The Washington Capitals were trying to build a contender heading into the 2015-16 season and were hoping to push for their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They had ended the season with 101 points finishing with a 45-26-11 record. They were led by none other than their star winger Alex Ovechkin, who ended the season with 53 goals and 28 assists for 81 points through 81 games played. Sadly, they were eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in seven games and had yet another promising season go down the drain because they couldn’t finish in the postseason.
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The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is viewed today as one of the strongest draft classes in the modern era. From Connor McDavid to Jack Eichel in the first round, to superstar Kirill Kaprizov in the fifth round, there was talent to be found everywhere in this draft class, and it seemed at the time that nobody could have made the wrong selection. In the first round, the Capitals took goaltender Ilya Samsonov with the 22nd overall pick, and he ended up being a solid piece with the team for a few seasons before leaving, and now currently plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the second round, the Capitals selected Jonas Siegenthaler at 57th overall, who ended up being a nice defensive piece for the team and remains one of the best defensemen in the NHL to this day. The Capitals then selected Connor Hobbs with their next pick which didn’t come until the fifth round and while he got some playing time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Hershey Bears, he never was able to make the jump to the NHL. With that, here are some of the players the Capitals missed out on at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Brock Boeser – 23rd Overall
Right after the Capitals selected Samsonov at 22nd overall, the Vancouver Canucks stepped up and selected forward Brock Boeser at 23rd overall. At the time, both picks made sense for both the Caps and Canucks, but as time went on, Boeser ran away with the title of being the more valuable player. While Samsonov was able to play sound in the net for the Capitals and even could’ve been the starter for a lot longer than he was, he never really seemed comfortable in a Capitals jersey. Boeser on the other hand, has been a huge factor in the Canucks’ success, and it seems as though he’ll be a part of their immediate future.
Looking at Boeser’s situation today with the Canucks, it seems as though he won’t be going anywhere just yet. With 398 games with the Canucks under his belt, he has scored 139 goals and added 172 assists for 311 points which comes out to a 0.78 points-per-game average. He enters the 2023-24 season with the Canucks as one of their “go-to” offensive players and will continue to provide scoring in their middle six.
Nothing against Samsonov, but for the past couple of seasons the Capitals have struggled to score. Aside from the greatest goal scorer in the world in Ovechkin, they haven’t had a good amount of depth that can bail out the top six if they have a tough night. Assuming Boeser was a Capital and they selected him instead at 22nd overall back in 2015, it would be a whole different story for the Caps right now.
Troy Terry – 148th Overall
Five picks after Hobbs, the Anaheim Ducks selected forward Troy Terry. Now, it’s almost impossible to predict how good someone is going to turn out, and the risks are much higher in the later rounds of the NHL Draft. Unfortunately for the Capitals, this was a massive miss, as Terry has become one of the best players on the Ducks, and over the last couple of seasons has cemented himself as one of the elite offensive producers in the NHL.
In 274 career games with the Ducks, Terry has scored 75 goals and added 101 assists for 176 points which comes out to a 0.64 points-per-game average. Just like in the scenario with Boeser, if the Capitals had Terry in their top-six, they wouldn’t have to worry about their lack of scoring away from their captain.
Andrew Mangiapane – 166th Overall
In the sixth round, the Calgary Flames selected Andrew Mangiapane. Flames fans have grown to love Mangiapane, and he has become one of their best all-around forwards. Of all the studs that came out of the 2015 Draft, he is one of the most underrated to this date. Through 342 games with the Flames, he has scored 95 goals and added 80 assists for 175 points which comes out to a 0.51 points-per-game average.
Other Notable Players The Capitals Missed Out On
The list can go on for a while, but they also missed out on goaltender Karel Vejmelka (145th overall), defenseman John Marino (154th overall), forward Mason Appleton (168th overall), defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (159th overall), and goaltender Daniel Vladar (75th overall). As I mentioned, it’s practically impossible to guess who’s going to be good and who’s not in the future. The Capitals got some good players and did some solid drafting in 2015, but if they had a perfect draft, they would be the best team in the NHL without a doubt.
You could say that about any team with how stacked the draft class was in 2015, and the Capitals should be happy they walked away with talent that helped lead them, in some way, to success. If Capitals fans could go back in time I’m sure they would, but they got a Stanley Cup in 2018, so that’s more than good enough for a consolation prize on missing out on some stars.