Nov 27, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson (90) battles for the puck with Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris (7) in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Johansson's Olympic Hopes

Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Johansson has flown under the radar for the Washington Capitals since joining the league as a 20 year old in 2010-11, posting 13 goals and 27 points in 69 games that season, as well as only accumulating 10 penalty minutes. That was three years ago. Johansson, now 23, has since played 141 more games, posting 78 points and only 12 penalty minutes. So far this season, Johansson has played 27 games and put up 19 points, good for fourth on team scoring for the Capitals. What’s almost as interesting as his point production is the fact that he’s yet to take a single penalty thus far, despite averaging over 18 minutes of ice time per game, and he only had four PIMs in 7 more games played last year. Johansson only has 3 goals this year, but he’s been skating on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex

It’s no secret that the Olympics are right around the corner, and team Sweden has always been a threat to bring home the gold. Marcus Johansson, a native of Landskrona, Sweden, has represented his nation four times in his career, all at the junior level, putting up 17 points in 23 career games, though never winning a gold medal, and never playing in the olympics. Right now, Johansson is 10th in scoring amongst Swedish skaters, and 7th amongst their forwards. His teammate and line mate Nicklas Backstrom is tied for fourth on that list. From a statistical standpoint, Johansson should be a lock on the team, and his chemistry with Backstrom only helps his case. But Sweden has a lot of veteran forwards who haven’t scored as much as Johansson has this season, but who all have Olympic experience, and these players will be taken ahead of Johansson, bumping him down to bottom-six duties and possibly a reserve forward spot. These players include Johan Franzen, Loui Eriksson, Patric Hornqvist, and many others. But does Johansson have a chance at beating these players out?

Sweden hasn’t placed on the medal podium since they won gold in 2006, so they could be looking to shake things up. Bringing in younger and more inexperienced talents like Johansson and Carl Soderberg could be just what this team needs moving forward. That brings Johansson’s chances up a lot, and considering the fact that Loui Eriksson and Johan Franzen have both been inconsistent and streaky this year, Johansson has a very good shot at cracking the roster, especially considering his exceptional speed, discipline, and stick handling abilities. Johansson is also a solid two-way forward, playing on the caps penalty kill despite his -2 rating. Johansson’s speed could really help Sweden this year, as their best offensive weapons are mainly in their late 20’s and early-mid 30’s, causing them to lose their natural speed. Because of all of this, I would say Johansson has a solid opportunity to play in the Olympics this year, and with about 5 weeks left before the puck drops in Sochi, there is still plenty of time for someone to get injured, which would only help move Johansson up the depth chart.

 

Tags: 2014 Sochi Olympics Marcus Johansson Team Sweden

comments powered by Disqus