plays, builds them, and then puts the finishing touches on them. He’s an inventive playmaker, capable of turning the mundane into the brilliant, breaking down opponents with feints and deception before sending perfectly weighted passes to his teammates to do the rest.

Corey Pronman: The Athletic

Cristall is very talented offensively. He has puck-on-a-string type of hands and routinely beats defenders with his stickhandling. He has a highly-imaginative offensive mind and very good vision with the puck. Cristall is so dangerous on the power play because of his skill but also his great shot, as he’s scored a ton of goals from range this season. The concerns come down to his frame and especially his skating. He lacks footspeed for the higher levels and has awkward skating mechanics that are concerning for his NHL projection where he too often defaults into the 10-2 skating style, overly relying on his edgework.

Tony Ferrari

 “Cristall is a magician with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone, deking and dangling opponents with quick and precise hands. He can rip a snap shot from the home plate area in the offensive zone or make a pass so pretty, you’d marvel at how it got to its destination.”

Scott Wheeler

“Despite his diminutive size, he’s also a smarter player off of the puck than he gets credit for and I’ve been struck by how often he’s in the right position above the puck to hold play inside the offensive zone.”

Chris Peters

 “As creative as any player in the draft, Cristall simply knows how to score. His ability to anticipate and read the defense to find the right spot to put himself is next level. The legitimate concern beyond his below-average size is that he is also a below-average skater.”

Steven Ellis

From a skill perspective, Cristall has everything going for him. His skating can be a bit of a disaster at points, though. In a vacuum, there’s a lot to like.”

Jason Bukala

Results offensively are undeniable. Great stick. Dynamic when he has time and space. Concerns started to develop down the stretch of the season. Pace off the puck, zone exits and overall detail have room for significant improvement.”


Ranked #19 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #21 by DAILY FACEOFF
Ranked #12 by THE HOCKEY NEWS
Ranked #27 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #25 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #35 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #15 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #25 by SPORTSNET
Ranked #26 by HPR/SHANE MALLOY
Ranked #12 by SMAHT SCOUTING

In addition to the 8th and 40th pick, the Capitals hold the 104th pick (fourth round), 136th pick (fifth round) and 200th overall pick (seventh round) in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

By Jacob Cheris and Jon Sorensen

2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Select Ryan Leonard With The 8th Overall Pick In The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Deep Dive On Ryan Leonard – Capitals First Round Pick In The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Select Andrew Cristall In The Second Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Select Patrick Thomas In The Fourth Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Select Cameron Allen In The Fifth Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Select Brett Hyland In The Seventh Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft
Capitals Trade 7th Round Draft Picks With San Jose Sharks, Select Goaltender Antoine Keller

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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13 Responses to Capitals Select Andrew Cristall In The Second Round Of The 2023 NHL Entry Draft

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great pick! Thought he would go in first round.

  2. Mark Eiben says:

    I like this pick a lot. Another highly skilled scorer and passer. Skating speed will get better as he grows, but he seems very creative. Caps draft is already a success!

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Projected first rounder by most “experts”.

  4. andrew777dc says:

    Magic Cristall, albeit a slow one

  5. Lance says:

    Great pick! If Cristall puts the work in he can be a top 6 NHL forward. A perfect 2nd round pick home run swing.

  6. Mark Eiben says:

    After reading some articles and seeing what his good friend Connor Bedard says about him, this could be a sneaky great pick…;)

  7. GRin430 says:

    I’m not overly worried about his size at age 18, since ~5’10” makes him the same size as Bedard and Michkov. Cristall, as an 18-yr-old, may not be done growing in height, and no matter how tall he ends up to be, can add good weight/strength as he matures, if he’s willing to work at it.

    As to his speed, or lack thereof, Michkov supposedly doesn’t have great straight-ahead speed either.

    Question is whether his skating issues are based on his physical attributes (bow-legged, given his 10-2 edge work? Genetic lack of fast-twitch/power?) or just lack of strength at age 18? Or perhaps he hasn’t had proper power-skating training? Or there was a lack of emphasis on his/his coaches’ part in improving his stride, since he’s been successful at the junior level without being fast?

    The answer to these questions will ultimately determine his skating ability ceiling, since his physical structure and basic athletic ability might limit how much he can improve, no matter how hard he works. On the other hand, if he just is physically immature, or hasn’t been trained properly, or hadn’t worked that hard on his stride in the past because he was already successful, and he’s willing to put in the work now, he could end up as at least an average-speed NHL player with exceptional edge-work. That would put him above the average NHL player in total skill set, given his vision, hands, smarts and shot.

    Jeff Skinner is a small guy with great edge-work, and he’s had a very successful career. He is proof that lateral movement based on excellent edge-work is very difficult for NHL defensemen to counter.

    • Prevent Defense says:

      Theo Fleury needed a ladder to climb over the boards
      Very effective NHL forward at 5′-6″. 455 NHL goals and an amazing personal story. Used to give the Caps fits

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wonder why he fell so far, out of top10.

  9. dwgie26 says:

    Love this pick. Got both players we shouldn’t have gotten. And think about our prospect pool now with many being ready by time Oshie and Backie are out.

    McMichael, Protas, Malenstyn, Sutter, Alexyev
    Lapierre, Frank, Suzdalev, Miro, Iorio, Chesley
    Leonard, Cristall, maybe some other bottom six develop

  10. DC Scappeli says:

    coach him up with the skating! Send him to train with Wendy Marco!

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