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McPhee Draft History Shows Positional Preference In First Round

As GM of the Capitals, George McPhee selected prospects in 17 Entry Drafts. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and yes, even Filip Forsberg, were McPhee’s top picks. The GM has a strong draft history which must continue if he’s going to find success in Vegas. With Washington, McPhee was able to collect extra picks and ended up with a total of 20 first round picks over 17 seasons. A strategy almost certainly be used with the Golden Knights.  The question is, will he go the same route positionally as he did in Washington.

YearRoundPick (Overall)PlayerPosition
199719thNick BoyntonD
1998249thJomar CruzG
199917thKris BeechC
2000126thBrian SutherbyC
2001258thNathan PaetschD
2002112thSteve EmingerD
2002113thAlex SeminRW
2002117thBoyd GordonC
2003118thEric FehrRW
200411stAlexander OvechkinLW
2005114thSasha PokulokD
2005127thJoe FinleyD
200514thNicklas BackstromC
2005123rdSemyon VarlamovG
200715thKarl AlznerD
2008121stAnton GustafssonC
2008127thJohn CarlsonD
2009124thMarcus JohanssonC
2010126thEvgeny KuznetsovC
20114117thSteffen SobergG
2012111thFilip ForsbergC
2012116thTom WilsonRW
2013123rdAndre BurakovskyLW

Based off past draft results, McPhee, like most NHL general managers, prefer to select centers (8 of 20 1st round picks) early in the draft. According to most analysts, the first round of this year’s entry draft could feature many young centers.

Beyond Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, half of the next 20 picks could be centers. Gabe Vilardi, Casey Mittelstadt, Michael Rasmussen, and Martin Necas are top centers that could be available for Vegas to draft. McPhee spotted Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Johansson and Forsberg’s ability, so if he decides to draft a center, Golden Knights fans should feel optimistic.

Could the Vegas front office go in a different direction and draft a defenseman with their first round selection? It’s possible, considering the highly-skilled defensive prospects scouts are predicting go early. Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, and Timothy Liljegren could ultimately change the results of the first six picks.

If Philadelphia or Dallas select on direct need, one or two of the top defensive prospects could be off the board before the 6th pick, leaving the Golden Knights with a center of their choice. Remember, statistically drafting a center in the first round is usually the better decision.

When It Comes To Draft Risk, Center > Defenseman

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  1. A.J.

    I’m really big on Owen Tippett. The kid is a scorer and having a young pure scorer in the cupboard could really com in handy in a year or two.

    • RJ

      Isn’t Tippett seen as more of a winger than a center? I’m not saying he shouldn’t be our guy, but if McPhee has already decided we are going for a centerman Tippett might not be on the table. I like Rasmussen, but Vancouver will probably take him right ahead of us with the 5 pick.

      Our best chance might be Casey Middlestadt, who will be the last of the ‘tier two centers’ on the board. If 5 centers go ahead of us, now McPhee and McCrimmon have some thinking to do.

      Maybe they take the scorer Tippett. Maybe they dip into the next tier for center and take Cody Glass or Nick Suzuki. Maybe they take their highest rated Defenseman, probably Cale Makar or Miro Heiskanen; though Timothy Liljegren was once seen as a potential #1 overall pick and his stock has plummeted.

      I’m pretty stoked about our first draft, and it is even more exciting because there aren’t any consensus greats on the board. There will be at least one player taken in the top six that is an absolute bust; and there will probably be another that becomes an all star. Can our scouts figure it out? Very exciting.

  2. PhiSig 150

    This high up always take BPA regardless of need although we need everything. Don’t want to reach for a center when there might be a better player at a different position still on the board.

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