NHL HomeGrown

By Brian Stubits and Adam Gretz

Alexander Ovechkin (AP)  
Alexander Ovechkin (AP)  
Imagine an NHL without free agency or trades, that once a player is drafted with a team he stays with that team for his entire career. What would the rosters look like? We at Eye on Hockey will take a look at the Homegrown Teams of all 30 franchises -- three lines, two defensive pairs and two goaltenders. Three lines and two D pairs because this doesn't include undrafted free agents, only drafted players. We want to see who has drafted the best.

The Washington Capitals have been one of the top teams in recent years in the NHL on the strength of their Core Four. In this world they will be one of the very best too.

Line 1: Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Alexander Semin

We've seen this line before and we know how it works -- usually pretty darn well. They have their dropoffs in recent seasons but we're still talking about top-end players who put up big numbers. Semin is gone to Carolina now but we're going to put the band back together.

Line 2: Andrew Brunette -- Mathieu Perreault -- Marcus Johansson

Admittedly it's a bit of a hodgepodge here but guys who can all play. Brunette has tons of experience and has probably just a little gas left in that tank that has taken him most recently to Chicago. Perreault isn't the most ideal second-line center, he is a bit small, and you could put Johansson there. Either way it's a solid trio with some scoring potential with Johansson should he start to put it all together.

Line 3: Cody Eakin -- Boyd Gordon -- Eric Fehr

Is this the strongest line there is? No, but it's not bad for a third line in this mythical home-grown universe. Gordon is a solid pivot to place here as he is very strong in his own zone and can contribute a little -- I said a little -- on offense. Eakin hasn't had too much time to show what he can do but we'll find out now that he's in Dallas. The big concern is with Fehr who is a big injury concern now for the Jets.

Forward Scratch: Krys Barch

Here is your tough guy who can skate when you need him to and just be all around punishing to play against. Barch has done plenty of bouncing around in his career that has taken him most recently to the Devils, but it all began with the Caps.

Defensive Pairing 1: John Carlson -- Karl Alzner

Hey, it's working in the real world so why not just keep a good thing going? The plan is for these two to anchor the blue line for Washington for a long time to come and they fit in perfectly here. Alzner was taken in the first round in 2007 (5th overall) and Carlson in 2008's first round (27th). Nice drafting there, I'd say.

Defensive Pairing 2: Mike Green -- Johnny Oduya

Green is another defenseman the Caps drafted high and is still around in real life. We all know what he is capable of when he's healthy, he's a massive point-producer who has improved defensively. But that's a tremendously big IF on the healthy part. By contrast Oduya never actually suited up for the Caps after they selected him in the seventh round in 2001 but he has found a nice little career for himself, now in Chicago.

Defensive Scratch: Steve Eminger

There are a ton of guys who could fill this spot. Sergei Gonchar, Dmitry Orlov, Jeff Schultz all come to mind. You could take your pick from that group, I'm going with Eminger. But you can make an argument for any of them.

Goaltenders: Braden Holtby -- Semyon Varlamov

Oh, and Michal Neuvirth didn't even make the cut. We're going to roll the dice and go with Holtby to see if he can continue the stellar start to his career. But Varlamov is a real-life No. 1 in Colorado these days so we have some security here. The depth goes down to the AHL with Neuvirth.

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