Washington Capitals LW/C Marcus Johansson was named to Sweden’s Olympic hockey team early Friday, according to multiple industry sources. Johansson, 23, will replaced the injured Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, who was forced to withdraw due to a rib injury.
Johansson becomes the fifth Caps player to represent his nation in Sochi, joining Alex Ovechkin (Russia), Nick Backstrom (Sweden), John Carlson (U.S.A.) and Martin Erat (Czech Republic), who was named this week as an injury replacement himself.
Johansson has had an up-and-down season, though he’s well on his way to posting his best numbers as an NHLer. After his two-assist performance in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Winnipeg, through 57 games, he has seven goals and 29 assists, third on the Caps with 36 points, despite shooting a career-low 9.3 percent.
The forward will bring speed and skating ability to the bigger international ice sheet, and his passing creativity in recent weeks shows a young player starting to tap into his raw talent. Though his shot is still a work in progress, especially considering his seeming reluctance to use the weapon, he has exhibited some craftiness around the goal and his backhanded assist on Troy Brouwer’s first goal Thursday was a true gem.
This is Johansson’s first Olympics. He represented Sweden in the 2010 World Junior championships.