The Capitals have some question marks on the defensive end this upcoming season. From losing Nate Schmidt to the Vegas expansion draft to losing longtime veteran Karl Alzner and short-term rental Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency, there will likely be a few openings on the Capitals roster in September, including on the backend. And you need defense to win championships.
It is a long shot for the 19-year-old Johansen to make the team, but certainly not impossible. He had a good season with Kelowna of the Western Hockey League where he posted 41 points (six goals and 35 assists) in 68 games in the regular season, while adding eight points in 17 playoff games.
Following the season, he practiced with the Hershey Bears for three weeks, but didn’t see any game action, as he played behind standouts Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, and Tyler Lewington. Those three are likely to battle for spots on the Capitals roster in September. If he doesn’t make the team on opening night, Johansen will get plenty of opportunity in Hershey.
Johansen had a good second development camp with the Capitals. Last year I noticed his speed. This year I noticed both his speed and physicality. He looked bigger too and I would later learn that Johansen bulked up and gained 10 pounds with a crazy diet that included two chicken breasts and a potato every two hours.
Here are some highlights from Development Camp:
Loose puck work, featuring Lucas Johansen and Damien Riat pic.twitter.com/aFRjxFKM4k
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) June 27, 2017
Lucas taking part in loose puck work.
Lucas Johansen and Shane Gersich showing off their mad puck handling skills pic.twitter.com/o3Si8Gj4mi
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) June 28, 2017
This was my favorite video that I took. It showed Shane Gerssich, another Capitals prospect who I will profile down the road and Johansen having a puck handling contest.
Johansen skating around the cones
Johansen working on lob passes
And finally a little bit of defense that we hope to see from him in DC soon.
Lucas is the younger brother of Ryan Johansen of the Predators, who made their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Although Ryan didn’t play in the series due to injury, I’m sure watching his older brother’s games have inspired him to try and make it. Even if he doesn’t crack the Capitals Opening Night roster, don’t be surprised to see him get recalled at some point.
By Michael Marzzacco