I was quite surprised at how little activity there was in the Bell Centre in Montreal last night from a trade perspective with the big Chris Pronger trade being the only thing that really happened other than some draft pick swaps. Today’s 2nd day began with what could be another potential big deal as the Calgary Flames traded free agent defenseman Jordan Leopold and a 3rd round pick to Florida for Jay Bouwmeester. The big catch – both players become unrestricted free agents on July 1 so the respective teams have 4 days to get a deal in place otherwise both d-men hit the open market.
The Caps also made a trade today, moving minor league defenseman Sami Lepisto to the Phoenix Coyotes for a 5th round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry draft. Lepisto basically sealed his fate with Washington when he did not play well when called up last December, especially when he was physically pushed around in a game against the Islanders on December 4th. With the emergence of first round draft picks Karl Alzner and John Carlson there really was no room for Lepisto in the Caps organization.
As for the Caps picks on day two, here is a rundown of each pick and some info on each that I’ve seen on the NHL Network today or compiled from the internet:
2nd round, 55th overall – D, Dmitri Orlov: The 6′, 197 lbs. Orlov played for Novokuznetsk in Russia last season and was ranked #44 by TSN. Former Flames GM and NHL Network analyst Craig Button, who had the Caps taking Orlov in his first round mock draft on TSN, listed Orlov as one of his top 5 remaining players going into day two so this looks to be a very good selection by GM George McPhee. Button re-affirmed that after the Caps took him and says he is a player with skills and is a really good match in Washington.
Here is some scoop on Orlov from International Scouting Services:
“Orlov is a rushing defender with very good offensive skills. He loves to jump in from blue line to make plays. He has been a workhorse for the Russian national teams consistently playing every second shift for the Russian 91 group, and has been very effective. Orlov, who plays his off side has a strong shot and loves to jump into the zone from the weak side to become a potent scoring threat. He loves to rush the puck up ice and has very good inside out moves to get the puck and himself in deep into the offensive zone. Overall, a very hard-nosed player that everyone would love to have on his team.”
3rd round, 85th overall – C, Cody Eakin: Eakin played for Swift Current in the Western Hockey League last season scoring 24 goals and 24 assists in 54 games. The 5′ 11″, 176 lbs. forward was ranked #53 by TSN. Button called him a dynamic player who is quick and fast who doesn’t back down from anyone. TSN’s Bob McKenzie says he has Darren Helm-like speed (Helm played for the Detroit Red Wings this past season in the Stanley Cup Finals).
Eakin, when interviewed on the NHL network after being selected by the Caps described himself as, “A two-way player and I chip in offensively, maybe a role player, play a strong penalty kill and good in the defensive zone.” When put on the spot and asked how he would describe Alexander Ovechkin in one word Cody replied, “Astonishing.” He seems like a really smart kid and a team type of guy based on that interview and the comments from Button and McKenzie.
Here is what Swift Current coach and GM Dean Chynoweth had to say about him:
“Cody is a tremendous skater and a lot of the things he does come from his skating ability. He’s also ultra-competitive, and where he has a lot of success is getting in on the forecheck and chasing and racing for loose pucks. He also uses his speed a lot with the puck on the entries into the offensive zone. His speed also helps him in the defensive zone by catching guys from behind and creating turnovers in situations where guys who don’t skate as well wouldn’t be able to do. He beats a lot of guys to the outside and that’s because of his skating ability.”
4th round, 115th overall – D, Patrick Wey: The 6′ 2″, 200 lbs. defenseman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and played for Waterloo in the United States Hockey League (USHL) last season. An NHL Scouting Director recently told me the USHL is the best development league in the States (Carlson played there last season). Wey was an impressive +22 in 58 games with 7 goals and 27 assists as well as 75 PIMs. Wey apparently will attend Boston College next season and I found an interview with him where he described himself:
I think I’m a strong skater with good mobility. I think my vision and hockey sense are also a strong point of mine, and my ability to move the puck and make a good first pass. I’m pretty solid defensively and I think my vision and puck moving helps me generate offense when the puck’s in the offensive zone. I’m not a huge hitter. I’ve always hit guys, but I’ve been working on being able to eliminate guys from the puck with hits. I’ve also worked on my shot, and shooting off the pass. I’ve tried to work on and that, and will continue to work on that in the offseason to get ready for the collegiate level.
5th round, 145th overall – D, Brett Flemming: The 6′, 178 lbs defenseman played for Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season. He had 3 goals, 25 assists, and 89 PIMs in 64 games. Here is a description of Flemming:
Flemming isn’t the biggest defenseman, but he gets the job done. He took a huge step forward this season in St. Mike’s, often pairing with Cameron Gaunce on the top pairing. He is a solid two way defenseman who doesa great job moving and carrying the puck up ice. He runs the powerplay and is a very smart player who picks his spots and reads the play well. Defensively, he does a good job using positioning to keep bigger forwards away from the net, and he’s not afraid to engage in the corners. Just a really smart player whom I have a lot of confidence in. The only negative really is his size at 5’11. At times he’ll play like he wishes he was 6’5, and attempt to play the body, but will then get taken out of position. If he keeps things simple in the defensive end, he’s generally very effective.
6th round, 175th overall – RW, Garrett Mitchell: The 5′ 10″, 180 lbs. tough guy played for the Regina Pats of the WHL last season scoring 10 goals and adding 5 assists in 71 games. He had 140 PIMs. I found the following info on Mitchell:
Strengths: Tremendous competitiveness. Goes to war out on the ice. Loves to drop the gloves.
Weaknesses: No hands – just can’t seem to contribute offensively. Skating is a problem.
Let’s be honest here – this guy is only a prospect because of his desire to compete – that’s it. He doesn’t offer much else, but when you go to battle like this guy does, scouts will take notice.
Summary: You just want this guy to succeed so bad – but there’s not much hope for improvement in the skill level. If he had any size or skated better, you could make a case for him, but with all the negatives (skill, skating, and size) it’s three strikes in n my book. I couldn’t justify arguing for him before the 4th round at earliest, and I suspect he’s gone before then.
Draft Day: Scouts love this guy and my guess is he’s going to go surprisingly high on draft day. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t go top 100.
7th round, 205th overall – LW, Benjamin Casavant: The 6′ 1″, 200 lbs. forward played for Prince Edward Island in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season racking up 39 goals and 41 assists in 68 games. Here is what I found on Casavant:
A rangy forward with good size and a nose for the net, Casavant has the drive and determination to park in front of the opposition’s net and feed off rebounds and deflections. At 6’1 and 210 pounds, he is a hard player to move once he has settled in. When he is not making the lives of goaltenders miserable, Casavant can inflict punishment along the boards, throwing his weight around and fighting through checks to dig pucks free for his teammates. However, that size comes at a cost and the Quebec native sometimes appears sluggish on his feet, especially later on in games.
These players are all Capitals property now and we’ll start seeing and hearing more about them and from them at development camp which runs from July 13-18 at Kettler Ice Plex in Ballston, Virigina.