October 31, 2014

Capitals re-sign Marcus Johansson to two-year deal

Marcus Johansson during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Marcus Johansson during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The Washington Capitals announced early Saturday morning via e-mail they re-signed forward Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $4 million deal. Johansson will earn $1,825,000 in 2013-14 and $2,175,000 in 2014-15.

Here are the vitals from the press release:

Johansson, 22, recorded 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists) in 34 games during the 2012-13 season. He ranked tied for fourth on the Capitals in assists and tied for fifth in power-play goals (3). The 6’1”, 205-pound center posted career marks during the 2011-12 campaign when he collected 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists) in 80 games with Washington. He ranked third on the team in assists, tied for third in points and tied for seventh in goals.

The Landskrona, Sweden, native has collected 95 points (33 goals, 62 assists) and 22 penalty minutes in 183 regular-season games with the Capitals. Among his 2009 draft class, Johansson ranks fifth in goals and points, seventh in assists and eighth in games played. In addition, the center has recorded four goals and seven assists in 30 career NHL playoff games.

Johansson tweeted his reaction mid-day Saturday:

Johansson may be the most-talked about “disappointing” prospect that has come through the Caps system. Often criticized for what he is not instead of praised for what he does well, Johansson has been a target for detractors because he’s failed to put up big scoring numbers despite playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom for the most part the last two seasons.

But Johansson is still just 22 years old and an elite skater — both speed and technique — and with a full training camp with head coach Adam Oates he has the skills to be able to flourish in Oates’ forechecking and pressure offense.

From Japers Rink post-season player evaluations:

Johansson also looked much more confident and assertive when he returned from injury, using his speed to open up space in the neutral zone and gain the offensive blue line. As long as he is playing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, he’ll need to continue to find ways to use his skill set to create opportunities for those players. The assertive play following his return to the lineup also coincided with much stronger possession numbers.

There’s time yet for Johansson to assert himself and take advantage of the minutes he gets playing on the top line for the Capitals and live up to his lofty first-round selection in the draft. He now gets two years to continue to progress and develop into the player the Caps think he can be.

The contract is reasonable for a player of his age and skill set, though it does push the Capitals right up against the salary cap, according to Capgeek.com.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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