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2023 NHL Draft

Serre’s Spin: At No. 8, The Capitals (Should) Select…



It is impossible to describe how important the No. 8 overall pick in Wednesday’s NHL Draft is to the Washington Capitals.

Let’s try to put this into perspective: even with arguably the best scorer in league history, albeit a 37-year-old version of him, the Capitals missed the playoffs last season. And if Alex Ovechkin was out of the picture, things would have been a lot worse for one of the league’s oldest teams.

The team’s current pool of prospects is, to say the least, limited. Drafting Russian winger Ivan Miroshnichenko last year — a projected top-10 pick before a Hodgkin’s lymphoma negatively affected his draft stock — certainly helps, but there’s still plenty of ground to be made up for as the post-Ovechkin years draw closer and closer.

At No. 8, the Capitals are selecting at the highest spot in 16 years. And in a top-heavy draft class, the team’s brass is in prime position to 

So, with the No. 8 pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals should select…

Matvei Michkov, winger, from SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL.

Maybe this is cheating, considering that Michkov’s offensive talent is undeniable — so much that, if Connor Bedard wasn’t around this year, Michkov would have a very serious claim to be the top pick.

Really, the only if around Michkov is whether he’ll be available when the Capitals get on the clock, and that’s a really big if. It’s been reported that he’s snubbed certain teams seeking to interview him, and with three years remaining on his KHL contract, there’s a very real possibility that he could fall to the lower part of the top 10.

The main concern for the Capitals is that the teams directly in front of Washington, such as Philadelphia at No. 7, likely wouldn’t be affected much by waiting long for Michkov to come stateside. 

The Flyers, who have been outspoken about a rebuild, have already dealt center Kevin Hayes and defenseman Ivan Provorov in the two-ish months since Danny Briere was named the team’s general manager. Star netminder Carter Hart has also been the focus of trade rumors.

Translation? They’re not expecting to be good anytime soon, making a potential three-year wait for Michkov tolerable.

So if Michkov goes off the board before Brian MacLellan can get his hands on him, what’s next for the Capitals?

Well, with the No. 8 pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals should then select…

Dalibor Dvorsky, center, from AIK Hockey of the Swedish Allvenskan.

This shouldn’t come as a total shock considering that, while picking for the Capitals, I projected him to Washington in the National Hockey Now network’s 2023 Mock Draft.

First and foremost, Dvorsky isn’t Michkov. There aren’t many like him, and they’re definitely not available this draft.

However, Dvorsky, especially in a top-heavy draft class, is a pretty solid consolation prize. He’s a strong scorer and a cerebral puck-handler, with The Athletic’s Corey Pronman writing that his consistency is a major plus among the draft pool.

“A big appeal of Dvorsky’s game is his long track record of production and consistency at various levels, including often playing against older players,” Pronman wrote in early June.

At the end of the day, however, adding any player that high — whether it’s Michkov or Dvorsky, whether it’s Ryan Leonard, Oliver Moore or somebody else — the Capitals will be winners. 

Yeah, this is a pick the Capitals need to hit on. But it seems like the kind of draft that MacLellan could throw a dart at the draft board and come away with a solid option.

Still, if MacLellan is hoping to come away with the next Ovechkin at No. 8, I don’t envy him, that’s for sure.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.