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Capitals Recall Johansen, McIlrath As Defensive Injuries Pile Up



Capitals defenseman Lucas Johansen

The Washington Capitals have made a couple of recalls ahead of Sunday’s tilt with the Winnipeg Jets, bringing up defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath from the Hershey Bears.

Johansen impressed in training camp but was one of the final cuts. He started the year in Hershey, but he has played in one game for Washington this season. In 12 games down with the Bears this season, the 25-year-old has one goal and one assist and is a minus-4. He has dealt with some injuries this season as well, but for the majority of the time, has been playing top-4 minutes.

McIlrath, meanwhile, is Hershey’s captain and is under contract with the Capitals through the remainder of the season. Through 22 games, he has five assists and 36 penalty minutes and is a plus-1. He had been suspended for two regular season games from an illegal check to the head in the 2021 preseason. However, he served that two-game regular season suspension during this preseason due to an NHL/NHLPA settlement. So, he is eligible to play. The 6-5, 232-pound blueliner has played in 66 career NHL games, recording five points and 121 penalty minutes.

With both Johansen and McIlrath up with the big club, the Bears have recalled defensemen Michael Kim and Martin Has from the ECHL-affiliate South Carolina Stingrays. Hershey plays the Cleveland Monsters at 5 p.m. ET.

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The call-ups come as the team navigates several blue line injuries. Martin Fehervary is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury he suffered against the Calgary Flames. Also, Dmitry Orlov has missed the last 16 games as he deals with a lingering lower-body injury. However, he did travel on this two-game trip, so it’s a good sign. And then, Alex Alexeyev, who was filling in for the missing blueliners, went down with an upper-body injury after taking an elbow to the face from Jamie Oleksiak.

Fehervary and Orlov are on the injured reserve. Alexeyev is not listed as being on the IR at this time.

In addition to the injuries on defense, Darcy Kuemper is also navigating an upper-body injury after taking an elbow to the head from Tyler Toffoli against Calgary. Hunter Shepard is up from Hershey to back up Charlie Lindgren. Lindgren has started the last three games.