By Patrick Donnelly
The Boston Bruins have acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2019 second-round draft pick and a 2020 fourth-rounder in a last-second deal; the Devils will retain 40 percent of Johansson’s salary as well.
The reports surrounding the trade came just seconds after the NHL Trade Deadline had passed before word officially broke:
Johansson, 28, is currently in his ninth NHL season after spending the first six in Washington with the Capitals. This season, the Swedish forward has 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 48 games–on pace for 17 goals and 38 points in 68 games. For what it’s worth, over 82 games, Johansson’s current pace would lead to 21 goals and 47 points.
Johansson is also coming off a season that was ended early due to concussion (ironically, from an elbow from new teammate Brad Marchand) in which he had five goals and 14 points in 29 games.
In 578 career games, the former 24th-overall pick has 119 goals, 212 assists, and 331 points, including two twenty-goal seasons, four 40-point seasons, and one fifty-point season during his time with the Capitals. In his last 13 games, Johansson has six goals and 12 points.
MoJo’s best offensive season saw him tally 24 goals, 34 assists, and 58 points for the Capitals just two years ago, too. He also has nine goals and 30 points in 72 career playoff games. The forward is steady in all three zones as well, and can be relied on in different situations.
Johansson is currently making $2.75-million after New Jersey retained 40% ($1,833,333) of his salary and is set to become an unrestricted free agent over the summer.
So what does this trade mean for the Bruins? Well for one thing, as general manager Don Sweeney said, “he [Johansson] brings versatility and production in a top-nine role.”
Johansson can play both wings in addition to center, and can slot up and down the top-nine, ideally his role is on the second line alongside David Krejci or Jake DeBrusk or on the third line at either center or wing. Sweeney also said that Johansson will suit up in tomorrow’s game versus the Sharks.
The addition of Johansson makes the Bruins a much deeper team, and addresses the need at wing that has been a glaring issue all season. On top of that, Johansson is a smart, offensively-talented player who can help on the power play given his vision and playmaking ability; he is also fine at generating offensive zone entries, something this Bruins power play has struggled with this season.
As to why the Devils retained salary, the Bruins still have several players on entry-level deals that have potential bonuses based off either team or individual performance. So, this allows the Bruins to maintain as much cap space as possible for the end of the year in order to avoid overages taking over cap space for next season.
In terms of what the Bruins gave up, it was a pretty reasonable package, looking at what comparisons like Gustav Nyquist, Ryan Dzingel, and Mats Zuccarello went for. The second-rounder is obviously the key piece here for the Devils, and like the Charlie Coyle trade, losing the mid-round pick (a fourth in this case) does not mean a whole lot for the Bruins since the prospect pool is still well-stocked. Sweeney may have given up the second-rounder for this season, but he held on to the first without surrendering any prospects, which is a win.
After acquiring Coyle last week, bolstering the depth by signing Lee Stempniak, and acquiring Johansson from the Devils, the Bruins look to be all-in for this season as they continue to roll with the playoffs approaching with each passing day.