Photo: Sioux Falls Stampede
On the second day of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Washington Capitals chose right-handed defenseman Brent Johnson with the 80th pick overall. The Capitals traded down from #75 to #80 in a deal with the New York Rangers. The Capitals also received the Rangers 176th overall pick in the draft.
Johnson has committed to the University of North Dakota and plans to play there for the 2021-22 season. Last season, he played for the Sioux Falls Stampede, played in 47 games for them, scoring 11 goals and recording 21 assists for 32 points overall. He lead all defensemen on the team in goals, assists, and points.
His point total helped him break the team rookie record for points by a defenseman. He worked his way up on projected draft boards but then his season ended in April due to a shoulder injury. He is also the first player from Texas to sign up with the UND program. He was named to both the All Rookie Team and the All-USHL Second Team.
Photo by Jasen Robbennolt/Sioux Falls Stampede
Prior to playing with the Stampede, in the 2019-20 season, he played for the Little Caesars 16-Under AAA team. Before that, he played in the Dallas Stars Elite youth program.
Johnson’s coach at the University of North Dakota, Brad Barry, spoke about his game, “He’s got a lot of confidence in his game as a young player. He did a lot of great things in the USHL as a young player there, scoring 11 goals his rookie season. He has confidence in his game with the puck. He knows he has to get stronger. That’s part of the maturity process at North Dakota, pushing his game to what he needs to be at.”
The Elite Prospects Site had the following writeup, “Without the puck, he’s always filling space, getting as deep in the zone as possible without letting his man slip behind him. He sneaks down the weak side. The transition deception translates to his playmaking, where he takes passes into a shooting stance, then immediately passes to a more dangerously positioned teammate. Simply put, Johnson wants to be a difference-maker — that mentality is tough to teach.”
The Dobber Hockey site says the following about him, “A skilled two-way defender who has been arguably the best blueliner in the USHL this year of any age. He shows excellent puck-moving ability and he drives excellent possession numbers as well. He may wind up being a more valuable player in real life than fantasy but should provide some points-only value as well.”
Last Word on Hockey has the following writeup, “Johnson is an excellent skater. This helps him to really push the offence for Sioux Falls. He loves to rush the puck up the ice and join the attack. He is also a good passer at the blue line. Johnson has the poise to control the puck and the vision to find the open man. He can pass the puck through tight seems to create scoring chances. Johnson also has an excellent slap shot and wrist shot. He will need to add muscle to his frame and work on his defense going forward.”
Highlights Reel of Johnson for NHL Draft
Highlights Real of Johnson’s Goals for 2020-21
From the 2005-06 through 2008-09 seasons, the Capitals had a goaltender named Brent Johnson. After his playing career, that particular Brent Johnson returned to become an analyst for NBC Sports Washington. He is also the Head Goalie Coach for the Little Capitals’ youth hockey team.
Johnson becomes the 6th in North Dakota program history drafted by Washington. Others were: Shane Gersich – 2014 (5th Round), Brett Bruneteau – 2007 (4th Round), Joe Finley – 2005 (1st Round), Wade Bartley – 1988 (2nd Round), and Lee Davidson – 1986 – (8th Round). T.J. Oshie, a current Capital, also played with UND. He was drafted by the St Louis Blues in the first round of the 2004 NHL Draft.
Johnson was one of six players drafted from the Sioux Falls Stampede program which was the most selected from them in any given draft. The others were: Cole Sillinger (Twelth Overall by Columbus Blue Jackets), Evan Nause, Cal Thomas, Arseni Sergeyev, and Cam MacDonald.
On Friday, the first day of the draft, he was accompanied by his mother and father and one of his precious coaches, Chris Farb, although he did not expect to hear his name called. On the second day, he came with many more people: aunts, uncles, cousins and his old billet family from Sioux Falls.
Johnson described being drafted as an “Unreal experience and a dream come true”. He also said, “”I’ve been working towards this for a long time now. It was special to have my family here with me. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
“I’ve been working towards this for a long time now. It was special to have my family here with me. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 24, 2021
By Diane Doyle
Capitals Select Defenseman Brent Johnson In The Third Round Of The 2021 NHL Entry Draft
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UND Fighting Hawks News: Men’s Hockey: Brent Johnson Selected by Washington Capitals in Third Round of 2021 NHL Entry Draft
Elite Prospects: Profile of Brent Johnson
Last Word on Sports: Hockey NHL Draft Scouting Reports Prospects: Brent Johnson
Dobber Hockey: Prospects — Brent Johnson
Sioux Falls Stampede: Article on 2020 NHL Draft