How deep are the Caps? Deep enough to trade a Marcus Johansson?



opinion This week there has been talk of teams having interest in Marcus Johansson.  He will be a Free Agent after this season, but the Caps may be able to re-sign him with the salary cap increasing by an estimated $3 million.  While he might be tradable, should the Caps trade him right now?  Here are some reasons why that might not be a good idea.

The Caps currently do not have a player in the bottom six better than Johansson.

If the Caps trade Johannson, who will replace him in the top six?  The candidates right now would be Burakovsky, Galiev, or Wilson.  Wilson seems cemented as the third line right-wing.  Coach Trotz has seemingly settled on having a true shutdown line, that being, Chimera, Beagle, and Wilson.   The fourth line has been mixing all year, with Bura and Galiev seeing time recently.  Latta and Brown may see time on the fourth line during the season, but if the Caps are to trade MoJo, it’s going to be either Bura or Galiev to take his place in the top six, and neither has proven to be better than MoJo for this season.

The Caps haven’t had many injuries in the forward ranks…yet.

While Orpik might be out for a while, the Caps have been fortunate that no one in the forward ranks have injured for a significant period of time.  Remember when Nick Backstrom was injured?  Remember who played center for the second line?  MoJo, and he did so well, he stayed on the second line.  If the Caps were to lose one of their two stud centers for any period of time, MoJo is the best replacement for the top two lines.  Beagle, while a great center, is better used as a checking line center.  Brooks Laich, while a favorite, doesn’t take faceoffs as much as he used to, and appears to have lost some of his ability following a long running injury.

The Caps have a deep Power Play with Johannson on the first unit.

While some may argue that the team should just put Kuznetsov first forward unit of the power play, keeping Kuzy where he is means that the Caps have two very good units, and their power play is deep.  It makes them harder to defend as a team, since there is no significant drop-off from one unit to the other.  Currently, their Power Play is over 20%.

The Caps are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Like it or not as a Caps fan, this team is one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.  The management team will be active at the trade deadline.  Right now, is just too early to trade Johansson, they have to see how the players develop to see who they should have or might need to make the run.  Then make the right trades at the deadline. This team could use one or two more defensemen, and maybe one more forward.  Johansson could be on the block at that time, and packaged with a prospect, could bring one more key player.  However, if he is an important piece at the deadline, they will not trade him, despite his impending free agent status.

This management team knows this is a Cup run year, and is smart enough to make sure any trade they do is one that will help the team to win, this year.  The closer to the deadline, the more accurate the picture of the team is.  Contenders look then to make a fine tuning trade.  Right now, the people making trades, are the teams panicking or looking to next season.  Unless a gift trade falls in their laps, don’t expect Johansson to go until the trade deadline, if at all.

By Lincoln Cajulis

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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