“It’ll Be Fun to Have Him Back, I Think It’s Good For Our Team”, “He Brings A Lot to the Table…I Think That Strengthens Our Lineup”: Nicklas Backstrom, Peter Laviolette Speak on the Acquisition of Marcus Johansson

The Washington Capitals acquisition of longtime forward Marcus Johansson from the Seattle Kraken was one of two moves made by the team at the 2022 NHL trade deadline. As part of the deal with Seattle, the Capitals sent forward Daniel Sprong and draft picks to the Kraken.

The return of the former first-round pick brings options for his new coaches and excitement from his former teammates. Johansson spent seven seasons with the Caps from the 2010-11 to the 2016-17 seasons, before being dealt to the New Jersey Devils in July 2017.

During his seven seasons with the Caps, Johansson was often utilized in a variety of situations, including on the power play, on which he was often part of the team’s first unit alongside fellow Sweden native Nicklas Backstrom. In 501 Games Played in his first stint, Johansson compiled 26 goals and 59 assists for 85 points on the man-advantage.

“It’s great, since the last time I think he’s developed a lot as a player. I talk to him often, a good friend of mine, and I think it’ll be fun to have him back, it’s good for us as a team. I’m excited to see him back here and hopefully we’ll have a good run together”.

Johansson, who in addition to 77 games in New Jersey also made stops in Buffalo and Minnesota before signing with Seattle in free agency, has recorded six goals, 23 points and minus-22 rating this season, along with a Corsi For Percentage of 57.3%. While his plus/minus rating looks dreadful (playing with a 19-38-6 Kraken team in their inaugural season), his underlying advanced stats show a rather better defensive side to his game.

“I think he’s more responsible on the ice, he can play every situation, he’s fast, makes plays. He brings a lot, he’s a pretty all-around player I would say. It’s always tough [speaking of Sprong’s departure], and I think as players that’s part of the business we know about and deal with, but it’s obviously tough to see a player go, he’s a good person and hopefully he’ll do good in Seattle”.

Johansson’s more all-around game offers the already-interchanging lineup of Head Coach Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff even more options on which players to utilize on a nightly basis.

“The thing about our lineup is there are pieces that can move…probably the same for him, and once we get settled in and get guys back and healthy, we’ll figure where the line combinations go but it could go anywhere from playing with Kuzy [Evgeny Kuznetsov], playing with Backy [Backstrom], playing with Lars [Eller], he brings a lot of playing in the middle when needed, I think that was important as well, having another centerman in the lineup and so there’s lots of things he brings to the table…a lot of history with the Caps, he’s had some good years offensively as well. Certainly the fact that he’s played on the power play, he’s had success on the power play, he’s great down low, he’s good at the net-front, brings different things to the power play as well, so for me that’s an asset…I think that strengthens our lineup”.

During the closing moments of the Caps’ loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday night (which featured a tribute to former goaltender Braden Holtby), defenseman John Carlson was sent into the end-boards by Stars captain Jamie Benn, a play that resulted in no power play for Washington and left the team’s prized blueliner ailing on the ice for a few moments following the collision.

“I mean, we’re working through that in the room. I saw the hit. To me it was a guy going full-speed in a vulnerable position, and when you tweak somebody’s hip like that you can see what it did to him. You don’t want to see that play happen, on anybody”.

Laviolette added that T.J. Oshie’s return (Oshie skated the optional practice) is too early to predict, and that he hopes Nic Dowd, who was injured against the Carolina Hurricanes, is not out long-term.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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1 Response to “It’ll Be Fun to Have Him Back, I Think It’s Good For Our Team”, “He Brings A Lot to the Table…I Think That Strengthens Our Lineup”: Nicklas Backstrom, Peter Laviolette Speak on the Acquisition of Marcus Johansson

  1. Anonymous says:

    How Swede it is! Two more to add to the ranks! 🇸🇪

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