Marcus Johansson back in the one place he wanted to be


Marcus Johansson’s journey since he left Washington has been one that didn’t involve many breaks. 

He was traded after the 2016-17 season to the Devils, which began a slightly shorter than five-year stretch where he played for five different teams — in 2018-19 he was traded from the Devils to the Bruins, and has since begun each season with a new team. 

Now Johansson will rejoin the Capitals, a team on which he spent the first seven years of his career, as a deadline acquisition meant to add versatility and dependability to the top nine. And right from the jump, he’ll hop on the moving train and be asked to do a lot. 

He’ll start with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov on the top line in a starting point where no one is quite sure what it’ll bring to the lineup. His debut, or re-debut, with the Capitals will come Tuesday against the Blues. 

“You know, I don’t know,” coach Peter Laviolette said, when asked about what he likes about the trio. “It’s just a starting point, they’ve had some history, they’ve played together before, and just with some guys out of the lineup and trying to get a balance throughout the lineup, it’s just a starting point.”


Johansson scored six goals and tallied 17 assists for the Kraken this season. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Kraken are tied for the fewest points in the NHL. 

The move, both in his linemates and the team he’ll play for, couldn’t have been more drastic even if it was the one he wanted.

"This is the one place I wanted to go,” Johansson said Tuesday. “We were here a few weeks ago and coming here always still feels like home. I'm just very excited for the opportunity. This feels special."

That is what the Capitals are hoping makes Johansson a bit different than any other deadline acquisition, too: He’s already had success for the team he was traded to, something not many players over the course of their careers can say. 

“Just the same it feels like,” Johansson said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been here but it kind of feels the same still. That’s kind of what makes this place feel special, coming here it feels like you still know everybody. Such good friendships and bonds that you’ve had over all the years. Somehow it kind of feels like nothing changed.”

In addition to starting on the top line, he also took reps with the second power play unit as there won’t be much of an easing-in process for the 31-year-old.

While he’ll play for a new head coach, and just eight players remain from his first stint with the team, it’ll be a welcome return for both Johansson and the Capitals. 

Things have changed for both himself and the team, notably that his first game back as a Capital will be played at Capital One Arena that now boasts a Stanley Cup Champions banner, he’s here to help the team try and hang another one, and get his first championship ring. 

“I think you grow and you learn every year and every new experience that you have,” Johansson said. “I feel like I’m a better hockey player, I feel like I’ve taken steps in the right direction. There’s been a lot of injuries over the last few years, but I still feel like I’ve grown as a person and a hockey player, too. I’m excited to be here and show what I can do.”