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Capitals Promote Johansen To Taxi Squad As Team Navigates Blue Line



Capitals defenseman Lucas Johansen

As the Washington Capitals continue to navigate a wild season and prepare for a 10-game slate in February, they have brought defenseman Lucas Johansen back up to the taxi squad.

On Monday, Washington assigned him from the AHL’s Hershey Bears to the taxi squad, where he can remain for no more than 20 days. He comes up to help fill in for Michal Kempny, who is on COVID-19 protocol, and Nick Jensen, who is still recovering from an upper-body injury.

Johansen made his NHL debut on Dec. 31 against Detroit, picking up his first NHL assist on a great pass up ice to Evgeny Kuznetsov. He wasn’t happy with the tape-to-tape precision but was thrilled to be a part of a big win for Washington to close out 2021.

“It was pretty cool. Every kid playing hockey growing up you wanna play in the NHL,” Johansen said of his debut. “I tried to just focus in and not really look around and take it in. But definitely now that it’s over, I can in retrospect really enjoy tonight. And obviously, it was a great win.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Kuznetsov Earns Trip To 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend In Vegas

He skated a total of 12:08 minutes in his first game, dishing a helper and a +1 plus/minus rating.

“[I] felt pretty good the whole game. To be honest, just sitting around is probably the worst part. I was pretty anxious and excited, but once the game started we’ve all done it a thousand times,” Johansen added. “It was just a matter of getting in there getting physical and getting into the game and trying to contribute as best I could.”

Through 31 games with Hershey this season, he has three goals, 10 assists and +16 plus/minus rating. He is on pace to set a new career-high in scoring this season with 28 points. Through 164 AHL games, the 24-year-old has 12 goals and 58 points.

Johansen originally went to the Capitals at No. 28 in the 2016 NHL Draft. He is the younger brother of Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen.