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Bolstering The Blue Line: Capitals Re-Sign Lucas Johansen To Two-Year Deal



Capitals prospect Lucas Johansen

The Washington Capitals took care of another pending RFA on Friday, as the team re-signed defenseman Lucas Johansen to a two-year extension worth $1.525 million.

Year one of the deal will be a two-way contract that pays $750,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 at the AHL level. The second year will be a one-way contract worth $775,000.

Johansen is coming off a strong 2021-22 campaign that saw him put up eight goals and 20 points in 62 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. He also made his NHL debut, where he recorded his first NHL point and assist off a great breakout pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov.

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The 24-year-old is a top contender for a roster spot this season. The Capitals could be moving on from UFA blueliners Justin Schultz, Michal Kempny and Matt Irwin. Taking that into account, Trevor van Riemsdyk would need a new third-pairing partner. He could also switch back to his natural side.

Alex Alexeyev was also in line to compete with Johansen for a spot but will miss the start of training camp following shoulder surgery in June.

Johansen, the younger brother of Nashville Predators star Ryan, is a talented defenseman and strong skater who is a great puck mover. The 6-2, 176-pound defenseman can also rip the puck from the point and can play multiple roles at even strength and on special teams.

He went 28th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft and has worked through adversity while continuing to elevate his game and take it to the next level.

Johansen would be the third RFA to receive an extension this offseason, joining Hershey teammates Brett Leason and Beck Malenstyn. Washington still has outstanding RFAs, including Ilya Samsonov. Vitek Vanecek was on that list before his trade to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.