The Washington Capitals draft selections are in with the 2021 NHL Draft in the rearview. The NHL Draft was completed with the first round occurring on July 23 and the second through seventh rounds occurring on July 24. The Washington Capitals draft selections took place in rounds two through six as they sat patiently through day one.
2021 NHL Draft: The Washington Capitals Draft Selections
The Capitals did not have a draft selection in the first round due to a trade deal with the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Anthony Mantha, a deal that has proven to be a good one so far. With a lot of activity going on during this off-season, this article takes a second to go into depth about who the Capitals selected with their six draft opportunities. So, who exactly did the Washington Capitals select in the 2021 NHL Draft?
The six new faces for Washington
With the 55th overall draft pick, the Caps selected defenseman Vincent Iorio in the second round as their first selection. Born in Coquitlam, BC, Canada, this right-handed shooter stands at a serious six-foot-three inches and weighs 194 pounds. Iorio has spent the last three seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, a team that is a part of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
The defenseman is coming off a hot season with 12 points in just 22 games; a five-goal and seven assist season. In his 131-game career in the WHL, Iorio has a total of ten goals, 28 assists, and a +/- of ten points. The Canadian-born player ranked #71 overall in North America by NHL Central Scouting.
The second defenseman selected by Washington came in the third round with the 80th overall pick – Brent Johnson. The 18-year-old was born in Dallas, Texas, and skates at six feet in height. Johnson comes from the United States Hockey League (USHL), last playing with the Sioux Falls Stampede team.
Finishing the season with the most points on the team as a defender, Johnson ranked as the 12th best defender in North America by NHL Central Scouting. The right-handed shooter finished last season with a total of 32 points in 47 games played. He reached this benchmark by tacking on 11 goals and 21 assists for his team with a +/- of 15 points. Johnson will continue his career at the University of North Dakota, the alma mater of T.J. Oshie.
The Capitals selected their third defenseman in the fourth round of the draft, selecting Joaquim Lemay as the 119th overall pick. Lemay was ranked at #224 overall in the list of best players in North America by NHL Central Scouting. This third selection by Washington is 18 years in age and comes from Quebec, Canada. The six-foot-one skater just finished a season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
Playing as a lefty, the defenseman finished with ten assists in 15 games. Lemay says he started playing hockey at 3-years-old and claims that his best aspects are agility and vision. Next year, Lemay will attend the University of Nebraska-Omaha to further his skills in the sport of hockey.
With the next selection coming in the fifth round, Washington selected their one-and-only forward, Haakon Hanelt. The centerman comes from Berlin, Germany at 18 years of age and utilizes his left-handed gameplay. Hanelt just finished his first season in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), the all-professional hockey league in Germany. Skating amongst grown men, Hanelt was able to win the championship with his team in the 2020-21 season.
Before professional hockey, the European player represented Germany in international gameplay and skated for the RB Hockey Akademie in the 2019-20 season. Skating for both teams, the lefty finished with 37 points in 46 games played, tallying up 19 goals and 18 assists in that season. Hanelt entered the prospect list ranking #56 overall for European players by NHL Central Scouting.
The second-to-last draft pick for the Capitals was Dru Krebs, selected in the fifth round at 176 overall. Krebs is an 18-year-old defenseman out of Okotoks, AB, Canada and is the second left-handed blueliner that Washington picked up. The Okotoks-native has spent the last two seasons in the WHL, playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
In 78 games played for them, the six-foot skater assisted on 21 goals and had scored three for himself. Last season, Krebs achieved 11 of those 21 assists in 23 games played, the fourth most on his team that season. Ranked at #142 overall in North America by NHL Central Scouting, Krebs already had ties to the NHL prior to the draft. His older brother, Peyton Krebs, currently plays as a forward for the Vegas Golden Knights organization.
Lastly, but very importantly, the Washington Capitals selected a goaltender with their 183rd overall pick in the sixth round. Chase Clark dominates in net-keeping as he is six and a half feet tall. The 19-year-old played for the Jersey Hitmen last season in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). His team won the NCDC Founder’s Cup for having the best regular-season record at 18-2-1.
Clark would go on to lead his team to the USPHL championship for the 2020-21 season. The netminder had a 1.92 goals-against-average (GAA) with a 93.5 save percentage during the regular season. Clark had a 95.2 save percentage in the playoffs to win the championship, only allowing two goals on average. In North America, the goalie was ranked #23 in his position by NHL Central Scouting.
The Washington Capitals drafted a total of six players: four defensemen, one forward, and one goalie. The Capitals were smart in balancing their defensive selections with two right-handed and two left-handed defensemen. With Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov as the young star goalies for this organization, Chase Clark has a lot to look up to. Although these players will not go to the NHL right away, the Capitals have rights to the players’ ownership and will hopefully develop these young hockey players for the next level.