By Donya Abramo
Former Washington Capital Marcus Johansson joined the Buffalo Sabres on a two-year, $9 million contract over the summer.
Ahead of the Sabres’ season opener against Pittsburgh on Thursday, the team named Johnasson as one of their alternate captains.
Per Head Coach Ralph Krueger, Jake McCabe and Marcus Johansson will wear the As tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.
Congrats @McCabe19 and @mjohansson90! #Sabres50 pic.twitter.com/AQSfmaU3DO
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 2, 2019
Since being traded by the Capitals in 2017, Johansson has played for both the New Jersey Devils and was part of the Boston Bruins team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season. Though he has missed significant time due to injuries, he remains a solid depth addition to any team.
During the Sabres preseason, Johansson played on a line with Jeff Skinner, who scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. Johansson ended his 2018-19 campaign with 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 games with the New Jersey Devils, and one goal and two assists with the Bruins in 10 games. He also tallied four goals and seven assists during Boston’s playoff run.
“Sometimes you don’t realize until you play with someone how well they see the ice or how well they think the game,” Skinner said of playing with Johansson to Jourdon LaBarber of NHL.com. “It’s tough to watch someone on another team or play against someone and pick that up. That’s been a nice surprise.”
Skinner added, “He’s pretty smooth, I think. He’s really comfortable with the puck. I think he sort of thinks the game well, so he makes good reads and knows where people are.
“In that sense, he doesn’t have to react, he doesn’t have to force things. He’s sort of a step ahead. That allows him to slow the game down, I guess. That’s one of his strengths. I think he knows it. It’s fun to play with a guy like that.”
It’s great to see Johansson settling into a leadership position with his newest team. As well as getting along with Skinner after they once came to blows during a feisty Capitals-Hurricanes game in 2013.
Headline photo: @BuffaloSabres
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