He’s played in just seven games for the Washington Capitals, but so far contributions have been positive from trade-deadline acquisition Johan Larsson. Primarily acquired to provide bottom-six defense and fill-in for the injured Carl Hagelin, Larsson has done just that, and provided a little offense as well.
Larsson has a goal and three assists in his last three games and currently has a three-game point streak. Larsson is also among the Capitals top-5 in points per game average. Again, mainly acquired to provide defense in a bottom-six role, his offensive production can be considered a bonus.
It should also be noted that Larsson’s first seven games with the Capitals are also his first seven games back following sports hernia surgery, which required him to miss all of February and March. Larsson is working his way back to game-shape, and contributing at the same time.
Larsson is also generating positive possession metrics. This can also be taken as a tip of the cap to the Capitals bottom six forwards, but more directly to the fourth line. [Click to enlarge]
Larsson is currently tops among all Capitals forwards in expected goals for percentage. Again, not bad for a defensive forward acquired to do a defensive job.
Offensive Zone Start Percentage
As expected, Larsson is getting a majority of his shift starts in the defensive zone, with just 39.29 percent of his shift starts occurring in the inoffensive zone. That’s in the same area as the fourth liners. [Click to enlarge]
The Capitals are getting exactly what they were looking for in Johan Larsson (so far), with the added bonus of offensive production. If he was ultimately worth a third-round pick will be determined later down the line.
“It’s very exciting. Everyone wants to be in there…I’m very excited to come here and come to this team and have a push for the playoffs,” said Larsson in his first media presser. “It’s a little different always coming to a new team. So far it’s been good and I feel like this group been together for awhile and they know they can do it.”
WSH exchange for Larsson is a 2023 third-round pick to Arizona. Larsson, 29, is coming off sports hernia surgery in early Feb. Has missed the last 19 games.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) March 21, 2022
Larsson is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but at $700,000 AAV, the Capitals could consider bringing him back. Again, it’s early in the assessment.
“I came here injured and it’s not so fun not to be able to play when you just changed clubs, but I was very well taken care of from the first day,” Larsson told Aftonbladet. “It will be exciting to see what we can achieve in the future. Many on this team have been there before and know exactly what is required.”
By Jon Sorensen