It’s your favorite “soft” Swede’s turn to be put under the RMNB microscope as we take a look at how Marcus Johansson‘s 2015-16 season went. If I only had one word, I’d say it was solid.
|16.6||time on ice per game|
|50.6||5v5 shot-attempt percentage|
|58.2||5v5 goal percentages|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2015-16 season. A short description of each chart:
Plain and simple, Marcus Johansson is due for a raise and the Capitals should give it to him. Let me explain why.
A player once known as “soft” by fans proved time and time again that he is unafraid of going to the dirty areas to pick up goals or to set screens. This very “hard” behavior helped allow Johansson to put up his 3rd consecutive year of raising his point per game total by gathering 46 points in 74 games. That point total was good for 6th on the team and his 14 power-play points were also good for 6th on the team. On a less numerical scale, Johansson again showed this year that he is the best option that the Capitals have for power-play zone entries and his positional flexibility allowed Barry Trotz to play with different lineup combinations. The guy also never takes penalties (#ThatIsSoSwedish) as evidenced by his measly 16 minutes spent in the box and was there anything more cool than the Tre Kronor line? You can’t possibly want to break that trio up.
A major knock on Johansson in the past has been his propensity to overpass and not shoot the puck enough. In 2014-15 we saw an uptick in Johansson’s individual shot production and you can basically copy and paste those numbers onto his season totals from this past year if you take into consideration that he played in 8 less games. His shooting percentage was similar, differing by a little over a third of a point, which tells me that he is still getting to better areas to score goals than he has in the past. I think it can be concluded that Marcus Johansson is going to be good for around 20 goals every season and if you’re really relying on him for more than that, you’ve built your roster wrong.
Bringing some context in from the league, Johansson’s 2.25 points per 60 at all strengths ranked him 89th in the league (adjusted for 200 minutes played) around names like James Neal, Gabriel Landeskog, Bryan Little, Nathan MacKinnon, Jordan Eberle, etc., which I think again proves Pat’s point from last year’s season reviews that Johansson can definitely be defined as a “top-six forward.” His ranking looks even better when you do the same investigating regarding the league’s top assist men as Johansson’s 1.42 assists per 60 at all strengths sits him at 68th in the league. Not bad for what some may consider the Capitals seventh forward.
Johansson’s possession numbers tell a little bit of a different story, but I think there is some explanation to this numerical madness. In 2014-15 his even strength score adjusted possession was absolutely stellar at around 54.0 percent, but this year dropped off to only just above 50.5 percent. His relative shot-attempt percentage also dropped from around 2.6 percent to a negative 1.6 percent (all according to War On Ice). I believe that some of this drop off is due to the 300 5v5 minutes he spent next to Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson this season, who have proved to be the second coming of the black-hole brothers when it comes to them playing with one another and driving possession. The other part is probably just due to not being able to match what was a ridiculously good 2014-15 for Johansson and I don’t think that there is too much wrong with that. He stayed above 50 percent when it came to possession and goals for when he was on the ice and that’s definitely a good thing and it’s something that cant be said about every skater on the Capitals.
With General Manager Brian MacLellan harping on his want to create a third scoring line this offseason, I cant help but think that Johansson is the perfect start to that line, whether that be as the center or one of the wingers. As much as people like to tout Jay Beagle as the bottom six’s Swiss Army Knife, I believe that Johansson’s positional flexibility and two-way nature is even more useful. He plays an integral role within the core of this currently built Capitals team. I think that is the number one reason, on top of a plethora of others, why meeting Johansson’s demands in free agency is a very good idea. Believe it or not, Johansson is still only 25 years old so a 4- or 5-year contract would take the Capitals through the rest of his prime. Let’s hope he’s back for a long while, under a good contract and helps the Caps win some more hockey games.
Firstly, should the Capitals bring back Marcus Johansson? If “yes” is your answer to the previous question, what position and on what line should he play on? Lastly, Jojo or Mojo?
Read more: Japers Rink
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