Lucas Johansen: 2022 Annual Review And Forecast


We continue our Washington Capitals prospect review and forecast series with Lucas Johansen, defenseman for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or right here.)

VITALS

Johansen, 24, from Port Moody, British Columbia, was a first round draft pick (#28 overall) by the Washington Capitals in the 2016 NHL entry draft. Johansen, a left hander, is a restricted free agent this off-season. He signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Capitals on July, 28, 2021.

CAREER SUMMARY

Johansen had pretty good offensive numbers for his second year with the Kelowna Rockets. At just 18 years of age, Johansen notched 10 goals and 39 assists for 49 points in 69 games during the 2015-2016 season.

Johansen tallied six goals, 35 assists for 41 points in 68 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL in 2016-17. That was good enough for second among Rockets defensemen in points, goals, and assists.

Johansen moved to the Hershey Bears for the 2017-2018 season. After a slow start, offensively, Johansen began to show signs of his scoring abilities during the latter half of the season. Defensively, it’s difficult to capture Johansen’s overall progress last season, considering the blueline issues with the Bears.

It was a disappointing 2018-2019 season for “LuJo”. A significant injury, compounded by less than average play made the 2018-2019 season a forgettable one for him. His puck handling and passing struggled quite a bit this season, particularly passing in his own zone, and puck management at the blueline, and entering the opponents zone.

Offensively, Johansen tallied just three goals and 11 assists in 45 games played in the regular season. He registered just 50 shots in those 45 games. Johansen was 20th on the Bears in points per game with a .31 points per game average. He was 14th on the Bears in PIMs with 22 for the regular season. Johansen registered two assists in nine postseason games.

Defensively, Johansen, who played on the bottom pair for a majority of the season, was a -14, second worst on the Bears team (Colby Williams was a -15). Johansen is slowly figuring out his AHL game on the defensive side, but there are still too many miscues and blown assignments.

The 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons were essentially lost seasons for Johansen, who played in just nine games in the 2019-20 season and just five games in the 2020-21 season. He missed the bulk of both season’s due to injury. The seasons were essentially a wash with regards to development.

2021-22 season was Johansen’s best season to date in the AHL. First and foremost, he remained relatively healthy for the entire season, playing in 62 regular season games and all three postseason games. Johansen played in a total of just 133 AHL games in the previous four seasons.

Johansen showed significant progress on both ends of the ice. Offensively, he posted a career year with eight goals and 20 assists during the regular season. He also added an assist in the postseason. Defensively, Johansen showed progress as well, with much fewer blown assignments and turnovers, and showed much better one-on-one play in the defensive zone. He was called up to the Capitals at the end of December and made his NHL debut on December 31 against the Red Wings in Detroit and recorded an assist in the game.

2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS

The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Lucas Johansen during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.

OCTOBER
Johansen has been the most pleasant surprise of the season thus far. After playing only 14 games combined in the past two season, the defenseman suited up for all seven games in October. He played in all situations and has been solid. Johansen scored the first goal of the season for the chocolate and white, scoring on a perfect pass from Garrett Pilon on the back door against Charlotte on October 16.

It was his first goal since April 13, 2019. The Vancouver, British Columbia native also potted an overtime game-winner at Charlotte, lasering his shot into the net.

He has three points this season, nearly equaling his total from the last two seasons combined. Defensively, Johansen has looked more comfortable. His positioning has been better for the most part and his zone exits have been smarter.

TRENDING: UP

NOVEMBER
Having played a total of 14 games the past two seasons, little was expected of Johansen coming into the season. He continues to be a pleasant surprise. The Vancouver, British Columbia native has been the team’s most consistent defenseman. In a month where the team leaked goals, Johansen, who turned 24 on November 16, managed to be a plus seven and only had a single game where he was minus player.

For the season, he has only been a minus twice in 17 games played. The former first round pick has the best plus/minus rating, plus nine, among Hershey defenseman, and is second on the team in that category. Offensively, Johansen contributed three assists in the month and now has six points on the season.

TRENDING: UP

DECEMBER
After missing the first two games of December due to COVID protocols, Johansen skated in five games for the Bears in the month. He had the primary assist on the game-winning goal against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on December 18. Johansen hit Mike Vecchione in stride with a stretch pass.

He was a plus five for the month, improving his rating to a plus 14 for the season. That is the best rating among Hershey defensemen and is second overall on the team. The Vancouver, British Columbia native continues to be the team’s best defenseman. He makes good decisions in his own end and his positioning has been sound.

Johansen was added to the Washington taxi squad on December 27 and made his NHL debut on December 31 against the Red Wings in Detroit.

TRENDING: UP

JANUARY
January was Johansen’s most productive offensive month. He had seven points on the season when 2021 ended and totaled six points in the opening month of 2022. All six of the blue liner’s points were assists. He now has three goals and 10 helpers on the season.

Johansen had his worst game of the season, defensively, at Syracuse on January 7 when he was on the ice for three Crunch goals. He also had two costly turnovers at Lehigh Valley on January 30. Johansen got bodied off the puck in the corner. The mistake led directly to Cal O’Reilly’s shorthanded goal in the first period. Then, his clearing attempt was intercepted by Jackson Cates at the blue line along the right boards and the Phantoms scored the game-winning goal in the immediate aftermath.

In the same game, Johansen had two assists, including the primary helper on Mike Vecchione’s third period tally. It was a bit of good and a bit of bad for Johansen in the game. Overall, Johansen holds the best plus/minus among Hershey defensemen with a plus 16.

TRENDING: SAME

FEBRUARY
Johansen enjoyed a productive month in February. The blueliner amassed nine points for the month, tied for the second most on the Bears. He dished out a team-high eight assists in February.

Johansen registered three, two-assist games in the month. The last of these came in his final game of the month against Utica on February 25. Johansen set up Mike Vecchione’s second period goal when he hit Vecchione in stride with a perfectly placed outlet pass from near the defensive blue line.

Later in the period, he found Brian Pinho in the right circle and Pinho converted to give the Bears a 3-0 lead over Utica.

The Vancouver, British Columbia native is a plus 21 on the season. That rating is the best among Hershey defensemen and is the second-best rating on the team. Johansen missed the final game of February with an upper body injury.

TRENDING: UP

MARCH
Johansen continues to enjoy the best season of his professional career. He tallied two goals and dished out a pair of assists in nine games in March. He scored Hershey’s opening goal in Bridgeport on March 11.

His second goal of the month came in the second period against Lehigh Valley on March 23. He jumped into the play and deposited his shot past Felix Sandstrom on the back door. The goal was Johansen’s seventh of the season, setting a new career high for the defenseman.

He leads the team in plus/minus with a rating of plus 23. The next closest rating among active Bears is a plus 12. Johansen plays a lot penalty kill minutes and also sees time on Hershey’s second power play unit.

TRENDING: UP

APRIL
The Vancouver, British Columbia native continues to enjoy the best season of his professional career. Johansen tallied two goals and dished out a pair of assists in nine games in March. He scored Hershey’s opening goal in Bridgeport on March 11.

His second goal of the month came in the second period against Lehigh Valley on March 23. He jumped into the play and deposited his shot past Felix Sandstrom on the back door. The goal was Johansen’s seventh of the season, setting a new career high for the defenseman.

He leads the team in plus/minus with a rating of plus 23. The next closest rating among active Bears is a plus 12. Johansen plays a lot penalty kill minutes and also sees time on Hershey’s second power play unit.

TRENDING: UP

PLAYER FORECAST

Johansen’s 2021-22 season has set him up for his most important off-season of preparation leading into Capitals training camp this September. The Capitals will be looking to get younger and will have open positions on the Blueline to do just that. Johansen, Alex Alexeyev, Tobias Geisser and possibly even Bobby Nardella, will all be competing for as many as 2-3 open blueline positions, with Johansen holding a very slight edge heading into this off-season.

A strong performance in Capitals training camp will land Johansen a spot on the Capitals opening night roster, likely as a 7th or 8th defenseman to start. He has one disadvantage when compared to Alexeyev, in that Alexeyev can play on both sides, and spent most of last season playing on the right side, his opposite side, for the Bears. Alexeyev also showed well on the right side during his season in the KHL.

Johansen had a much better 2021-22 season than Alexeyev, and thus holds the early edge heading into training camp, but it’s very likely all will be decided in September.

By Jon Sorensen

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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8 Responses to Lucas Johansen: 2022 Annual Review And Forecast

  1. steven says:

    Both Johansen and Alexeyev should be one the Caps roster next year unless injury or the coaches and management just make silly overpriced moves this summer. Its time to start replacing old and aging vets with much younger players and I dont mean by players 28 or 29 years old. This team needs to get younger, faster and less exoensive asap and what better way to start than promoting the younger players in Hershey.

  2. DWGie26 says:

    I think there can be 2 that make the roster as 6 and 7. Let them compete for 3LD throughout season. They both play and both sit and hopefully one will emerge and win the position.

    Then sign a 3RD (who can be in or out ala TVR and Irwin last season. Preferably a more physical body. This will give us a lot of flexibility (but not too much change). With two rookies we’ll need to carry 8.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      With yam Digi, I think this will be the route they go. Add two prospects (Alexeyev, Johansen, Geisser or Nardella), maybe start at 7th and 8th defenseman spots, work them into lineup. Bring in a vet 3D to mentor the youth and hold it down while the youngsters find their way.

  3. Lance says:

    I’d like to see LJ and Alexeev in DC for long stretches next year. I’d see what Orlov is worth in trade. He was excellent this year and his contract is up after this year. He’ll be 30 and i wouldn’t sign him to a large, expensive contract at that age.

    I’d see what Jensen is worth on the trade market also.

    If BMac can sign or trade for a physical Dman you end up with:

    Fehervary – Carlson
    New Guy – TVR
    Johanson – Alexeev

    This D is worse than last year but not a lot worse. And we would get a couple of draft picks for Orlov and Jensen.

    • steven says:

      I would rather trade Carlson if we can get reasonable value. orlov shown no signs of slowing down and at times Jensen was your best D last year. That being said I would have no problem trading either Orlov, with being a UFA next summer might get more for him next Jan or Feb than this summer and the same with Jensen.

      • Lance says:

        Yeah, Carlson is another vet that you could see about. I’m not sure about his no-trade-clause status. Carlson is Ovie’s #1 set up man so I doubt he gets moved. And he’s a terrific offensive defenseman.

        Cheers

    • Anonymous says:

      I can get behind this.👍

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