The 2019 NHL Draft begins on Friday, June 21 in Vancouver. The first round will be broadcast on Friday night and the following six rounds will all be squeezed in on Saturday. Later draft picks basically get the same treatment as technical awards at the Golden Globes.
The Capitals’ current roster has had some pretty memorable moments from their NHL draft days–let’s take a look!
In 2004 Alex Ovechkin was one inch shorter, thirty-five pounds lighter, and just as bright coming to the stage as he’d be fourteen years later when he’d come forward to lift the Stanley Cup.
Here he is putting on a Washington Capitals jersey for the first time.
WE’RE NOT CRYING IT’S JUST REALLY DUSTY IN THIS KITCHEN WHERE WE’RE CUTTING ONIONS, OKAY?
Ovechkin attended the 2006 NHL Awards (where he picked up the Calder Trophy for best rookie of the year) then asked general manager George McPhee and owner Ted Leonsis if he could attend the draft. He sat with them at the table on the draft floor, and when it was time to make the fourth overall pick, McPhee decided Alex should be the one to do it.
In case you haven’t heard what happened next, Alex Ovechkin said: “The Washington Capitals are happy to pick Nicklas Backstrom.”
Happy Draft Day babes!
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) June 21, 2019
After Ovechkin finished his assigned task McPhee asked him if he’d winked at the crowd. After a nudge, Ovechkin obliged. (McPhee really likes winking which he also demonstrated at Kuzy’s draft in 2010.)
Wait he was actually drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the 13th overall pick in 2007. But he only played seven games for them in 2009-10 before being traded to Montreal, so…SUCK IT, CANADA.
Nic Dowd wasn’t at the draft. He was working at a summer camp and didn’t know the draft was happening. When the Kings selected him in the seventh round, he found out via text message on his way back from a Walmart.
Look at this bird leaving the nest for the first time!
Oh, Kuzy. Never change[d].
Oh right, Conno was originally picked by Tampa Bay! I forgot that the franchise exists–it’s hard to remember all the teams that miss the playoffs lol. Oh wait they WERE in the playoffs? How’d they do?
Devante’s smile was just as precious in 2010 as it is in 2019, but the cutest part of his draft video is his parents’ reaction. “I”m on Cloud 9, really, for him,” his dad said.
Thomas Wilson is an elite fanboy.
Our own Mr. Chanandler Stephenson had a rough ride his 2012 draft experience. First of all, they spelled his name wrong the whole combine. (Mr. Stevenson did pretty good though!) On his draft day you could barely hear his name get called because Penguins fans were booing so loudly.
The Capitals were impressed with Burakovsky’s on-ice swiftness, but that’s nothing compared to the speed with which George McPhee announced his name at the podium. At least, unlike most commentators, he pronounced it correctly.
Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!
Even though it was 4am in Russia, Alex Ovechkin gave Jakub Vrana a call. “Hello? Hello? Hello?” Vrana said, sounding like a happy accented Adele. “What’s up? Not much, I just was drafted to Washington Capitals.”
Much like Thomas Wilson, Vrana was an Ovechkin fan. “You know I have seen you on one tournament in Russia? I take autograph from you? It will be really nice to see you.”
Also he hugged Kevin Fiala and William Nylander, which is too much cuteness for one hallway, move it along boys.
i keep forgetting to share this! but! fiala's having a hard night, so here's baby vrana & nylander at the 2014 draft giving fifi some hugs pic.twitter.com/RLnUeDzZSg
— b. (@youripides) April 6, 2018
Usually, it’s Alex Ovechkin who gives the Capitals’ draft picks a call (or calls their name, as he did with Backstrom and Semyon Varlamov in 2006), but in 2015 it was Evgeny Kuznetsov who picked up the phone and welcomed goaltender Ilya Samsonov to the organization.
Not every newly-drafted teenager would have it in them to heckle their new captain, but Alex-Alex sure did.
“Well you going to come to Washington and get on our program?” Ovechkin asked.
“Which program is that, in the fountains?”
With five picks in the 2019 draft it’s time for the Capitals to make some new memorable moments.
Headline photo: Capitals
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