After rehashing the worst trade in Capitals history upon Martin Erat’s retirement Friday, now let’s remember one of the best.
Twelve years ago today, on June 20, 2008, the Washington Capitals traded defenseman Steve Eminger (the Caps’ 2002 first overall pick) and a third-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for the 27th overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft.
After selecting Bengt Gustafsson’s son Anton with their 21st pick, the Capitals drafted Indiana Ice defenseman John Carlson at 27.
You guys, he ended up being pretty good.
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The first three picks in the draft that year were Steven Stamkos (Lightning), Drew Doughty (Kings), and Zach Bogosian (Thrashers). Other notable first-round picks include Alex Pietrangelo (Blues, 4th overall) and Erik Karlsson (Senators, 15th overall). See all the picks here.
On this day in 2008, the NHL held its Entry Draft in Ottawa. The Lightning took Steven Stamkos first overall, followed by Drew Doughty to the Kings, and Zach Bogosian at third to the Thrashers #Hockey365 #GoBolts #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/FueZrGfoSh
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) June 20, 2020
Fast forward 12 years later, Carlson is now a top-pairing defender, alternate captain, and owns the most points among defensemen in franchise history. He also scored five goals and tallied 20 points in 24 playoff games during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship run in 2018.
During the 2019-20 season, Carlson set a career-high in points with 75, leading the team for the first time, and is garnering Norris Trophy consideration along with Predators’ defenseman Roman Josi.
In a recent re-draft of the 2008 NHL Draft, NHL.com analysts say Carlson has been the sixth-best selected player from that year.
Somehow, Carlson slipped to No. 6 in this redraft and was the fourth defenseman taken. Since 2016-17, he’s second among NHL defensemen in points (250) and assists (198) behind Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks (271, 202), and his 107 power-play points are tied for first with Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins. Carlson is first among defensemen drafted in 2008 in rating (plus-92) and blocked shots (1,504), and his 445 takeaways are second behind Karlsson’s 585. Washington has only missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in his career; he leads the 2008 class in NHL playoff games (107) and points (60), and he is tops among defensemen in goals (18). Not to mention he had 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 24 games to help them win the Cup in 2018.
Carlson only trailed Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos, Erik Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, and … Braden Holtby (!!) in the redraft.
The Capitals selected Holtby with the 93rd overall pick in the fourth round after netting the pick from the Los Angeles Kings. Holtby won a Vezina Trophy, had 48 wins in 2015-16 (tying Martin Brodeur for most in one season in NHL history), and won all 16 games in the Caps’ Cup run.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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