Marcus Johansson headed into this year with the Caps with hopes of being their breakout second center. Mathieu Perreault decided he didn’t like that and took the job from him in training camp as Perreault will start tonight against Carolina while Johansson appears set to be in the press box for the first game.
Johansson was deigned to be the #2 center in preseason by many observers and got a ton of time on the second line with Alex Semin and Troy Brouwer. Instead, Perreault worked his tail off in camp and exceeded expectations to show he belongs. That work was rewarded by Bruce Boudreau as he’ll be the guy centering Semin and Brouwer.
In case you’re wondering, Nicklas Backstrom centers Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble to absolutely no one’s surprise. Perreault getting the call over Johansson might not be a permanent move, but it shows that you’re not given anything in the NHL and you have to go and earn it when the time comes.