Marcus Johansson is another member of the recent youth movement by the Washington Capitals. He has been impressive this year, and has a very bright future with the Capitals. He’s only 21 years old, which makes him the second youngest member of the Capitals.
Johansson was the 24th overall pick by the Capitals in the 2009. After officially joining the organization in May of 2010, having finished his contract with Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elite League, he spent a total of two games with the Hershey Bears before being called up. His first NHL goal came against Tim Thomas on October 19th, 2010. He spent most of last year on the fourth line, but has been moved up to the second line this year.
I would classify Johansson as a hybrid playmaker/dangler. He has shown that he has amazing puck handling skills, but he’s very aware of what’s going around him, and he seems to be most comfortable behind the net with the puck. Combine that with his speed and agility, and that’s a pretty deadly combination. Thanks to his speed and agility, he’s almost always the first forward back on defense.
One thing has stood out to me about Johansson this year: His confidence with the puck has improved immensely. Last year, he seemed reluctant to shoot the puck, and in general wasn’t that aggressive. This year, it’s an entirely different story. He’s been aggressive with the puck, showing that he’s not afraid to weave through traffic and shoot it in.
Johansson still has a few things he needs to work on. First off, he needs to be more aggressive on defense. With his speed and agility, he could be even better on defense if he had better positioning. He’s only 5’11” and 190 pounds, but if you want proof that you can still contribute on defense despite being small, take a look at Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk. Secondly, he needs to pass the puck more and not be afraid to draw attention. With his ability with the puck, teams are going to be all over him if they see him breaking towards the goal. He needs to be better at realizing when he can find the open teammate and give them a clear shot on goal.
For Johansson’s career stats, click here.