Caps select Ivan Miroshnichenko 20th overall in NHL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Capitals entered the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft sitting at No. 20 overall, their highest selection in eight years. They used the pick to take Russian left winger Ivan Miroshnichenko and add another young piece to their forward depth.
Miroshnichenko, 18, hails from Primorsky Krai, Russia, where he developed into a potential top-10 draft pick. He was captain for Team Russia when it won gold in the 2021 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and a member of Omsie Krylia of the VHL, the second-tier league in Russia behind the KHL. However, his draft stock and life took a turn when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in March.
Doctors just cleared Miroshnichenko to return to practice in June, which was evidently enough for the Capitals to feel comfortable taking him in the first round. The forward is listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and has impressed scouts with his powerful shooting ability both with the wrister and one-timer.
The last player Capitals GM Brian MacLellan and his staff drafted as high as 20th was left winger Jakub Vrana, who they took at No. 18 in 2014. Vrana played four and a half seasons for the Capitals before they traded him to the Detroit Red Wings along with Washington’s 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 second-rounder in exchange for winger Anthony Mantha.
Including Miroshnichenko, MacLellan has selected forwards with each of his last three first-round picks. He drafted center Hendrix Lapierre with the 22nd pick in 2020 and took Connor McMichael at 25th the year prior. Both players appeared in the NHL last season and should be in the mix for playing time early in 2022-23 while Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson recover from offseason surgeries.