The Washington Capitals inked 2013 seventh round draft pick Tyler Lewington to a three-year, entry-level deal earlier this week as they added another defenseman to their prospect pipeline. Lewington currently captains the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, in his fourth year with the junior club.
He’s averaged .43 points per game in 236 Western Hockey League games and posted a career high 38 points in 68 games last year. After posting seven goals last season, the 20-year-old Canadian has achieved a career high eight goals this season with more games left to played in the regular season.
He plays a similar game to that of the Hershey Bears’ Patrick Wey, a right hand shot that plays simplistic. Lewington impressed scouts at the 2013 NHL scouting combine, where his results in strength tests opened eyes that led to his selection in the draft by Washington in the final round.
“Lewington, 20, was drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round, 204th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft and spent the last four seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Lewington registered 38 points (eight goals, 30 assists) and 91 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Tigers this season and has served as the team’s captain. The Sherwood Park, Alberta, native leads Medicine Hat skaters in penalty minutes (91) and ranks first among Tigers defensemen in points and assists.”
“Lewington registered 38 points (7g, 31a) and 121 penalty minutes in 68 games with Medicine Hat in 2013-14. The 6’1”, 189-pound defenseman finished the season ranked first on the team in penalty minutes, fifth in assists, seventh among Tigers skaters in points and 22nd in the WHL in penalty minutes. In 2012-13, Lewington collected two goals and 24 assists along with 131 penalty minutes in 69 games with Medicine Hat. He led the team in penalty minutes and finished the season ranked 66th on Central Scouting’s final rankings. Lewington made his WHL debut in 2011-12 and appeared in 44 games in his first season.” –Capitals PR
While not an imposing defenseman based on his size, Lewington’s acumen on the blue line is welcomed in a growing Capitals system of talented defenseman. Along with Connor Carrick, Nate Schmidt and Patrick Wey on the backend in Hershey, Lewington adds to an already talented pool of defensemen that will play for the Hershey Bears for a significant amount of time after being acquired by the Capitals, via either the draft or free agency (Schmidt).
“When you look at Lewington and see his 6’1, 189 pound frame you wouldn’t think that he is a ridiculously strong physical specimen. At the 2013 NHL scouting combine he absolutely destroyed the competition and finish first in bench Press, push-ups, push strength, and pull-strength. With that frame you can imagine he’s a no-nonsense physically punishing defenseman. He likes to hit, drop the gloves, and frustrate opponents. He has a lot of work to do on his offensive game but the physical aspect of his game is second to none at his current level.” –Hockey’s Future
The hype surrounding Lewington following his addition to the Capitals system is small and so are the expectations of him becoming an NHL regular. He’ll be another important young player the Hershey Bears implement to their roster in hopes of developing him into a third pairing defenseman with the Capitals.
Even if Lewington doesn’t pan out into an NHL regular, having these types of players on a hockey team are important. Filling an AHL roster with younger talent with potential is far more important than just adding veterans on AHL contracts that have a minimal chance of ever reaching the NHL.
Becoming a more aggressive player in the offensive zone is part of Lewington’s game that could grow in Troy Mann’s system with the Hershey Bears, along with growing his ability in the defensive zone, something all young defense work on. Turning into a spring penalty killer is another aspect where a player that is limited in upside like Lewington can improve and become a more attractive piece in the Capitals organization.
Matthew Speck covers the Washington Capitals organization for The Hockey Writers. He provides coverage of both Washington at the NHL level and prospect related content. Matthew also covers local sports for the Lebanon Daily News in Central Pennsylvania. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.