With the 28th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals selected left-handed defenseman Lucas Johansen of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Minutes before the pick, the Caps swapped first round selections with the Blues and gained back a third-round pick out of the deal, the 87th overall pick. Kelowna is the same WHL team that produced Madison Bowey.
— Madison Bowey (@m_bows4) June 25, 2016
This selection comes nearly two hours after the Caps made their first big move of the night, trading two future second round picks for depth center Lars Eller.
Johansen is the first defenseman the Caps have drafted in the first round since John Carlson in 2008.
Lucas, the younger brother of Nashville Predator Ryan Johansen, is a steady eddie on the backend. He is not someone that is going to stand out to most people watching him but will consistently make smart plays with the puck and use his stick in the defensive zone to break up plays. He is not a physical force but has good size at 6’2″. His shot is not elite or even a strong point, but in the offensive zone he makes smart plays with and without the puck including making the right shots at the right time. Think Matt Niskanen in style.
Lucas Johansen said he became a defenseman because brother, Ryan, always had possession and he had to find a way to stop him.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 25, 2016
Johansen’s breakout 2015-16 season saw the defenseman register ten goals and 39 assists through 69 regular-season contests. He paced the team’s blueliners in goals, assists, and points. He added two goals and eight points in 18 postseason games to help the Rockets reach the Western Conference Championship Series.
Out of the defenseman factory that is Kelowna, the junior team has produced all-stars such as Shea Weber (NSH) and Duncan Keith (CHI) as well as NHL regulars Tyson Barrie (COL), Tyler Myers (WPG), and Luke Schenn (LAK). Johansen will try to be the next great Rocket defenseman, this time for the Washington Capitals.
Most expert rankings had Johansen rated as a second round defenseman, but Bob McKenzie, who polls actual NHL scouts for his ranking, had him right at 28, where the Caps selected him.
#Caps draftee Lucas Johansen grew up idolizing Nicklas Lidstrom. He's looking forward to going up against his brother Ryan someday.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) June 25, 2016
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 25, 2016
A photo posted by Washington Capitals (@capitals) on
Additional reporting and analysis by Spenser Smallwood.
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