Capitals Player Report Card: Marcus Johansson

Marcus Johansson

Stats: 69 GP, 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points, +2, 10 PIM
Contract Info: $900,000 cap hit, signed through 2012-13
Player Card

Scoring Chance Ranking: 21/29
Forwards: 13/19
Balanced Corsi Ranking: 26/29
Forwards: 17/19

Marcus Johansson was a player who I thought played a lot better than his stats indicated. There were so many games where I was impressed with him and how quickly he seemed to develop chemistry with players like Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. During parts of this season, we saw flashes of how good Johansson can be as a goal scorer, playmaker and as a two-way center. However, it’s really easy to see how “good” a player is by looking over highlight packages and box scores, but you also look over the inconsistencies and struggles a player had over the course of the season too. Johansson had plenty of those, which is expected for a 20 year old kid playing his first NHL season.

Johansson was dominated territorially as he posted some of the worst corsi numbers on the team and surrendered over 29 shots per 60 minutes. I noticed in every game recap that he had a brutal corsi rating no matter how good I thought he looked during a game, showing that he definitely struggled defensively. That isn’t good when you are sheltered with tons of offensive zone starts like he was. You’ll also see that he finished less than 50% of his draws in the offensive zone despite that so that’s also showing that he was getting outplayed at even strength. He also finished under the 50% mark in scoring chances, which really isn’t good no matter who you are and was terrible at face-offs.

I’m not trying to say that Johansson had a bad season because he didn’t at all, especially for a rookie, but I think some of the hype he got over the season was a little overblown and he definitely has a lot to work on in the defensive part of the game. That said, there were many things that impressed me about Johansson this season. He played in just about every situation and did many things that impressed me, but they were scattered over the course of the season. He had a pretty rough start to the year and it wasn’t until around January when he really started to show his potential. He was working hard to win puck battles, getting to the net to score goals and cleaning up his play defensively a bit. Also of note is that while his corsi rating was bad overall, he did pretty decently when compared to his quality of competition.  Another thing he was good at was drawing penalties as he drew 1.3 per 60 minutes this year. He was pretty impressive in the Rangers series and scored two huge goals in game 4, both of which resulted from his hard work of getting to the net.

Some are ready to peg him as the 2nd line center already but I want to see more than 27 points from him next season if that is the case and for him to fix some of the issues he had in his own zone, too. Still, I didn’t think he had a bad season because I honestly didn’t expect him to even make the team to start the year. He also never had consistent ice-time for a good chunk of the season. Sometimes he would get only 10-12 minutes and other nights he would be receiving top-6 minutes while playing on the first powerplay unit and on the penalty kill. There were even some nights where he would play with Backstrom as a winger, which actually resulted in some good things (see the second Caps goal).  Still think he could have benefited from a couple months in Hershey to start the year for him to develop his game a little bit while getting more consistent ice-time, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed with MoJo’s rookie season so I will give him a C+. Just hope he can improve next season if he’s going to be our second line center in the future.

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