Johan Larsson is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. But after not getting a contract to his liking from an NHL team this summer, the Swede is returning to his home country on a long-term deal.
Larsson signed a three-year contract with SHL Brynäs worth 310,000 Swedish Krona per month (~$31k USD), according to aftonbladet.se. The deal is expected to be announced officially on Friday.
The deal will make Larsson, a 10-year NHL veteran, the highest-paid player in Brynäs history. It will also give the forward security — it’s the longest contract he’s signed since his NHL entry-level deal — and will give him the comfort of playing for the team that gave him his start as a professional.
PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan reported that the 30-year-old Larsson “had substantial offers” from several teams in the NHL, but none of them offered him more than the checking-line role he’s filled in the past. So the center/forward decided to try his luck in Europe.
Larsson leaving the NHL is a surprise considering just how effective he has been. In Washington, Larsson turned the Capitals already-great fourth line into a dominant, elite trio during his 14-game stint after the trade deadline.
Larsson slotted in on the fourth line alongside Hathaway and Dowd, and he looked like had been playing with those guys for years: physically oppressive, defensively elite – Larsson was immediately the ideal bottom-six forward.
The Capitals appeared interested in retaining Larsson, but ultimately ended up re-signing Marcus Johansson to a one-year deal.
Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that it sounded like Larsson was headed to Pittsburgh as an unrestricted free agent on the first day of free agency.
Penguins GM Ron Hextall denied the report and Larsson’s agent Craig Oyster confirmed to RMNB that the deal never materialized.
Larsson has scored 132 points in 488 NHL games during a combined 10 seasons with Washington, Arizona, Buffalo, and Minnesota.
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