This is Denis Dupere in the original Capitals uniform. I loved the uniforms and always rooted for the team in a “how can you resist they’re so terrible” kind of way. Actually, the Caps and Seals and Padres and Expos are probably the teams that gave me a fascination with “team building” and the amateur draft. If you’re a fan of a bad team, you endure the season and look forward to the draft and trading season.
The Capitals had a weird streak going early in their existence: their draft picks had little or no sustain early on, and then later never really delivered on promise. They drafted TWENTY FIVE players in 1974, and the total GP was a paltry 884 (Greg Joly, first overall played 365; Mike Marson, a pretty good stocky Coke Machine played 196; John Paddock 87gp; Paul Nicholson 62gp; Brian Kinsella 10gp; Tony White 164gp).
The next season they traded the top pick to Philadelphia for C Bill Clement (Flyers got Mel Bridgman with the top pick) who lasted just over half a season before they traded him. Following season they drafted Rick Green who had a nice career but didn’t get into a playoff game until the early 80s when they sent him to Montreal.
By 1977 the Capitals had straightened out the drafting and had a beauty run of first round picks (Robert Picard, Ryan Walter, Mike Gartner, Darren Veitch, Bobby Carpenter, Scott Stevens) that would allow them to climb up the standings.
It’s a hard thing to do, building with youth. Your GM makes bets and some of them work out, others don’t. Wish I could give you a recent example we all know about, but it’s just not coming to me.