The Capitals have exercised their right to take Boston’s second-round pick in the upcoming 2012 NHL draft, No. 54 overall. That comes to them via Colorado in the trade last summer of goalie Semyon Varlamov. Washington received the Avalanche’s first-round pick this spring – No. 11 overall – in that deal and also the choice of either Boston’s second-rounder in 2012, acquired by Colorado in a previous trade, or the Avalanche’s second-round pick in the 2013 draft.

“Seems like an easy decision, but they’re never easy,” Washington general manager George McPhee said on Thursday when asked which was the organization was leaning before Friday’s deadline. “Part of the thought process is the pick this year is 54. If we wait a year it might be higher. It might not, but it might be higher. Is it worth the wait or do you just go ahead and pick?”

Colorado’s fortunes play into that, of course. The Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, but did finish with a winning record (41-35-6) and 88 points. With a relatively young roster it’s not a stretch to think they could make the playoffs next year. Even a modest improvement would put the 2013 pick around the middle 40s. Tough call. Boston had the league’s sixth-best record in 2011-12. It seems unlikely next year’s Avalanche will do better than that. But they aren’t an obvious candidate to tank, either, so you’re not punting a more valuable mid-30s draft pick.

So the Caps chose to take the bird in hand and use their option on the Bruins’ selection. That gives them 11 picks in this draft, the most of any team. Washington did not have a second-rounder of its own. That No. 46 choice belongs to New Jersey now after a 2011 trade for veteran center Jason Arnott.

The Caps pick 11th, 16th, 54th, 77th (third round), 100th and 107th (fourth round), 137th (fifth round), 167th (sixth round), 195th, 197th and 203rd (seventh round). The extra fourth-round pick, No. 100, is from the Eric Fehr trade with Winnipeg last summer. The extra seventh-round choices were acquired from Pittsburgh earlier this month in the Tomas Vokoun deal and from Calgary three years ago in a trade for Keith Seabrook.

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