A Closer Look at our 28th Pick: Lucas Johansen

Lucas johansen bruce benett getty images north america
The Washington Capitals 2016 28th Draft Pick, Lucas Johansen. Photo: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images North America.

Last night, at the NHL Entry Draft of 2016, the Washington Capitals were scheduled to pick 26th overall. However, right before they were supposed to pick, they traded the 26th pick to the St Louis Blues and acquired the 28th pick and the 87th pick (in the third round).

Incidentally, and just to refresh your memories, the Caps traded that particular pick to the Blues along with Troy Brouwer in the “T.J. Oshie Deal” of the previous year, but now they had regained it.  Hence, the Caps’ first round selection was deferred for two more picks, with fans being kept in suspense a bit longer.

With the 28th pick overall, the Washington Capitals chose defensemen Lucas Johansen.  He was born on November 16, 1997 in Port Moody, British Columbia.  For the last two years, he played with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, which is the same junior team where Madison Bowey (currently playing in the AHL with the Hershey Bears) had played before starting his professional career.

They even overlapped as teammates for the 2014-15 season.  In fact, Johansen reported that Bowey would show younger guys, such as himself, the ropes.  He reports that Bowey taught him a lot, both on and off the ice.  The Kelowna Rockets have a very strong tradition for developing defensemen.  Other exceptional defensemen who have come from the Kelowna Rockets include: Duncan Keith, Luke Schenn, Shea Weber, and Tyson Barrie.  In fact, Prospera Place, the Kelowna Rockets’ home rink, displays 12 foot murals of the great defensemen who’ve played there throughout the years and also displays the trophies they’ve won.  Hence, Johansen was reminded of the long, rich tradition of defensemen on the Kelowna Rockets each time he’d walk into the rink.

This past season (2015-16) Lucas scored 10 goals and had 39 assists in 69 games during the regular season which was a dramatic improvement over the previous season where he had scored 1 goal and had 7 assists.  This year, in the playoffs, he scored 2 goals and had 6 assists.  During the 2014-15 season, he was in and out of the lineup, trying to find an offensive role.  While during the most recent season, he was on the top four pairing and would play in a shutdown role against the opponents’ top line.

He is the younger brother of Ryan Johansen, forward for the Nashville Predators who is 5 years his senior.  Lucas admits he did not win too many battles against his older brother when they were growing up, saying he was more likely to be on the defensive; hence, becoming a defenseman! But he feels he’s catching up now. Lucas attended the NHL draft with the rest of his family when his older brother was drafted back in 2010.  And last night, the entire Johansen family was in attendance for the draft this year at First Niagara Center, including his older brother, Ryan (pictured with Lucas below).

This season, Lucas moved up in the scouting ranks from the 38th best North American player up to 26th.  Adam Kimelman, one of the NHL.com writers who does mock drafts, had him going to the Caps with the 26th pick in his most recent mock draft. It turns out he projected correctly, except for being chosen 28th instead of 26th.

If Marcus Johansson is still with the Caps when Lucas makes his debut, keeping the spellings of their last names straight could be a problem.  Plus, it would inspire Joe Beninati to exclaim, “No relation”.

By Diane Doyle

Source articles:

Lucas Johansen’s profile from Elite Prospects: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=199937

The draft site, http://www.draftsite.com/nhl/player/lucas-johansen/23962/, gives the scouting report that he projects as a two-way defender with strong balance and skating ability.  Lucas is considered a work in progress but has size, is a good puck mover, and plays on both the power play and the penalty kill.

The Kelowna Rockets website: http://www.kelownarockets.com

NHL.com feature article about Lucas Johansen: https://www.nhl.com/news/prospect-johansen-hopes-to-follow-elite-defensemen-to-nhl/c-280976344.

About Beckie Reilly

Being an avid Washington Capitals fan since their inaugural season in 1974, I energetically and passionately contribute to NoVa Caps, whose mission is to provide Washington Capitals fans worldwide with a source of connectivity to a vast community of Capitals fans by providing a platform for engagement and interaction combined with relentless, unbiased and relevant Capitals coverage 24/7/365 days a year. In working with NoVa Caps' team of contributors, I assist with various tasks from editing to publishing articles to our blog, planning NoVa Caps' Watch Parties, conducting interviews and interfacing with media personnel who cover the Washington Capitals. Let's Go Caps!
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