The Washington Capitals have re-signed forward Marcus Johansson, the team announced Friday night.
The two parties went to arbitration and the independent arbitrator awarded Johansson a one-year contract worth $3.75 million. That’s a solid raise for the Swede. It’s a $1.75 million bump, but is closer to what the Capitals were offering in their brief than what Johansson was asking for. The Capitals brief came in at $3 million and Johansson’s ask was $4.75 million.
Johansson will be 25 at the start of the season and posted a career-high 20 goals and 47 assists last season while spending a significant amount of time the team’s top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
His usage will be interesting to watch next season, because $3.75 million could be a big contract for a player who is playing on the third line and there’s a possibility he’s not in the same spot on the depth chart as last year following the acquisition of Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie.
Johansson’s scoring rate wasn’t the best of his career at a 1.6 P/60 when he’s twice been at 2.0 or higher. A portion of his total production also came from having the most power play time of his career for the second season in a row.
He may be a candidate for a shifting role this coming year, as he responded well to working in new coach Barry Trotz’s more defensive system, posting a career-best 47.97 score-adjusted CA60 (career-best by more than six shot attempts). That put him fourth among team forwards in CA60. He also ranked fourth in score-adjusted CF60 at 55.89. That’s aided by usage, with the best teammate Corsi at even strength on the team next to deadline acquisition Curtis Glencross, who played just 18 games with Washington.
That all adds up to the possibility that Johansson’s numbers were a little inflated in terms of their ability to predict what he’ll do this coming season. Any struggles he suffers could have him supplanted by Oshie or Williams quickly and his ability defensively could have him dropping down the roster with changed usage.
It’s a big year for Johansson; he’ll still have restricted free agent status at the end of the season. He’ll be working to earn a big contract with term at the end of the season, despite the Capitals having cap troubles. General Fanager has the Capitals with under $500,000 of cap space at the moment.
Advanced stats via War on Ice.