The Boston Bruins have acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a pair of draft picks.
The picks are a second-rounder for 2019 and a fourth round selection for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Johansson will give the Bruins a different look up front and will help Bruce Cassidy tinker with his lines to come up with the right touch of versatility and scoring punch. In 48 games this season, Johansson has a dozen goals and 15 assists.
Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the 28-year-old from Landskrona has 119 goals and 212 assists in 578 career games with the Capitals and Devils.
Johansson arrived in New Jersey in July of 2017 after Washington ran into the salary cap. The Devils sent a pair of draft picks to the Caps as part of the swap.
Known to fans as MoJo, Johansson is a secondary scoring pickup for the Bruins and not a bad selection based on who was still available. While Boston’s fanbase probably isn’t comfortable coughing up the picks, this winger should help with his outside quickness. He’s a quality playmaker as well and he can strap in at centre should the need arise, even if he’s been conditioned as a winger over the last years.
Johansson likes to beat the defence with his explosive bursts to the outside, but he lacks a physical component and may need to be protected in Boston if he hopes to get some room to move. Luckily, that should fit the overall scheme of the team and the Bruins will be able to benefit for his prowess in the playoffs.
Viewing this deal alongside the recent acquisition of Charlie Coyle paints a broader picture and illustrates the pure strength of Boston’s top nine, which has to be seen as one of the best in the league at this point. With the Bruins holding it down at second in the Atlantic Division, the larger point is to find a way to put some real estate in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There is a slight personality wrinkle that could be a factor.
Just under a year ago, Bruins forward Brad Marchand gave Johansson a concussion thanks to a reckless elbow.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough,” Johansson said at the time. “It’s not why we play the game. There are obviously situations where you try to hit someone and make a hockey play and it goes wrong. Then there are plays like this that have nothing to do with hockey. It’s sad to see. I guess I’m unfortunate to be on the receiving end of that.”
(Photo credit: The Sporting News)