The Washington Capitals traded down in the 2021 NHL Draft, dealing their No. 75 pick for the No. 80 and No. 176 picks. With the 80th overall selection, they went with another right-handed defenseman: Brent Johnson.
When he was picked, Johnson said he was looking down at his phone. Then, he heard his name, and it all kicked in.
“It was pretty exciting,” Johnson noted via Zoom. “My heart kind of dropped for a second. A lot of emotions all at once.”
Johnson is the second defenseman Washington selected in this draft, following Vincent Iorio (No. 55). He’s ranked 38th among all North American skaters for this draft and is committed to play at the University of North Dakota next season.
“It’s been an unreal experience. Dream come true for sure. I’ve been working toward this for a long time now and it was special to have my family here with me. It’s something I’ll never forget,” Johnson said.
The Dallas, Texas native laced ’em up for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede as a rookie last season. In 47 games, he registered 11 goals and 32 points and was a plus-15. Johnson led all Sioux Fall blueliners in scoring and was fifth in scoring among all USHL defensemen. Additionally, he was named to the USHL’s All-Rookie Team and Second All-Star Team.
READ MORE ON WHN: Meet Washington Capitals No. 55 Pick Vincent Iorio
Johnson, a 5-11, 165-pound defenseman, is a strong puck mover. He has tremendous playmaking abilities and relies on a strong breakout pass, and he loves to join the rush. Johnson can also go undetected and be a deceiving player. He’s also an impressive skater who doesn’t shy away from throwing his weight around and can force turnovers.
“I really like Cale Makar,” Johnson said in regards to who he models his game after. “He’s an elite player, he’s really fun to watch. He has tools that I want to have in my game one day.”
Johnson, who says the myth is that he was named after the former Capitals goaltender, had multiple conversations with Washington before they drafted him. He said those talks went extremely well and that he looked forward to learning more about the team.
“I just think it’s a great culture, great organization,” Johnson said, adding, “I’m excited to get to back work and see how I fit into that team one day, hopefully.”