When Christian Djoos made the Capitals out of training camp, he wasn’t necessarily playing his best, but he managed to make it because he had the advantage of requiring waivers to go back into Hershey, making it a risky move for the Caps. Djoos started out well in Washington, scoring twice in his first six games, but he then went 13 games –including the entire month of November — without a point. Just hours before 2017 comes to an end, Djoos is starting to look like the player that scored 13 goals and 58 points in 66 games with the Hershey Bears last season.
Djoos entered December with just a goal and three points in 17 games but will exit December with three goals and eight points in 31 games.
“You see a guy like Djoos who processes so quickly…when you [need to] make quick decisions, he can do that.,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I like his poise under pressure…He’s a natural player like that.”
“He’s getting better and better,” said Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, “He’s learning how to defend and use his positioning [and] he’s got the guts to make a play.”
Djoos is mostly known for his offensive instincts but has played strong defensively. In addition to his +8 rating, which ranks fourth on the Capitals and second among defensemen, he has 24 blocked shots, 10 hits, and eight takeaways this season. Djoos, 23, averages 13:47 of ice time. In addition, he has been responsible on the defensive side on the puck, only turning it over 15 times in 31 starts.
Djoos’ eight points are tied for the fifth most among NHL rookie defenseman with fellow teammate Madison Bowey and Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, and his +8 rating also ranks fifth among freshmen blueliners. His 9.7 shooting percentage ranks fourth among rookie defensemen who have played at least 25 games.
“He’s always been poised with the puck .. and sees the game well,” Capitals defenseman John Carlson said about Djoos. “He’s starting to feel comfortable enough to make really good plays in the D zone…it allows him to play up the ice a lot,” he continued.
Assuming that Djoos plays the rest of the Capitals‘ games, he is on pace to finish the year with seven goals and 19 points in 73 games. However, if he keeps up the scoring pace he has been on lately, Djoos could finish 22 points, particularly since he will likely get increased ice time.
By Harrison Brown