We continue our prospect review and forecast series with a review and forecast for defenseman Tyler Lewington. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page on the top menu bar, or right here.)
Lewington was a seventh round draft pick (#204 overall) by the Capitals in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Lewington, 23, was just extended by the Capitals in May 18, 2018, for two years at $675,000 average annual value (AAV). He will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2020.
Lewington would sign his first contract with the Capitals on March 4, 2015, for three years at $665,000 AAV. Lewington made his first appearance with the Bears during the 2015-2016 season, where he played in 32 games, spending some of the season in South Carolina as well.
2017-2018 SEASON SUMMARY
Lewington was arguably the Bears best defenseman all season. He spent much of the 2017-2018 season anchoring the right side of the second defensive pair for Hershey, being paired with Jonas Siegenthaler later in the season. This pairing seemed to work well for Hershey.
As for scoring, not really Lewington’s calling, he registered two goals and nine assists in 71 games played last season. He led the Bears with 149 penalty minutes. Second on the Bears was Colby Williams with 94 minutes.
2017-2018 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Tyler Lewington during the 2017-2018 season.
Much like Siegenthaler, Lewington isn’t going to blow you away with his offense, as he is a pure defensive defenseman, which shows in his zero points in nine games. Still, he had 17 points last season, so you would like to see at least a couple points by now. Lewington has to prove what few can do: a defensive defensemen that doesn’t hurt his team. He doesn’t have to put up points, but he has to make sure he isn’t the cause of his team getting shellacked with scoring chances because of him. He looked really good in the NHL preseason, but has yet to show himself off in the real thing.
Lewington was able to add a goal and an assist in November, which brought him up to two points in 20 games played. Like Siegenthaler, Lewington isn’t going to score many points, as it’s his defensive game that matters.
Tyler Lewington added four assists to his season totals in December. He now has one goal and five assists in 34 games this year. He is on pace to match last season’s scoring totals, but as we previously noted, scoring will never really be Lewington’s game, as he offers more of physical, sandpaper game.
Lewington has been one of the bright spots for Hershey this season. He is one of only two Bears who are plus players and his plus-1 is tops among the team’s defensemen. His plus/minus rating has taken a bit of a hit during the team’s eight-game losing skid, but that is to be expected. Lewington does not provide much offensively, having tallied one assist in January, but that is not his game. He is a steady stay-at-home defenseman and is the best blueliner in that role on the team. His positioning in his own zone is usually solid and he makes smart decision on passes exiting his own zone. He does not try to force a pass in order to try to hit a home run pass. The Bears have tried that on several occasions and it has resulted in odd-man rushes for the opposing team. He just makes sure that the puck gets out. He has been a key cog in a Bears penalty kill that ranks ninth in the American Hockey League, killing off penalties at a rate of 84.5%. Lewington also provides a physical presence. He leads the team in fights with seven and in penalty minutes with 101. While the Bears would like to have Lewington on the ice and not in the penalty box, it is important not to take his edge away. Overall, Lewington has one goal and six assists on the season. He is deserving of his first call up to the NHL in the event of an injury in Washington.
Lewington continues to anchor the right side of the Bears second defensive pair, most recently with Jonas Siegenthaler. As previously noted the tandem have quickly jelled and become the Bears best defensive pairing as of late. Offensively, the stay at home defenseman scored one goal and two assists in the month of February, giving him two goals and eight assists in 56 games played this season. Lewington remains the top recall candidate should the Caps need to look to Hershey for an emergency call-up. The Capitals will need to make a decision regarding Lewington, as he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Lewington has been Hershey’s best defenseman all season. Yet, the month of March did not start out well for him. He was a season-worst minus-4 in a loss to Lehigh Valley on March 2. He responded by a plus-4 in his next three games. Lewington had no goals and one assist in 11 games played in the month of March. Lewington is tied with Aaron Ness for the lead among Hershey defensemen (who have played in more than half of the games) in plus/minus with a minus-2. The Edmonton, Alberta native leads the team in penalty minutes with 142. He is always there to stand up for his teammates. He has a team-leading 10 fights on the season. His 10th fight earned him an automatic suspension. Lewington has improved every season of his career. He is deserving of a recall to Washington if the Capitals need a defenseman. Lewington will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He currently makes $665,000 AAV under his current deal with the Capitals. A solid cornerstone for the Bears defense over the past few seasons, the Capitals will need to consider re-signing Lewington. However, the Capitals’ defensive prospect pipeline is beginning to flow to Hershey, so the organization will have a number of options to consider.
The re-signing of Tyler Lewington this summer was really a no-brainer from several perspectives. The Bears young blueline prospects are in desperate need of senior leadership, mentoring, and to a certain extent protection, and Lewington fits that role very well for Hershey.
As for Lewington’s career trajectory, there always seems to be an outside need for him in Washington, particularly in an emergency call-up situation. His grit and physical play would fit at the NHL-level. However, Lewington’s new deal is one way, meaning he would need to clear waivers if he was called up to Washington and didn’t stick. His best bet is to show the Caps coaches in September that he belongs. Otherwise, look for Lewington to lead the blueline in Hershey fr the next two seasons.
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