Trade-deadline day acquisition Johan Larsson met with Capitals media for the first time after practice on Wednesday. The versatile Swedish forward came over from the Arizona Coyotes on Monday in exchange for a 2023 third-round draft selection.
Larsson left a Coyotes team that is tied with the Montreal Canadiens for dead last in the NHL standings. He joins a Capitals club that has all but surely secured a playoff spot come end of April.
“I’m very excited to come here, come to this team, join them here, and have a push for the playoffs,” Larsson said. “Everyone wants to be in there. Little bit left here, but it’s gonna be fun if we get there.”
Larsson has played parts of ten seasons in the NHL going back to 2012-13 when he made his debut with the Minnesota Wild. He has never played in a playoff game as he spent the bulk of his career on some terrible Buffalo Sabres teams and last season with the Coyotes.
He is still currently on injured reserve after undergoing sports hernia surgery in early February. Due to that, he missed the last 19 games for Arizona before being dealt to the Caps. He skated for the first time at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in a dark blue non-contact jersey.
“It’s been good actually,” Larsson said when asked about his recovery. “Feeling good and I’ve been skating for a while now. It feels good, just a little left, some small things left. It’s hard to say (when he’ll be back) but I feel pretty good on the ice. I haven’t really got a timeline on it but by hopefully next week or if not the week after that, pretty soon.”
When the Caps lost winger Carl Hagelin to a freak eye injury, they lost a huge contributor to their penalty kill and to a “fourth” line that head coach Peter Laviolette loves to matchup against opposition’s top lines. The team hopes Larsson will be able to fill some of those holes.
“Come in here, play my style, be a good, solid two-way player. Enjoy the time here,” Larsson said when asked what role the Caps want him to play. “It’s a little different always coming to a new team. But, so far it’s been good and I feel like this group been together for a while so it’s pretty easy to come in here. They’re a confident group, they know they can do it, so it’s fun to come here.”
Larsson is the fifth Swedish member of the roster and once played for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League. There, he says he met Nicklas Backstrom a few times as Backstrom is from Gävle where Brynas is located and Backstrom also played for the team. He also says he knows Marcus Johansson and Conor Sheary from when they crossed paths with the Sabres.
Screenshot via @Capitals/Twitter
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