The Washington Capitals gained no spots during the NHL Draft Lottery and will pick eighth overall in the 2023 NHL Draft. If they hold onto the selection, it will mark the first time the franchise has picked eighth in the franchise’s 49-year history.
Typically, the number one overall pick is a can’t miss player. But what about a prospect at number eight?
Below, I take a look at the players both of the past and the recent future selected at pick number eight to give you an idea of what type of player could be arriving to the organization on June 28 in Nashville.
The first no. 8 pick
The NHL’s first entry draft was held in 1963 and forward Bill Cosburn was the first player ever to be selected at eighth overall. At the time of the pick, there were still only six teams in the league so Cosburn was actually the second selection of the second round. Cosburn, picked by the Detroit Red Wings, was the first of a handful of players selected at eighth overall in the 60s to never play a single game in the NHL. Every single player picked after 1967 played in at least one NHL game.
Cosburn’s entire career lasted just seven seasons. He finished up his playing days over in Sweden with IK Tälje, a third division pro team. Two seasons prior, he won Sweden’s second division scoring title with Nacka SK, scoring 26 goals in 26 games.
The GR8 All-Stars
The eighth overall draft selection has produced 13 total NHL All-Stars. The earliest pick to be chosen as one being Joey Johnston who was picked by the New York Rangers in the 1966 draft. Zach Werenski, chosen by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, is at the other end of that timeline.
Four of those 13 players eventually were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Darryl Sittler, Bob Gainey, Ray Bourque, and Grant Fuhr are those four names. They are also the only hall of famers to be selected eighth overall.
Here’s the full list of All-Star names.
The dry spell
As you may have noticed, there was quite the 14-year dry spell between Sergei Samsonov and Sean Couturier in terms of producing an All-Star from the eighth overall selection.
While that is disappointing, a handful of those players chosen in those years did develop into rather good role players and complementary pieces. Here are some of the highlight names from those drafts.
The best of the present
The more recent notable eighth overall picks include Couturier, Werenski, William Nylander, Casey Mittelstadt, Jack Quinn, and Marco Kasper. Nylander is the highest-scoring of the bunch and is coming off a career-best season for the Toronto Maple Leafs where he recorded 87 points (40g, 47a).
Couturier has hit above the 75-point plateau twice in his career and was the NHL’s winner of the 2019-20 Selke Trophy for best defensively skilled forward. Werenski is a number-one pairing defenseman that regularly plays over 23 minutes per game for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Mittelstadt finally broke out this past year for the Buffalo Sabres, tallying 59 points (15g, 44a). Quinn and Kasper are still developing but seen as highly touted prospects with first-line potential after both making their NHL debuts at very young ages.
Here’s how the post 2010 draft eighth overall picks have gone.
This seems to suggest while the Capitals may not end up with a superstar like Connor Bedard at the pick, it’s possible they could land an All-Star or a good role player if everything goes right.
Note: The above article was inspired by NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux’s initial version of this post.
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