Mere days in advance of the start of training camp for the 2013-14 season, the Washington Capitals have finished off their off-season to-do list. The last item on that summer checklist was scratched off today when restricted free agent forward Marcus Johansson signed a two-year contract extension that will result in a $2 million salary cap hit for the Caps for each of the next two seasons.
Johansson will be paid $1.825 million in 2013-14 and he will earn $2.175 million in 2014-15.
The Swedish native is a month shy of his 23rd birthday, and he is heading into his fourth NHL season. Washington’s first-round choice (24th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Johansson has increased his offensive output in each of his three seasons in the league, going from .39 points per game as a rookie in 2010-11 to .58 as a sophomore to .65 points per tilt in 2012-13.
After missing more than a month of action because of a concussion, Johansson returned to action on March 10 of last season and he was elevated to the left side of the top line shortly thereafter. Skating with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, Johansson finished the regular season on a roll, with five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in his final 22 contests.
With Johansson finally in the fold, and with rookie right wing Tom Wilson appearing to be a strong bet for an opening night roster spot, the Capitals have 14 forwards in camp who played NHL hockey last season in the regular season or playoffs. The Caps are also pushing up tight against the salary cap ceiling with the Johansson signing, so a deal involving a forward would not be a surprise.
Washington finished the 2012-13 regular season on a 15-2-2 spree, a span that coincided with Johansson’s time on the top line. Now that he’s signed and ready to hit the ice for Thursday’s first day of training camp, it’s a safe bet that Johansson will be back in his spot on the left side of that same line with Backstrom and Ovechkin.