Caps Pick at No. 26 Again

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

For the second straight year, the Capitals own the 26th overall selection in the NHL’s annual Entry Draft. The No. 26 overall pick is the first of five picks currently in the Washington portfolio for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Capitals don’t hold a pick in the second and third rounds as a result of trades that brought defensemen Joe Corvo and Dennis Wideman, respectively, to the District. This summer’s NHL Entry Draft will be held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25. Round One will take place on Friday night, June 24 with the other six rounds to follow on the morning and afternoon of Saturday, June 25. Your faithful reporters will arrive in St. Paul on June 22, but our draft coverage will begin with a series of podcasts leading up to the draft itself. Since we've got some time to kill, here is a look at notable No. 26 picks in the draft over the years. Although the NHL began holding an amateur draft in 1963, 1969 is considered the first year of the “modern” draft. In a 12-team league, the 26th overall pick that year was the second choice in the third round. It belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they chose center Michel Briere from Shawinigan of the Quebec League. Briere debuted with the Pens in his draft year, putting up a very respectable 12-32-44 season in 76 games and adding five goals and eight points in 10 playoff tilts with the Pens. Shortly after the end of the season, Briere was injured in an auto accident in his native Quebec. He lingered in a coma for 11 months before passing away; the Pens retired his No. 21 sweater some 30 years later. With 14 teams in the league by 1970, the No. 26 pick moved to the back of the second round. In 1971, the Chicago Blackhawks used the choice to take forward Dave Kryskow from Edmonton of the Western League. Kryskow’s five-year NHL career spanned just 231 games, but he scored a pair of goals for the Hawks in the 1973 Stanley Cup final, the only playoff goals of his NHL career. Kryskow joined the Capitals in the 1974 expansion draft, and scored the first shorthanded goal in Washington’s franchise history at Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 1974. At No. 26 in the 1972 draft, Detroit chose forward Pierre Guite. Although he never played in the NHL, Guite played 377 games for four different World Hockey Association franchises while playing in all seven season of the renegade league’s existence. Guite is the father of Ben Guite, former U. of Maine standout who has also played for Boston, Colorado and Nashville in the NHL. By 1974, the No. 26 pick was in the top half of the second round. St. Louis used the choice to tab defenseman Bob Hess from New Westminster of the Western League. Hess debuted as a 19-year-old in 1974-75, putting up a 9-30-39 season with the Blues. It would turn out to be the best season of his eight-year, 325-game NHL career. Atlanta chose center Rick Bowness with the 26th pick in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft. Bowness played 173 NHL games for four teams during his career, but went on to serve as head coach for five different NHL clubs (Winnipeg, Boston, Ottawa, the Islanders and Phoenix). He is now an assistant coach with Vancouver. Vancouver chose forward Bob Manno at No. 26 in 1976, and he went on to enjoy a 371-game NHL career with the Canucks, Leafs and Wings before finishing his pro career with several seasons in Italy in the late 1980s. Manno’s main claim to fame was collecting an assist on Steve Yzerman’s first NHL goal on Oct. 5, 1983 at Winnipeg. Forward Don Maloney went to the Rangers at No. 26 in 1978. His NHL career spanned 13 seasons and 765 games, almost all of it with the Blueshirts. Maloney stayed near Gotham after leaving the Rangers, finishing up with stints in Hartford and Long Island. He enjoyed five straight 20-goal seasons in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1983-84. Maloney went on to serve as the general manager for the Islanders and is the current GM of the Phoenix Coyotes. Forward Brent Ashton spent 15 seasons playing 998 NHL games for eight different clubs after going to Vancouver with the No. 26 pick in 1979. Ashton was traded nine times and had seven operations on his left knee during his career. Rugged blueliner Bob “Big Daddy” McGill went to Toronto with the 26th overall pick in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. McGill scored only 17 goals but racked up 1,766 PIM in his 705-game NHL career. An original member of the expansion Sharks in 1991-92, McGill was an assistant coach for the 1998 Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears team. One of the most notable No. 26 picks over the years was Claude Lemieux to Montreal in 1983. A noted bad boy and postseason performer, Lemieux scored 379 regular season and 80 postseason goals in a 1,215-game career that stretched all the way to 2008-09. He also played for four Cup-winning teams. Defenseman Brian Benning went to St. Louis at No. 26 in 1984. He played 568 games in a nine-year NHL career, working for five different teams during that span. Goaltender Kay Whitmore was the 26th choice in 1985. Whitmore’s pro career included only 155 NHL games, but spanned nearly two full decades. He debuted with Hartford in 1988-89 and was active in the NHL as late as 2001-02 with Calgary. In 1987, Pittsburgh chose netminder Rick Tabaracci with the No. 26 selection. Tabaracci played in 255 NHL games during a career that spanned a decade in the league and included two stints with the Capitals. One of the most talented and electrifying players chosen at No. 26 was winger Zigmund Palffy, who went to the Islanders in the 1991 draft. Palffy totaled more points (713) than games (684) and exceeded the 40-goal level three times with the Isles. Palffy played through he 2008-09 season in his native Slovakia, scoring 52 goals in 53 games. By the time the Rangers chose goaltender Dan Cloutier with the No. 26 selection in the 1994 draft, the pick was the final one of the first round. Cloutier played 351 NHL games, donning the sweaters of five different NHL clubs. He was active as late as 2009-10 in the AHL. New Jersey chose defenseman Mike Van Ryn at No. 26 in 1998, but he never played for the Devils. He skated in 353 games with three teams over an injury-plagued, eight-year NHL career. Van Ryn spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant with Niagara of the OHL. The Ottawa Senators plucked forward Martin Havlat with the 26th pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Now 30 years of age, Havlat has had six 20-goal seasons in the NHL. He has totaled 209 goals and 521 points in 612 NHL games. Havlat currently plays for the Minnesota Wild. The Caps landed center Brian Sutherby at No. 26 in 2000. Despite a chronic groin ailment, Sutherby has played in 460 NHL games with Washington, Anaheim and Dallas. The Kings tabbed center Brian Boyle at No. 26 in 2003. Boyle has played in 189 NHL games to date, and he is coming off his best NHL season in 2010-11. Boyle played in all 82 games with the Rangers last season, enjoying a 21-14-35 campaign at the age of 26. Vancouver landed goaltender Cory Schneider at No. 26 in 2004. Stuck behind No. 1 netminder Roberto Luongo on the Canucks’ depth chart, Schneider has played in just 35 NHL games to date. But he has had great success in the AHL and was 16-4-2 with Vancouver in 2010-11. The St. Louis Blues grabbed forward David Perron at No. 26 in 2007, and he has already totaled 53 goals and 131 points in 235 NHL games. An early-season concussion limited the 22-year-old Perron to just 10 games in 2010-11, his fourth NHL season. Buffalo picked center Tyler Ennis at No. 26 in 2008, and his pro career is off to a swift start. After earning AHL rookie of the year honors in 2009-10, Ennis played in all 82 games with the Sabres as a freshman in 2010-11, totaling 20 goals and 49 points. Anaheim took forward Kyle Palmieri at No. 26 in 2009, and he has already played in 10 NHL games, scoring a goal. The Caps landed Russian forward Evgeni Kuznetsov at No. 26 in 2010. Washington has had some recent success in the mid-to-late twenties in recent years, landing Marcus Johansson at No. 24 (2009), John Carlson at No. 27 (2008), Semyon Varlamov at No. 23 (2006), Jeff Schultz at No. 27 (2004) and Mike Green at No. 29 (2004). Over the years, a lot of good and useful players have been chosen at No. 26 and many have gone on to enjoy lengthy and prosperous NHL careers.

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