Position: C, LW, RW
Contract: 1 year remaining at $1.5m AAV
2020-21 Season Stats: 36GP: 6G, 8A, 14P, -10
As a late free agent signing, Marcus Johansson joins the Seattle Kraken as a depth utility forward that can play down the middle or on either wing. He becomes a part of his sixth team in six years: Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, and Minnesota Wild. His productivity was the best when he was a Capital, but you can argue that the cast around him also helped elevate his game. A couple of teams since then have been bottom feeders, which would put resistance to increasing his numbers.
The Kraken hope that Johansson will prove that he can still be a useful addition to the lineup at a cheap price, and return for future seasons to build on the depth that they already have at the NHL level. With a full season set to occur in 2021-22, barring any injuries that have been a problem in the past, he will hope to return to form as a part of a promising roster.
There will be some steep competition in the bottom-6 for spots. Out of camp, the fans should see Morgan Geekie, Colin Blackwell, Cole Lind, Riley Sheahan, Carsen Twarynski, Nathan Bastian, and Alex True fighting for playing time with Johansson. He has the veteran presence that management will want and the ability to fill in any role needed up-front. Known to play higher up the lineup throughout his career, he will be able to slide easily up and down the lineup if there are injuries or line juggling.
Been There Before
Johansson has just short of 100 playoff games of experience. So, down the stretch, he will be vital to the mental side of the game and to help lead in the thick of things. With the Kraken set to compete in the Pacific Division, it’s never a bad thing to have players who have been to battle before. Over the course of 97 playoff GP in nine postseasons, he has recorded 13G, 41P, and played over 17:00 ATOI per game.
Johansson should make the lineup with the success he has had in his career. It’s just a question of where and with who. The Kraken may want to take the development of their younger players more slowly, and insert them into the lineup when they are sure the youngsters are ready. Assuming he stays healthy, Seattle should expect a 30-40 point range in a lesser role.