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Johansen feeling at home at Capitals development camp

Washington 2016 first-round pick easing into process with encouragement from junior-hockey teammate

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Lucas Johansen received a text message shortly after being selected by the Washington Capitals with the 28th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft.

It was from Madison Bowey, his former teammate with Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. Bowey and Johansen could be teammates again soon; Bowey was picked by the Capitals in the second round (No. 53) in 2013.

"[Bowey] was one of the first guys to text me, and he tweeted at me too, so we're pretty good friends," Johansen, 18, said. "It's nice to have a guy that I know in the locker room."

Johansen and Bowey were paired together with Kelowna and they're together again at Capitals development camp this week. Bowey is fresh off his first professional season with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and Johansen is wide-eyed, just trying to soak in everything he can.

Video: Capitals draft D Lucas Johansen No. 28

"He's a great player," Bowey said of Johansen. "He slows the game down with his speed. He's a great skater, great hockey IQ. He's young and has a ways to go, but he's in a great spot right now. And if he keeps on improving at the level he is, he's going to be up here in no time."

Johansen's week got off to a bit of a rough start when he missed the first day of camp because of a stomach illness. But he was back on the ice Tuesday and dutifully fielded questions after practice about his older brother, Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen.

Lucas Johansen said he's gained a lot from watching Ryan, five years older, reach the NHL.

"Sometimes this game and what we do here today can be stressful and you only get to do this whole process once," Johansen said he learned from his brother. "Make sure you enjoy it and soak it all in, and at the same time make sure you're improving your weaknesses. Hopefully when the team gives you an opportunity you'll be ready to go."

Johansen said he knows he has a long way to go to reach the NHL. But he may have a better perspective on what it takes than most young players because of what Ryan, who was the fourth pick of the 2010 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, went through. Lucas said he knows being a first-round draft pick isn't a guarantee of future success.

"You can't get caught up in all the hype with the draft," Johansen said. "After all it's just a number and just an opportunity to prove yourself. It's the beginning of a long road, so that's kind of how I look at it. It's been a roller coaster, but nonetheless it's been really good. It's been fun."

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