By Andrew Miller
Of The Post and Courier Staff
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The future of the NHL’s Washington Capitals franchise just might be Rich Peverley and Jonas Johansson. And to think it all could be getting its start with the South Carolina Stingrays.
Stingrays coach Jason Fitzsimmons put Peverley and Johansson on the same line over the weekend and the two started scoring immediately.
Peverley and Johansson combined for eight goals and two assists in three ECHL games, all South Carolina victories.
Johansson, a 2002 first-round draft pick of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, was sent down to South Carolina last Thursday. To his credit, Johansson didn’t pout and scored on his first shift in a Stingrays uniform on a wraparound shot from behind the net against Gwinnett.
“He’s a great kid, and he’s got all the potential in the world,” Fitzsimmons said. “I mean the kid’s only 20 years old. Jonas should be playing junior hockey right now with kids, but he’s up here playing with the men. He’s got NHL written all over him.”
Johansson added another goal and an assist against the Gladiators. Not to be outdone, Peverley also had two goals and an assist against Gwinnett.
“I think they’ve got a great chemistry,” Fitzsimmons said. “I hope that Washington or Portland (the Capitals’ AHL affiliate) put those two together at some point. I think there’s something there.”
That would be OK with Peverley.
“We clicked pretty well together,” Peverley said. “Jonas is a great player. He creates a lot offensively. Hopefully if I get to Portland, they’ll put us back together again.”
Johansson had just seven points on three goals and four assists in 32 games with Portland. He was sent back up to the Maine club on Wednesday.
“I think this gave me some confidence,” Johansson said. “In the AHL, things happen so much faster. Down here, you’ve got more time to make things happen. It was a good experience for me.”