ARLINGTON, VA- Amid the frenzy and chaos surrounding the NHL Expansion Draft, the Washington Capitals have made a small yet important move for their NHL and AHL development. The Capitals announced today the signing of Christian Djoos to a two-year extension. Djoos spent the entirety of the 2016-17 campaign in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.
The 22-year-old native of Sweden just finished his second full season as a pro in North America. It was an outstanding year for the young Swede as he finished third in the AHL among defenders with 58 points in 66 games. Djoos would be one of the many Hershey players to fall to injury but he found his stride quickly once he returned in mid-November.
He found himself thrust into the top pairing due to injuries to Madison Bowey and Aaron Ness. He settled into the role with the help of his veteran partner Tom Gilbert. Immediately after Gilbert arrived in February, Djoos went on a six-game point streak in. He played a key role on both the power play and penalty killing units. By the end of the season, Djoos had 13 goals and 45 assists, smashing his career highs for both (8G, 14A).
The most noticeable aspect of Djoos’ game as the year went on was how he gained confidence. Toward the beginning of the year, he was hesitant to shoot the puck and made turnovers due to overpassing. Eventually, however, he would break out of that shell and utilize his weapons to his advantage.
On the very same shift, Djoos bluffs a defender, skates around him and gets a quality scoring chance. pic.twitter.com/kyZaCD7b22
— Sin Bin Bears (@SinBinBears) March 27, 2017
Djoos tying goal on the powerplay. pic.twitter.com/C9B4N4C0bk
— Sin Bin Bears (@SinBinBears) May 7, 2017
Djoos was recognized in Hershey for his excellent play and was given the team’s Dan Sernoffsky Most Improved Player Award and Milton Garland Memorial Award for Best Defenseman. He finished third on the Bears in scoring behind Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque.
Djoos’ new contract will be a two-way deal for 2017-18 and then becomes a one-way deal in 2018-19. With the Capitals losing Nate Schmidt in the expansion draft, it is clear that Djoos has caught the eyes of the Capitals and will have a shot to prove himself.