Trades turn rivals into teammates, and friends into foes, but even by those standards, it’s pretty funny that the Boston Bruins landed Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils.
Before we go deeper into that, the Devils confirmed the terms of the trade:
Bruins receive: Marcus Johansson. After salary retention, Johansson carries $2.75M cap hit, which expires after 2018-19.
Devils’ get: 2019 second-round pick, 2020 fourth-round pick. Devils retain 40-percent of Johansson’s salary.
After missing 28 games from a concussion suffered by that Marchand hit (and who knows how much he was limited even when he was able to play?), Johansson fumed about it in March 2018:
“It was stupid. There’s nothing else to say about it. I think there was no point in doing that,” he told reporters after Monday’s practice. “There was no hockey play whatsoever there. It’s sad to see that there are still guys out there trying to hurt other guys… It’s sad. It’s stupid. I hope it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough. It’s not why we play the game.”
So, how does Johansson feel about Marchand now that he’s a fellow teammate? About what you would expect:
What Johansson brings
After a nice run with the Capitals where Johansson managed two 20+ goal seasons (including career highs of 24 goals and 58 points in 2016-17), it seemed like the Devils got a steal.
Blame the Marchand hit or other factors, but things didn’t really work out that way. Johansson managed 14 points in 29 games in 2017-18, and has 27 in 48 contests this season. There have been times where his possession stats just look average, but when you zoom out, he’s an interesting find. The Bruins really need help as far as supporting cast members go, and Marcus Johansson + Charlie Coyle could provide a boost. The question is: how much of a boost?
Overall he checks out reasonably well:
And the Bruins can hope he resembles the bigger-picture version – maybe even the Capitals edition – rather than what we’ve seen more recently. Consider the wide net you can cast to see Johansson this season versus a larger picture, via tthis SKATR comparison chart by Bill Comeau (from Corsica’s data).
Solid haul for Devils
New Jersey sent its 2018 second and third-round picks to land Johansson from the cap-strapped Capitals, when his league-wide perception was much higher. GM Ray Shero did well to get a similar package for Johansson when a) his perceived value is way down and b) he seemed obviously headed out of New Jersey, either way.
New Jersey now has six picks in the first three rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft (their first, three second-rounders, and two in the third), plus an additional fourth-rounder in 2020 along with their original selections.
Amassing a ton of picks might be best used to turn those picks into roster players, at least if the goal is to entice Taylor Hall to sign a contract extension. (Hall’s deal expires after 2019-20, so they can try to get that ball rolling in July.)
Those picks can be used in that way, or simply give the Devils more dart throws at improving their farm system. Both bring more value that about six weeks of Johansson’s services, so solid work there.
This trade makes good sense for both sides, although some might gripe that Boston paid a touch too much. Sometimes that’s the price of doing business, and Johansson has enough potential to make this worth Boston’s while.