Lewington tries to fight his way onto Caps

Lewington tries to fight his way onto Caps
July 22, 2013, 3:00 am
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Now that the Capitals’ weeklong development camp is over and players have lugged their equipment bags back to their summer residences, we’re taking a look back at the impressions left by a handful of Caps’ prospects and what lies ahead for each.

Today's final installment: Defenseman Tyler Lewington

The list of late-round draft picks who made it big in the NHL is a long and talented one.

Brooks Laich was passed over 192 times before the Ottawa Senators took him in 2001.

Anson Carter was taken 220th overall by Quebec. Dustin Byfuglien 245th by Chicago.

Jaroslav Halak was taken 271st by Montreal; Matt Moulson 263rd by Pittsburgh; Pavol Demitra 227th by Ottawa; Vladimir Konstantinov 221st by Detroit; Joe Pavelski 205th by San Jose; Dominik Hasek 207th by Chicago.

Tyler Lewington is hoping to be one of those guys.

Passed over 203 times at the June 30 NHL draft in Newark, Lewington was following the draft online from his family’s home in Sherwood Park, Alberta when the Caps selected him with their final selection of the seventh round.

“I felt confident I had a chance,” Lewington said. “I talked to Washington at the [Scouting] Combine in Toronto and they showed interest, so I kind of had an idea.”

Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney describes Lewington, 18, as a “stay-at-home defenseman who competes. He skates well, works hard.”

Mahoney said Lewington also impressed him with his strength testing at the Combine, where the 6-foot-1, 189-pound blue liner bench-pressed 150 pounds 16 times; completed 42 pushups [25 per minute]; and had his push strength measured at 340 pounds – all tops among draft prospects.

“I felt I showed I’m a hard-working guy in the gym,” Lewington said. “It shows character. Obviously, they’re looking at what you do on ice, but it shows all the work you put in off the ice as well.”

Lewington was ranked 66th among North American skaters by Central Scouting and is coming off a solid season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western League. In 69 games he recorded two goals, 24 assists, a team-high 131 penalty minutes and was a plus-14.

“I’m a tough, defensive defenseman, a good skater,” he said. “I try to be hard to play against and make it hard for other teams.”

Lewington, 18, couldn’t show his fighting prowess at the Caps’ development camp because coach Adam Oates instituted a no-fight rule before the players hit the ice. Besides, he said, it’s tough to drop the gloves against guys that are dressing beside you in the locker room.

“You’re dressing with these guys and you get to know them pretty good,” he said. “If it came down to it I don’t think I’d back down. There were a few dirty hits, but nobody felt it was the place to drop the mitts.”

Lewington will return to Medicine Hat for a third season in September, where he expects to take on more of a leadership role in his quest to earn a pro contract with the Hershey Bears in the coming years.

“There’s no time frame on it,” he said. “Whenever the time’s right. It’s not a rush. It’s a long process. Obviously I’m not even close [to the NHL]. There’s a lot of stuff I need to work on. But when the time is right I’m sure it will happen.”