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Johansson given his first NHL suspension

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Johansson given his first NHL suspension

NEW YORK - In his six NHL seasons with the Capitals, Marcus Johansson has never recorded more than 10 penalty minutes in a single season. On Friday night he was given a two-game suspension for his illegal check to the head of New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey.

Johansson said Thursday night he did not expect to be suspended and Caps coach Barry Trotz said he saw no malice in Johansson’s attempt to check Hickey in the chest.

But Johansson came up high on the hit and will miss this weekend’s game against the Rangers on Saturday in New York and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night at Verizon Center. It's the first time in his career he's been suspended.

The Caps are also without center Zach Sill, who will serve the second game of his two-game suspension on Saturday.  Michael Latta is expected to slide into Johansson’s spot as a third-line center, while Herhsey Bears callup Paul Carey is expected to fill Latta’s spot at fourth-line center.

“You find out about your team,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s next man up. We’ve had Brooks Orpik and John Carlson (lower body injuries) out for a while and we haven’t really talked about it. Get it done and try to win the hockey game, and it won’t be any different with (Jay Beagle) out or if something happens with JoJo. Next guy up, get it done.”

RELATED: Caps prepare themselves for losing Johansson

Caps right wing Tom Wilson said he and Jason Chimera had gotten into a nice groove with Johansson the past few games, but is confident the Caps can withstand the losses of several key veterans.   

“Last year and the first part of this year we didn’t really have much adversity as far as injuries and guys getting suspended,” Wilson said. “It’s something new for us and we have to keep working through it.

“We have enough depth on our team and in our organization that guys are going to come up and play and fill the role and give us a chance to win. We have enough skill in this room where we’ll be all right and hopefully, we can kind of stick it to the Rangers tomorrow.”

To make room for Carey, the Caps re-assigned defenseman Ryan Stanton to Hershey.

Carey, 27, has 12 goals, 11 assists and 14 penalty minutes in 35 games with Hershey this season and ranks second on the team in goals and points. The Boston native has recorded 119 points (54 goals, 65 assists) and 113 penalty minutes in 223 career AHL games with Lake Erie, Providence and Hershey.

In 22 previous NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, Carey has earned one assist and four penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward made his NHL debut on March 12, 2014 and played in 12 of C Colorado’s final 17 contests in 2013-14.

Carey appeared in another 10 games with the Avalanche last season and earned his first NHL point with an assist on Feb. 16 against Arizona. He was selected by Colorado in the fifth round, 135th overall, in the 2007 NHL Draft and signed with Washington as a free agent on July 8, 2015.

Stanton, 26, did not play with the Caps after being recalled. He signed with the Capitals as a free agent on July 24, 2015.

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz on Richards: 'He has some work to do'

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY BLAMES HIMSELF FOR TAMPA LOSS

The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.

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NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is nearly here, marking the final point in the season teams can make major shakeups before preparing for the stretch run and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline takes place a week earlier than in 2017, and teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, February 26 to make their final pre-deadline deals. That being said, the trade deadline is not the end of player movement in 2018, but signifies the end of the open trade window.

But with less than w eek left, the trade rumors are swirling, with teams putting out feelers and reaching out to potential trade partners.

The Capitals started the trade deadline period a week early, with a minor trade on Monday and another on Wednesday.

RELATED: TRACKING THE FAVORITES TO WIN NHL AWARDS

2018 NHL TRADE DEADLINE TRACKER:

February 21: TRADE — The Montreal Canadiens trade D Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 21: RUMOR — The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown interest in acquiring Artem Anisimov from the Chicago Blackhawks, a team attempting a major rebuild toward the end of the 2017-18 season.

February 20: TRADE — The Toronto Maple Leafs trade C Erif Fehr to the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

February 20: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators are looking to deal D Erik Karlsson and C Bobby Ryan. The Sens have already begun to enter "tank" mode. Moving Karlsson and/or Ryan would make it all but official.

February 20: TRADE — The New York Rangers trade D Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for D Rob O'Gara and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

February 19: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 19: RUMOR — The Anaheim Ducks look to be targeting Vancouver Canucks LW Thomas Vanek, but the Canucks may 'kick tires" on a potential trade if the return isn't right. 

February 19: TRADE — The Detroit Red Wings trade G Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 19: RUMOR — The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in pursuing speedy New York Rangers RW Michael Grabner.

February 17: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators' fire sale continues to heat up. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Senators RW Mike Hoffman and C Derick Brassard.

February 15: TRADE — Toronto Maple Leafs trade RW Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 15: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for LW Chris DiDomenico.

February 13: RUMOR — New York Rangers LW Rick Nash is rumored to be a major trade target for virtually every team within playoff reach. The Nashville Predators have been rumored to be the favorites for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

February 13: TRADE — The Los Angeles Kings trade RW Marian Gaborik and C Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators for D Dion Phaneuf and C Nate Thompson.