After re-signing Evgeny Kuznetsov earlier tonight, the Capitals had to make some cap-clearing moves. They’ve gone ahead and made one of them, announcing that they’ve dealt forward Marcus Johansson to New Jersey for Florida’s 2nd round pick in 2018 and Toronto’s 3rd round pick in 2018.
Johansson had spent his entire NHL career with the Capitals, spanning 501 games after being a first round pick (24th overall) in 2009. This past season, he set a career high in goals (24) and points (58) while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. He also was productive in the postseason, collecting eight more points (2-6-8) in 13 games.
The 26 year old has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit just under $4.6MM, a good price tag for a player who has had at least 44 points in each of the last four seasons. However, the Kuznetsov signing forced them to clear out some salary and New Jersey becomes the beneficiaries.
With the Devils, Johansson should comfortably slot in as a top line forward; his point total would have led all New Jersey skaters. He has experience at all three forward positions so head coach John Hynes will have plenty of flexibility in assembling his top six for next season.
Even with the trade, the Caps will still have some work to do on their salary cap. They now sit with $9.2MM in cap space per CapFriendly but now only have 14 players under contract. As for the Devils, they still have $20MM in cap room to work with but are expected to have a budget somewhat below the $75MM upper limit.
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