Looking At Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s Less-Than-Certain Roster Spot With The Capitals

The Washington Capitals acquired six players at the start of free agency on July 13, thus significantly reshaping their forward corps. The moves were necessary to fill specific holes created by injuries, but also generated questions regarding other players and their long-term roles with the team.

One of those players that remains floating around in the ether, somewhat, is forward Axel Jonson-Fjallby. Where does he exactly fit with the recent addition of forwards, most notably Marcus Johansson?

It was nearly a foregone conclusion (by me) that Jonsson-Fjallby would assume the vacant position left by Carl Hagelin on the 4th line. The two players are very similar in skills, including defense and penalty killing, but Jonsson-Fjallby has several other additional benefits.

Jonsson-Fjallby is lightning fast and has an excellent shot, both lacking with Hagelin. Jonason-Fjallby is also $2,000,000 cheaper and nine years younger than Hagelin. The transition seemed obvious. It seemed like a slam dunk.

Not So Fast?

Jonsson-Fjallby was recalled by the Capitals one final time on March 4, and stayed with the team for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. I say “one final time” because the Capitals are unable to return Jonsson-Fjallby to Hershey, from this point forward.

Axel played fairly well, recording two goals and two assists in 23 games played in a mostly defensive roll for the team (4th line). However, he didn’t play a single game in the post-season, as Johan Larsson, acquired at the trade deadline, filled in for Hagelin on the 4th line and did a good job.

Larsson left this summer in free agency but the Capitals (re)signed versatile veteran forward Marcus Johansson. With the addition of Dylan Strome, Connor Brown and Marcus Johansson, most of the holes in the lineup are seemingly plugged, with Marcus Johansson likely assuming the left wing on the 3rd line…for now.

Between The Lines

Reading between the lines (always dangerous, but it’s July), it’s a safe assumption to believe that the Capitals didn’t see enough from Jonsson-Fjallby, in the 23 games he played, to have him play in the postseason. As a result, he sat in the press box in lieu of veteran experience. Something we are growing accustomed to seeing. Maybe that’s the case, maybe not.

So where does that leave Jonsson-Fjallby for the 2021-22 season? Right now he could still pencil-in at left wing on the 4th line, but there are several other variables to consider. And do the Capitals still believe in the young Swede?

Joe Snipely

Enter Joe Snively. He was excellent in his short stint with the Capitals. In fact, Snively was on fire for the entire season, including his time with the Hershey Bears. Then he suffered a season-ending wrist injury at the peak of his blazing-hot start with the Capitals. Before being sidelined, he recorded four goals and three assists in just 12 games with the Capitals, and 15 goals and 23 assists in just 35 games with the Bears. It’s hard to believe the Capitals will return Snively to the Bears at any point in the near future.

When Tom Wilson returns, will Sheary move over to the left side? He’s played there and seen some success. And if he does, what does the domino effect look like on the left side? We could see a decision between Snively and Jonsson-Fjallby for the 13th forward spot, and one possibly being dealt, as both would require waivers and would unlikely clear.

The additional wild card is head coach Peter Laviolette’s preference for veterans. We’ve seen this play out a number of times, and actually cost us a promising prospect (Jonas Siegenthaler). Would he keep Marcus Johansson over Snively or Jonsson-Fjallby?

First and foremost, the Capitals need to prepare for opening night, and deal with Wilson’s return when it occurs. The question is, how will the opening night roster look, and who will be holding the short straw when Wilson does indeed return?

By Jon Sorensen

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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22 Responses to Looking At Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s Less-Than-Certain Roster Spot With The Capitals

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just know we are going to lose Snively and/Axel in favor of Marcus Johansson. Laviolette has proven that is his philosophy.

    • steven says:

      That is truly a shame as instead of losing the players we should love Laviolette, his assistant mcCarthy and the useless Forsythe (if his job is centers and power play why are we so bad on faceoffs?). Keep the players and get better coaches and coaches who know how to use players not just “Older Players”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s a mighty pickle, Mac.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Trade Ovi to open spot on 1st line for Mojo.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the TD this year will be telling… the Caps will know at that time if Backy is back and the development of CM and AP…. if one of them has improved a lot, then the TD will be interesting…
    I still see the NYR, CH and PP as the main comp… and the NYR are my main concern..

  5. Anonymous says:

    Repeating the same mistake and expecting a different result….there’s a word here….HCPL has ALWAYS done this with older players and crapped on youth. Aaaaaaaaand here we go again……

    • steven says:

      And can we please get rid of Forsythe because since he is in charge of center and the PP why do we suck at faceoffs so bad? Are our players just that bad at faceoffs or does he not know how to coach?

  6. Lance says:

    Axel can fly! He’s right on the edge of having a long NHL career. He has to bring a little something more to the team. He has the skating. They say he has a decent shot. He didn’t dominate defensively. He didn’t create much offense for the Caps in limited ice time. If he dedicates himself to the NHL I think he’ll make it. He needs to get stronger, tougher, better defensively, a little harder to play against. It’s crunch time for Axel in D.C. this year.

    • Marky says:

      He can fly when in Hershey, but his speed is not as evident in the NHL. He is not Hagelin defensively by a long shot and is not faster than him. Like Hags, he can not finish either. They have better 4 th line prospects below him already in Malenstyn and Snively (although I think Snively plays up higher). I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s cut again after training camp and he wouldn’t be missed honestly.

      • Lance says:

        I think the Axel showed enough for the Caps to give him every chance this year, Marky. He’ll have to carve out a place for himself in the NHL. I’m not sure what kind of NHL player he is. I don’t think he’s a scorer but he does have a decent shot. I don’t think he’s a physical guy but he does compete. If he really wants to I think he can make himself into an NHLer either by going into the fray and getting some ugly goals or by bringing some kind of Viking craziness into his game.

        I think he has a chance. I gave up on Chandler Stephenson and he’s a solid NHLer now. Go Axel, Go!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Quick to give up on young guys. No chance for development. Took him a couple years in AHL to find scoring comfort. Let him go be successful someplace else. Isn’t that what we do?

  8. novafyre says:

    I always wonder how much is the player and how much is the coach, the system, and teammates. This really becomes obvious when a player moves to a new team and either falls flat or stars.

    I do not think that the Caps’ system encourages young players or gets the best out of them. So they do not perform up to their abilities.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Same. Being an analytics nerd, I wish there was a way to accurately quantify those intangibles. They are a big difference maker and don’t show up in your typical “street” analysis.

    • steven says:

      I think some of the problem is a Ovie probles as so many things are gearedto get him to score and other players are forgotten about. The current coach is a tremendous problem in getting young players prepared for a career. Sad that the owner and Gm are only interested in something that this team is not now a contender for…..The Cup, after 1st round exits in the playoffs and last eyar squeaking into the last wild card spot (where if they han not expanded the wild card they would have been sitting at home) and they are most likely a 1st round exit this coming year IF they make the playoffs. Yes they ahve better goal tending but they still have the same old coaching staff and worst they have an inept coach who cannot teach faceoffs to the players (Forsythe) and from what I see should get zero credit for the PP as he hasnt changes it or improved it in eyars.

  9. DWGie26 says:

    I think Snively sticks with team. Good story and brings speed and a snipe. That leaves Mojo, AJF, and Malenstyn for 4LW (assuming Hags is indeed out for the year). I think AJF has some trade value… maybe a 6th round pick or maybe a tweener 3/4 RD. Will be hard to sneak him though waivers. I think Beck can probably pass through again since he hasn’t played many NHL games. There will be a lot of players trying to pass waivers in October.

    • steven says:

      Best thing would have been to never resign MoJo but since they gave up a player and 2 picks for a washed up useless retread they will feel that he has to be kept and is evident in his resigning. This team needs youth not just for speed but for emotion and challange to older players and to push them.

      • TooDamnOld says:

        Amen. Mojo’s main move is to try to duck under the defender to get the puck into the offensive zone… and fail.

  10. DWGie26 says:

    On this team, at this stage, Caps are trying to win (not rebuild). So the best players will be on the ice. I was pretty frustrated by the mojo signing, but I have chilled on it because that contract can be as easily dumped to the AHL as AJF, Beck, Snively. In fact easier, because Mojo probably more likely to clear waivers. But AJF et al need to earn it. And I’m not talking about marginally better. They need to really win the job with the tie (or close) going to the veteran incumbent.

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