We continue breaking down the last 12 months for each of the Washington Capitals prospects 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 right here.)
Lewington, 24, a 6’-1” right handed defenseman from Edmonton, Alberta, was selected by the Capitals in 7th round (#204 overall) of the 2013 NHL entry draft. Lewington signed a contract extension with the Capitals in May 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.
He played the entire 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons with the Bears. He primarily played for the Bears in 2018-19 but was called up to the Caps briefly during the 2018-19 season after there were injuries to defensemen. He played in two games and registered a Gordie Howe hat trick in his second game.
2018-2019 SEASON SUMMARY
Lewington registered three goals and 15 assists in 59 regular season games, which was slightly better than his 2017-18 production.
He was called up to the Washington Capitals in December and, while there, played in 2 games and scored 1 goal and had 1 assist in a game where he had a Gordie Howe hat trick
2018-2019 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2018-2019 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Lewington continues to be a steadying presence on the Hershey blueline. The quintessential stay-at-home defenseman has been paired mostly with familiar partners Aaron Ness and Lucas Johansen. He once again has been a good influence on Johansen, as the young defenseman’s game has improved while playing alongside Lewington. He is also an anchor on the penalty kill. The Edmonton native still sticks up for his teammates. When rookie forward Shane Gersich was drilled on a charge by Charlotte’s Josiah Didier, Lewington stepped up and fought Didier. It cost him 17 minutes in penalties, but the message was sent that if an opponent goes after a teammate, they will have to answer to Lewington. Offensively, Lewington does not contribute much, but does have a goal and an assist in 11 games. That is not much, but he is likely to surpass his goal total of two from last season. Lewington is overdue for a chance to make his NHL debut, one that could come this season.
November was not a good month for Lewington. After finishing October with a minus-1 rating, he is minus-9 in 10 games in November. Granted, that number is not all on him. He has seen a revolving door of defense partners. He has partnered with just about every left-handed defenseman Hershey has. It has been hard for him to develop any kind of chemistry with his partner. It would benefit him to have a steady partner for a period of time. Still, Lewington’s play can be better. His game has taken a dip in all areas and that is something he can correct, no matter who his partner is. He turned the puck over at the blueline against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on November 28 and it led to a breakaway goal for Thomas DiPauli in the first period. Lewington needs to get back to playing his steady defensive game. That will benefit him and his team.
The rugged defenseman deservedly earned his first recall to the NHL with the Capitals. He played in two games with the Capitals, netting his first career NHL goal with a first period goal against the Ottawa Senators on December 29. Lewington added his first career assist and fight to earn his first NHL Gordie Howe hat trick. As for Hershey, Lewington played just five games in December and was playing well prior to being recalled by the Caps. He had a goal and two assists in his last two games in Hershey prior to his recall and was also a plus-2 on the month after having a rough December defensively.
Lewington has stepped up since returning from the Washington Capitals. He played well in the NHL and has taken confidence from that experience. He is playing with Aaron Ness again to form a strong first defense-pairing for the Bears. The duo face the opposing teams top scoring line on a nightly basis and they have succeeded. He was a plus-4 in January and is the quintessential stay-at-home defenseman. He is a smart player in his own zone and always stands up for his teammates. If he continues to play this way, another recall to the NHL could be in the future, especially if the defensive struggles of the Capitals continue.
The rugged defenseman was a plus-5 for February and teamed with Aaron Ness to form Hershey’s top defense-pairing. The pair draw the opposition’s top offensive players every game. Lewington sees a lot of time on the penalty kill, usually joining Ness as the first pairing over the boards to kill a penalty. The stay-at-home blueliner kicked in some offense in the month. Lewington scored his third goal of the season against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 13, one off his career-high in that statistic. He also added three assists, including one on Jonas Siegenthaler’s game-winning goal at Hartford on February 27. The Edmonton, Alberta native has equaled his point total from last season with 11.
Lewington is one of the anchors of the Hershey defense. He teams with Aaron Ness to form the top defensive-pairing for the Bears, serving as a physical presence on the blueline who always sticks up for his teammates. The Edmonton, Alberta native sees a lot of time on the penalty kill, often being among the first penalty killers to take the ice. After posting a plus-5 in the month, Lewington is plus-6 for the season, second on the team behind Ness. Offensively, he dished out three assists in March to bring his season total to 11, two more than his total last year. He has also surpassed his goal output from last season with three goals and his point total with 14.
To finish out the regular season for Hershey, Lewington played in 6 games. He earned one assists and was +1. For the playoffs, he played in 8 games and was -6. He played in all five games of Round 1 and was 0 in the Plus/Minus. For Round 2, he missed one game and was -6 for the round in a series where the team, as a whole, struggled.
Given that Lewington has only a one way contract, he would need to clear waivers if he’s called up to Washington but can’t stick. There is always is 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. He produced a goal in his one call-up to the Caps but needs to show the Caps coaches in September that he belongs more than their other prospects.
With Brooks Orpik likely leaving the team and rumors of Matt Niskanen being traded to give the Caps more room under the salary cap, there will be possible openings on the blue line. Otherwise, look for Lewington to lead the blueline in Hershey this coming season.
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By Diane Doyle