Marcus Johansson is currently a restricted free agent (RFA), and earlier this summer Johansson and his agent chose to file for a player elected arbitration. In most cases the teams and players come to an agreement before the arbitration hearing. But when they don’t, things can sometimes get ugly like when Mike Millbury, then the general manager of the New York Islanders, made Tommy Salo cry during an arbitration hearing.
Hopefully it won’t come to that during Marcus Johansson’s hearing, if they indeed get that far. According to the Washington Post the hearing will probably happen: “Several sources that have indicated that both sides are trending toward a hearing”. Reached via email recently, Johansson’s agent Marc Levine wrote, “Nothing to comment on at this point other than we continue to prepare for the arbitration hearing.” The arbitration hearing is set to take place on July 29.
Marcus Johansson is spending his summer in his old hometown of Karlstad, Sweden, the city where he played for Färjestad from age 16 until he left for the NHL in 2010. When speaking with Värmlands Folkblad, Johansson said that he couldn’t reveal much about the negotiation between the two sides and he didn’t seem concerned at all about not getting a new contract in order.
“I’m not worried about that, I think I will continue to play there. My focus right now is on training hard and getting myself prepared, for I know I will be playing. We will just have to wait for everything to be dealt with and finalized. It’s all part of the normal process and I have people over there that are doing the things they are supposed to be doing.”
The Washington Capitals have about $10.3 million in cap space left to sign goaltender Braden Holtby, who is also scheduled for an arbitration hearing soon, and Marcus Johansson. Holtby is asking for $8 million, and the team is offering $5.1 million, per Alex Prewitt. Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson is asking for $4 million plus, and the team wants to keep him closer to $3 million, per Prewitt again, via Sportsnet.
I should point out that at the time Värmlands Folkblad interviewed Johansson, Holtby was thought to be asking for $1.5 million less than the $8 million figure that surfaced today.
Marcus Johansson also discussed the 14 game long playoff run against the Islanders and the Rangers, and describes the series against the Islanders as a [old school viking style] holmgång. Additionally he reveals to Värmlands Folkblad that he was playing through an injury in the playoffs.
“It was damn hard and I got into some small injury problems early in the playoffs and that made it hard for me to perform at a maximum level. But at the same time, that teaches you to just put your head down and play through it anyway.”
He didn’t specify when exactly the injury occurred, but one possibility is this collision with Cal Clutterbuck in game three against the Islanders.
“I’ve never been part of a series with that much hitting before, and it wasn’t just the usual suspects that were throwing their bodies around. It was a real holmgång, hockey at its best.”
It was quite the different story playing against the Rangers. ”It wasn’t as tough. The main focus there was on controlling play and puck possession. It was night and day, really.”
Marcus Johansson felt that the Capitals were the better team in the Rangers series. “It was hard. We had the lead 1-0 in game five, and had already won 3 games but then they tied the game and managed to win it. We should have won then and I think we were the better team all through out.”
Winning is everything to Johansson. ”There’s no other goal. It’s the final and winning is all it’s about. We weren’t satisfied at all with last season but we are heading in the right direction.”
Johansson commented on Barry Trotz’s importance to the team. “It’s been good. This time it felt like the fresh start was real, it was exactly what we needed and it had effect. Even if we didn’t win, we showed that we are on the right track.”
Johansson discussed putting down roots in Karlstad. “I’ve built a house here now, so it feels like this is a real home base, something to come home to plain and simple. When you are gone for 8-9 months a year, it feels good to have a steady place to come back home to when you are not working.”