- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2000

The Washington Capitals' drafting history has never been held up as an example of wise selections. On the other hand, it is a great example of how tough and unpredictable it is to make judgments on undeveloped youngsters, many of whom have not turned 18 by draft day.

Twenty-seven years of Caps drafting has produced a few who appear bound for the Hall of Fame, such as Scott Stevens and possibly Mike Gartner. It also has produced some first-round disasters, such as Jeff Greenlaw and Yvon Corriveau, Alex Forsyth and Clark Jantzie.

Of the 294 players drafted by the Caps, only 67 have played more than 100 games in the league. The record from 1987 through 1994 is even worse: Of 94 selections, only 18 have played in more than 100 league games.

With the 2000 entry draft this weekend in Calgary, here is a look back at the Caps' first-round picks during the past 10 drafts and how they fared:

1999: Kris Beech, C, 7th overall; currently with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western League; could crack the Caps' roster this fall.

1998: None.

1997: Nick Boynton, D, 9th overall; Providence (R.I.) Bruins in the American League. Failed to reach contract agreement with the Caps, went back into draft, picked by Boston last June.

1996: Alexandre Volchkov, RW, 4th overall; Hamilton (Ontario) Oilers in the AHL. Traded to Edmonton last season after three years' efforts to make him adapt to the team concept failed.

Yogi Svejkovsky, RW, 17th overall; Tampa Bay Lightning. Troubling history of never-ending medical problems and lack of production on the ice.

1995: Brad Church, LW, 17th overall; recently signed minor league contract with Portland (Maine) Pirates in AHL. Excellent example of totally botched draft pick (Petr Sykora was the very next player selected.).

Miika Elomo, LW, 23rd overall; Portland Pirates; has chance to make NHL after two years maturing at home in Finland.

1994: Nolan Baumgartner, D, 10th overall; Portland Pirates. Caps let Mike Ridley go in a draft day trade to make sure they would get Baumgartner, who had everything going for him. Unfortunately, he had grown physically as much as he was going to.

Alexander Kharlamov, LW, 15th overall; Tacoma, Wash., West Coast Hockey League. Son of Valeri Kharlamov, the best player Russia ever produced, Alex displayed a startling lack of desire to compete and was released three years ago.

1993: Brendan Witt, D, 11th overall; Washington. Made huge headway in the maturing process last season to become one of the team's best defensive defensemen.

Jason Allison, C, 14th overall; Boston Bruins. Good example of turning career around via trade, now Boston's top forward even after injury-plagued season last year.

1992: Sergei Gonchar, D, 14th overall; Washington. Between lapses in concentration, he displays flashes of brilliance offensively. Has the potential to be a true star.

1991: Pat Peake, C, 14th overall; retired due to injury. Another player with enormous potential, he suffered through five seasons of pain trying to come back.

Trevor Halverson, LW, 21st overall; Portland Pirates. It took nine years for this tough competitor to make it to NHL; now done due to concussion.

1990: John Slaney, D, 9th overall; Pittsburgh. Poor defensive habits overshadowed great offensive instincts; as a result, he has toured the NHL trying to find regular job.

Halverson, Gonchar, Witt and Elomo were compensatory selections due to Stevens opting for free agency in 1990.

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