The Washington Capitals have struggled over the last two months and are no longer in first place in the Metropolitan Division. Reinforcements may be coming.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Capitals are looking to be active ahead of the February 25 trade deadline and may be looking to have a reunion with a beloved former player.
16. Zuccarello and Wayne Simmonds may have to wait until the Duchene/Stone/Panarin situations settle. A mix of similar teams looking at both: Boston, Calgary, San Jose, maybe Pittsburgh and Vegas. New Jersey GM Ray Shero was aggressive with Brian Boyle, and it sounds like he’s done the same with Marcus Johansson. I’ve heard Columbus, Edmonton, San Jose and Vancouver as teams who have checked in. Possibly Washington, too, since they know him. The Canucks are the odd fit, but they looked at Andre Burakovsky, too. So maybe they are thinking about something for the future or are trying to replace the injured Sven Baertschi.
Johansson appears to be highly in demand. In his column, Friedman says Columbus, Edmonton, San Jose, and Vancouver have all inquired about a trade. Friedman couches his language about Washington’s interest though.
Johansson has 39 points in 76 games for New Jersey, having missed extended stretches to injury, though he has scored ten points (five goals, five assists) in his last 12 games.
RMNB’s Peter Hassett floated the idea of acquiring Johansson to support Evgeny Kuznetsov with defensive- and neutral-zone responsibilities as well as power-play transitions. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan characterized what Johansson could bring:
The team knows what he can do offensively when he’s healthy, and it’d be an easy transition given his familiarity with the system and the locker room.
Friedman also says the Capitals want a “2019 version of Michal Kempny.” The Kempny trade, exactly one year ago, lowered the team’s reliance on struggling depth defense and vastly improved the team’s five-on-five performance.
The Capitals dealt only a third-round draft pick to land Kempny from Chicago. Over the offseason, MacLellan re-signed the depth defenseman to a four-year deal.
During last year’s trade deadline, MacLellan also landed Jakub Jerabek from the Montreal Canadiens for a fifth-round pick in 2019. Jerabek was solid down the stretch for the Capitals, but played in only two games during the Capitals Stanley Cup run.
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