Andrew Crystal, a talented playmaker and member of Conor Bedard’s roller hockey group, was selected by the Capitals in the second round.

The Washington Capitals turned the clock back early on Day 2 of the 2023 NHL Draft and selected one of the most interesting prospects in the entire season. Andrew Crystalthe left winger from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has a massive offensive upside after finishing the third draft season in the entire league in terms of scoring average.

Conor Bedard, his good friend, fellow hockey player, and first overall pick for the Chicago Blackhawks was one of two players who finished ahead of him in the WHL in that regard.

Cristall was the 15th-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings. Cristall finished sixth overall in the WHL in scoring last season despite missing 14 games with a quadruple bruise. The British Columbia native is an explosive natural playmaker, notching 95 points (39g, 56a) in just 54 games.

Players typically advance this type of production much earlier in drafts, but scouts cite concerns about Cristall’s skating, defensive play, level of competition, and somewhat diminutive size as why he wasn’t selected in the first round. Cristall is five feet ten inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.

Crystal was determined not to let any of this talk get to him. “To have an eye on me and the people watching every night, it’s a privilege I don’t really take for granted,” he told The Rockets in a preliminary interview. “I just enjoy playing hockey.”

The 18-year-old is a childhood friend of Bedard’s as they both grew up together in western Canada. The two have played hockey either on the same team or against each other since they were only five years old.

They star together at the Roller Hockey League Wednesday night in North Vancouver alongside NHL players Kent Johnson and Jake Christiansen.

Cristall has talked about some of his hockey exploits with TSN’s Mark Masters.

“We’re not really the biggest roller hockey team,” Cristall sHelp joking about the team’s record. “There are a lot of guys with systems and we might not be the most defensive team. We like to go for some offense. That might hinder our success a little bit but we’re in the winning lane right now. We’re winning big at the moment there and hopefully we can turn things around.”

Cristall has also represented his country in several recent international youth events. At the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Cristall put up six points (1g, 5a) in five games on his way to winning a gold medal.

He followed that up with six points (2g, 4a) in seven matches at the U18 World Youth Championship.

Kristal is the first caps player from Kelowna since they used their 2016 first-round pick with Lucas Johansen. Prior to Johansen, they also took out Madison Boy in the second round of 2013.

The Caps tend to pick prospects from the WHL possibly due to assistant general manager Russ Mahoney’s deep ties to the league.

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