The Capitals have 2 slots to fill on defense. With the departure of Nate Schmidt to Vegas and Karl Alzner to Montreal, one newbie will slot in on the second pairing and another on the third. Let’s look at the likely candidates to fill in this year.
Djoos recently inked a 2 year $1.3 million extension with the Capitals. Though he is small in stature at 6 feet and barely 160 lbs, he is the player most similar to Nate Schmidt. He moves the puck smartly and he could have as much upside as fellow Cap Dmitry Orlov. A nice plus that Schmidt lacked? A booming slap shot.
Djoos was a top 4 defenseman in the AHL this season in points. If he bulks up a bit, Djoos could fill the hole Schmidt left.
Bowey is the most seasoned defense prospect Washington has. Though he hasn’t played in the NHL yet, he has very high situational awareness on offense and a 6’2 210 lb body. He’s a proven leader since he captained the Kelowna Rockets.
The only downside is conduct issues. Bowey published an Instagram post of himself smoking weed.
I personally have no probs w/ Madison Bowey smoking a blunt but I wish he was smarter than to flaunt it when he's trying to get an NHL job.
— CRAN (@crannytran) November 2, 2016
While it’s legal to blaze it in DC, the Caps spoke with him after the incident. He later deleted the post. For a top defensive prospect, that isn’t the image the franchise wants.
Johansen was the Caps 2016 first round pick. The younger brother of Nashville’s Ryan Johansen, Lucas played significant minutes in a shut down roll with Madison Bowey on the Kelowna Rockets. Johansen was praised for his hockey IQ, great stick positioning, and smooth skating. But he isn’t quite physical enough. At 6’2″ and 180 lb, LuJo must bulk up a bit and become more physical. It might take a year or two in Hershey for him, but the upside is high.
Siegenthaler is a big body, stay at home defenseman. At 6’3 and 220 lbs, Siegenthaler efficiently moves the puck from his zone to his forwards.
But his offensive upside is shallow. He lacks a booming slap shot, and his offensive awareness needs work. But at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, Siegenthaler turned heads with his physical play. If Siegenthaler could play similar to Karl Alzner pre-injury, the upside is high.
Lewington could be the rare 7th round pick that pans out. He is sneakily strong in his 6’1” 189 lb frame. He isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas, and likes to impose his will on smaller players in tight areas. And he is not afraid to stand up for his teammates.
But his offensive game could improve. While the upside isn’t huge on Lewington, he could fill in.
Most Caps fans know Hobbs due to this unfortunate hit.
But Hobbs was recently covered on his journey to this year’s development camp. Hobbs came to this years camp in great shape . And it’s showed. He’s drawn comparisons to the loved and hated Mike Green for his smooth skating and offensive upside. The big thing is that he is not a liability in his own end, as these types of high-risk, high-reward players are maligned for not being responsible on defense. Hobbs was told by Barry Trotz to take someone’s spot. Time to see if he does.
Who do you think makes the Caps d-corps this offseason?