Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The One That Got Away?

No one can argue with GM George McPhee's success lately in drafting talented young players. The Capitals collective prospects right now are ranked 6th in the NHL by Hockey's Future. But last summer, sitting in the number 5 position, McPhee had a tough decision to make. Go with a potential franchise defenseman or a top line center to compliment Nicklas Backstrom. He chose to go with the defenseman (even though he began to announce the center as his selection) and so Karl Alzner was the pick. (Stanley Leary/Associated Press)

The man he bypassed was center Sam Gagner who was chosen one spot later by the Edmonton Oilers. While Alzner was sent back to the WHL this season for another year of seasoning with the Calgary Hitmen, Gagner stayed with the Oilers. The decision to keep him with the big club has payed off for GM Kevin Lowe. Gagner was named the NHL rookie of the month for February after leading all rookies in scoring, 3 goals and 10 assists in 12 games. He is also tied for 2nd in the NHL in shootout goals with 5 in 15 chances.

Capitals fans should expect to see Alzner in the lineup sooner rather than later. Once his junior season is over he should join the Hershey Bears for their Calder Cup run. But at least for the near future, the debate will rage on. Should McPhee have taken Gagner instead?

1 comment:

hotdog88gt said...

Hindsight be 20/20. I'm betting GMGM and team switched to Alzner at the last second on draft day.