The Washington Capitals may not have been able to make the deep playoff run they were hoping to, but they should have a good shot at getting back to the postseason with almost their entire roster set to return next season. One player the Capitals don’t have under a new contract yet is young winger Marcus Johansson, and after another great season the team needs to make a long-term deal for him a top priority in the offseason.
While the most common discussion concerning Capitals free agents has centered on Mike Ribeiro, bringing back Johansson may be just as important. The Swede plays on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, and is in line for a sizeable raise following the expiration of his entry-level contract. Johansson scored six goals and had 22 points for the Capitals this season, good enough for seventh on the team. While he isn’t likely to be a leading scorer, the work he does playing alongside the Capitals’ two biggest stars is very important. In three seasons, Johansson has been consistent on the offensive end of the ice, scoring 33 total goals. He’ll no doubt break the 100-point plateau next season, as he currently has 95 and gets many set-up opportunities while playing with Ovechkin.
Johansson added a goal and an assist in the playoffs, and now has four goals and 11 points in 30 career postseason games. The Capitals have done a great job of using his talent, and there’s little chance they’re ready to walk away from their 2009 first-round pick. If the team can play the kind of hockey they played in the 2013 season’s final weeks for the entire 2013-14 campaign, Johansson should easily see career-high scoring numbers.