Former Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson said he wasn’t surprised that he found himself traded a couple of months ago to the New Jersey Devils. Despite winning another President’s Trophy, given to the top regular season team, Johansson knew that the team’s lifespan was limited and was prepared for a possible breakup. The Capitals traded Johansson, lost defenseman Nate Schmidt to the expansion draft and allowed Justin Williams, Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner all depart via free agency.
NBC Sports Cam Tucker writes that Johansson recognizes that as being part of the game and is ready to move on to a bigger role with the Devils who need scoring. New Jersey had the third-worst offense in the NHL last year at 2.2 goals per game.
“Sometimes you have to change things and we had some good opportunities to win these past two years and we didn’t take them and I think this is what comes afterward,” said Johansson. “They have to change something and guys needed new contracts and stuff like that, so that’s the way it goes. There’s nothing more to say about it.”
- Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun writes that the renaming of the Toronto Maple Leafs arena last week that has Scotiabank getting the naming rights for $800MM (CAD) on July 1, 2018, will have a huge benefit to the players throughout the league. He writes that half of the $40MM each year goes to the hockey-related revenue, which should have a positive influence on the future salary cap.
- Sportsday’s Mike Heika interviewed Dallas Stars’ head coach Ken Hitchcock about the team’s center position and learned that the new coach expects to play newly acquired Martin Hanzal at center, but still hasn’t made up his mind when it comes to Jason Spezza. “To me, Hanzal is a center. The role Jason will have is a split duty role, and if I play Spezza on the wing, it will be a left wing. Jason will play a lot of center and some wing. We need to start with the puck, so he’s definitely going to be taking draws on his strong side,” Hitchcock said.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen writes that while the Golden Knights are not likely to keep any first year players (other than Vadim Shipachyov, people should keep an eye on Alex Tuch. The 21-year-old wing who was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2014, could be a darkhorse candidate to make the team. Vegas, known for stockpiling draft picks, actually traded their third-rounder two months ago for Tuch. He scored 18 goals in 57 AHL games for the Iowa Wild and managed to play in six NHL games a year ago.