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Washington Capitals Entry Drafts: 1998

Highly touted Quebec League prospect Vincent Lecavalier was the first overall choice in 1998; he went to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Several other 1998 first rounders have also made their presence felt at the NHL level. This list includes David Legwand (second overall), Brad Stuart (third), Alex Tanguay (12th), Robyn Regehr (19th), Simon Gagne (22nd) and Scott Gomez (27th). Among 1998 first-rounders, only Michael Henrich (Edmonton, 13th) has failed to reach the NHL.

There appears to be a great deal of depth to the class of 1998, too. Many players chosen after the first round are performing capably at the NHL level.

Notable later round picks include Jonathan Cheechoo (29th), Mike Fisher (44th), Mike Ribeiro (45th), Brad Richards (64th), Jarkko Ruutu (68th), Erik Cole (71st), Francois Beauchemin (75th), Brian Gionta (82nd), Josef Vasicek (91st), Shawn Horcoff (99th), Jaroslav Spacek (117th), Trent Hunter (150th), Chris Neil (161st), Andrei Markov (162nd), Ales Kotalik (164th), Pavel Datsyuk (171st), Tyler Arnason (183rd), Michael Ryder (216th) and Karlis Skrastins (230th).

Washington did not have a first round choice in 1998; former GM David Poile swapped the pick to Colorado in the November 1996 deal that brought Chris Simon to DC. None of the Capitals' 1998 choices went on to establish himself as an NHL regular. Left wing Krys Barch has played 74 games (none with the Caps) in the league, the most of the five Washington picks who did manage to make it to the NHL.

Hindsight is 20/20: With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the Capitals (and many other teams, too) passed up some solid picks in the middle and later rounds. Arnason -- a Calder Trophy finalist in 2003 -- went just four picks after Washington chose defenseman Nate Forster with the 179th overall choice. History shows 1998 as a deep draft, but the Caps' picks haven't been very fruitful.

NO. PLAYER POS. COMMENT

49

Jomar Cruz
G
Not signed by Caps,  attended U. of Manitoba in '01-02 and '02-03. Later played two seasons pro without much success.

59

Todd Hornung
C
Did not sign with Capitals, attended U. of Saskatchewan in 2001-02. Never played pro.

106

Krys Barch
LW
Left hockey for a year and came back as an enforcer in the Stars' system. Spent entire 2007-08 season with Dallas.

107

Chris Corrinet
RW
Princeton product played five seasons as a pro and got into eight games with the Caps in 2001-02.

118

Mike Siklenka
D
Played five seasons pro and two games in NHL before going to Europe where he still plays (Finland in '07-08). Converted to winger.

125

Eric Wendell
C
U. of Minnesota product played three seasons pro in ECHL, SEHL and UHL.

179

Nathan Forster
D
Spent five seasons as a pro but his career was riddled with injuries. Played in Italy in '06-07.
193
Ratislav Stana
G
First Slovakian goalie to earn an NHL win. Played four seasons as pro in North America, has played last four seasons in Sweden.
220
Mike Farrell
D
Converted to winger, played five pro seasons and got into 13 NHL games. Traded to Nashville.
251
Blake Evans
C
Played five seasons pro. Spent last two seasons playing in Italy.

 
 
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