It’s been a busy week in the offseason. The Washington Capitals lost breakout star Vitek Vanecek to the Kraken in the expansion draft. Yesterday they had to sit back and watch the First Round of the 2021 Draft go by without a pick. Today was their moment, though. Here’s a look at every pick by the Caps in the 2021 Draft.
Vincent Iorio (D), 2nd Round, 55th overall
Hometown: Coquitlam, British Columbia, CAN
Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Build: 6’3” 194lbs
Iorio has played the last 3 seasons with the Wheat Kings. Despite the differences in seasons thanks to the pandemic, it’s clear through his stats that he has been steadily becoming an offensive-minded defenseman. He went from 5 points in 50 games in ‘18-’19 to 21 points in 59 games in ‘19-’20 to 12 points in 22 games in ‘20-’21. According to scouts, his shot is deadly accurate and he likes to head fake. Washington will likely let him finish his fifth season in Brandon before making any decisions.
Brent Johnson (D), 3rd Round, 80th overall
Hometown: Dallas, Texas, USA
Team: Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), committed to University of North Dakota (NCAA) for ‘22-’23
Build: 5’11” 165lbs
From his stats, Johnson is a playmaker at heart. In his one full season (47 games) with the Stampede, 21 of his 32 points were assists. According to scouts, he wants to be an asset in whatever way he can; Johnson will fill gaps, spot weaknesses, shoot, or pass to teammates with better shots in order to make a difference. The Washington Capitals will most likely allow their third round draft pick to develop in North Dakota for a few seasons before giving him a chance.
Joaquim Lemay (D), 4th Round, 119th overall
Hometown: St-Pierre-Les-Becquets, Quebec, CAN
Team: Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL), committed to University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA) for ‘21-’22
Build: 6’1” 172lbs
Lemay only played 15 games this year, all in the BCHL. It was his only season in the league. It’s hard to project what kind of player Lemay will be without having been established in a league. However, based on his stats from all leagues in the last three years, it seems that he prefers to be a passer than a shooter. He had 10 assists this year, but no goals. The Washington Capitals will likely leave their fourth round draft pick in the NCAA to get a better perspective on him and to have him further develop.
Haakon Hänelt (F), 5th Round, 151st overall
Hometown: Berlin, GER
Team: Eisbären Berlin (DEL)
Build: 6’0” 183lbs
Hänelt has only spent one season in Berlin so far. In 22 games, he scored one goal but had zero assists. He has played in the U17 World Juniors and the U18 World Juniors twice. He had three goals and an assist across 8 games in U17 (2019). In 2020, he had two goals and four assists in five games. This year, he captained Team Germany but did not post any points in 2 games. I foresee Hänelt staying in Germany.
Dru Krebs (D), 6th Round, 176th overall
Hometown: Okotoks, Alberta, CAN
Team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)
Build: 6’0” 181lbs
Krebs has had two seasons in the WHL with the Tigers. In his 78 WHL games, he scored three goals and posted 22 assists over those two seasons. According to scouts, his strength lies in his skating. He’s a skilled skater who can fake out and evade opposition with ease. I see the Caps leaving him in the W until he ages out. One of his brothers, Peyton, was drafted 17th overall by the Golden Knights and has played four NHL games. Hopefully, Dru learns from him.
Chase Clark (G), 6th Round, 183rd overall
Hometown: Williamsville, New York, USA
Team: Tri-City Storm (USHL), Jersey Hitmen (NCDC)
Build: 6’6” 218lbs
The three games Clark played in the USHL aren’t a good sample size. He was 0-3 with a .899 save percentage; ouch. The NCDC is a collegiate development league in the northeastern US. He spent his 2021 season in Jersey, where he did much better. He was 18-2-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average, .935 save percentage, and he led his team to win the NCDC championship. It’s not a league heard much about, so the Capitals will most likely let him play in the USHL for a few more teams if he doesn’t move on to college. I don’t see much of a future in the organization past the ECHL.
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-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)