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Rebels D-man Alexeyev selected by Stanley Cup champion Capitals

Alexander Alexeyev is a member of the best hockey team on the planet.

Or at least he will be in the not too distant future.

The Red Deer Rebels defenceman was selected by the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals with the 31st and final pick of the first round of the NHL entry draft Friday in Dallas.

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe it,” the Russian rearguard told Tara Slone of Rogers Sportsnet. “I don’t know how to explain my emotion right now, but I’m so happy right now.”

Alexeyev missed the last two months of his 2016-17 rookie Western Hockey League season and last winter suffered another late season injury and, sadly, endured the loss of his mother Julia, who died in January.

The six-foot-three, 200-pound blueliner was emotional when talking about his mother.

“Honestly I think she would be so happy to see me in this jersey and I hope she sees it up there now,” he said with tears welling in his eyes.

With the trade of Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche Friday and free agent John Carlson’s future in Washington uncertain, clearly the Capitals felt the time was right to select a defenceman.

Rebels forward Kristian Reichel is expected to be selected at some point during Saturday’s final six rounds of the draft. The 20-year-old Czech went into the draft as the 53rd ranked North American skater, according to Central Scouting.

Other potential Rebels draftees are defenceman Dawson Barteaux, who is ranked 133rd among North American skaters, forward Chris Douglas(168th) and defender Jacob Herauf (188th).

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