The Washington Capitals have been forced into more callups from Hershey as they continue to deal with a seemingly neverending rash of injuries. This time it comes in the form of two defenders, namely Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath.
Johansen played in his second NHL game earlier this season while McIlrath has not seen NHL action since the 2019-20 campaign.
NEWS | The Washington Capitals have recalled defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath from the Hershey Bears.https://t.co/N9oXjOGzyr
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 11, 2022
The two blueliners arrive to the big squad from the AHL due to multiple injury concerns on the Capitals’ backend. Dmitry Orlov has missed the last 16 games with a lower-body ailment, while both Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev recently suffered upper-body injuries. Both Orlov and Fehervary are still on injured reserve.
Alexeyev may join them on IR after taking a brutal headshot from Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak on Friday. The young Russian left that game early and did not return. Oleksiak was suspended three games for the hit on Saturday.
Even if Alexeyev were to head to the IR, the Caps would still need to make one more roster spot open for these moves. They are currently carrying three goaltenders as Darcy Kuemper has not dressed since being injured on December 3.
Johansen got into just his second NHL game for the Caps against the Oilers on November 7. The Vancouver native was drafted 28th overall by the organization in 2016. He has spent the vast majority of his professional career with the Bears in the AHL and has one goal and one assist in 12 games with Hershey this season.
McIlrath, Hershey’s captain, hasn’t seen any ice at the NHL level since playing in 16 games for the Detroit Red Wings in 2019. The last notable thing he did in a Capitals jersey was get suspended for two preseason games and two regular-season games for a preseason headshot on Steven Fogarty in 2021. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that the rugged defenseman served that suspension this past preseason due to an NHL and NHLPA settlement and is available for selection.
McIlrath, btw, served his two-game suspension stemming from an illegal check to the head in the 2021 preseason this past preseason. The NHL and NHLPA had a settlement in the fall that allowed him to serve his suspension in the preseason. So he's eligible to suit up for the #Caps. https://t.co/F1TictfRZl
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) December 11, 2022
To cover for the losses of both Johansen and McIlrath as well as an injury to Bobby Nardella, the Hershey Bears made two recalls of their own from ECHL South Carolina. Defenseman Michael Kim and Capitals 2019 fifth-round draft pick Martin Has have both arrived in the AHL from the Stingrays.
Here’s the full press release from the Capitals:
Capitals Recall Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath
The Washington Capitals have recalled defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Johansen, 25, recorded two points (1g, 1a) in 12 games with Hershey this season. The Vancouver, British Columbia native also appeared in one game for Washington this season, recording 11:47 of ice time on Nov. 7 against the Edmonton Oilers. Johansen made his NHL debut and recorded his first career point on Dec. 31, 2021 against the Detroit Red Wings. The 6’2″, 180-pound defenseman recorded 28 points (8g, 20a) in 62 games with Hershey during the 2021-22 season, establishing AHL career highs in goals, points and plus/minus (20). Johansen finished the season ranked first among Hershey defensemen in plus/minus and second in goals, assists and points. In 207 career AHL career games with Hershey, Johansen has recorded 75 points (18g, 57a). The Capitals selected Johansen with their first-round pick, 28th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
McIlrath, 30, recorded five assists in 22 games with Hershey this season. The 6’5″, 232-pound defenseman ranks second on Hershey with 36 penalty minutes and his five points are tied for the third-most among Hershey defensemen. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has played 66 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings, recording five points (3g, 2a) and 121 penalty minutes. In 522 career AHL games with Hershey, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Springfield and Connecticut, McIlrath has recorded 105 points (27g, 78a) and 1,038 penalty minutes. Additionally, McIlrath won the 2017 Calder Cup with the Grand Rapid Griffins. McIlrath was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 10th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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