CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Marcus Johansson
HtWt: 6-1, 205
Penalty Minutes: 8
Average Ice Time: 16:48
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 3-year, 2.7 million entry level contract 900,000 cap hit
Strengths: Johansson is arguably the Capitals fastest player, although some would take Jason Chimera in a rink race. Johansson has all the tools to be a great offensive player size, speed, soft hands and a good, hard shot and his offensive totals jumped from 13 goals and 14 assists as a rookie to 14 goals and 32 assists in his second NHL season. And hes just 21.
Weaknesses: Dale Hunter gave Johansson plenty of ice time in the playoffs 19:35 but Johansson did little with it, recording one goal, two assists and a minus-6 rating in 14 playoff games. Johansson lost several board battles, coughed up pucks in the offensive zone and was ineffective in a second-line role. That should be of great concern for a team that is likely to lose Alex Semin as one of its top six forwards.
Memorable Moment on the ice: Angered at being a healthy scratch in the Caps season opener, Johansson had a goal and an assist in a wild 6-5 shootout win over the Lightning on Oct. 10. Johansson scored his first goal of the season by digging the puck from under the glove of Dwayne Roloson, fighting off a pair of defensemen and stuffing a wraparound into an open net. Heres a guy that sat out and just said, Ill show them, former coach Bruce Boudreau said. Thats the attitude youre hoping for.
Memorable Moment off the ice: In the midst of a long scoring slump in December, Johansson was asked if there were things needed to do to play better. Why, you dont think Im playing good? Johansson replied. Actually, no, I dont, a reporter told him. At least not like you were playing at the start of the year. Johansson grew angry and said, Well, if you say so, I guess I have to play better. A few games later, after netting two assists, the same reporter told Johansson he was playing much better. Thanks to you, he said with a smile.
2012-13 Expectations: First, the Capitals need to decide whether to hold onto Johansson or include him in a trade package to land a top six forward or top four defenseman. If they decide to keep him, Johansson will need to start making better decisions all over the ice and a nice start would be stopping hard in front of opposing nets and hunting for rebounds instead of making big circles around the net. If Johansson can develop better habits, he can be a solid 25-goal, 45-assist player next season.