Washington Capitals: Fan Guide to 2015-2016 (Part 2)

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Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Johansson – #90

Position: Left Wing/Center

This could be an absolutely incredible season for Marcus Johansson. He’s another one of the Washington Capitals unsung players that recently signed an extension with the team this past summer. As this site repeatedly pointed out before the deal went down, losing Johansson would be a grievous mistake. Fortunately, that scenario was avoided and we as fans now get to watch what happens next.

MORE FROM STARS AND STICKS: Trading Marcus Johansson Would Be A Bad Idea

You’ll notice above that Marcus plays two forward positions: Left Wing and Center. Having played both positions myself, I can assure you that the responsibilities of each position vary pretty greatly. They demand different roles with the team. A wing tends to be more focused on playing in front of the net, taking more shots on goal, and contributing relatively less on team defense.

The center position demands a lot more. Players need to contribute more on defense and position themselves to avoid being caught in the wrong place if the puck starts going the other direction. A lot of centers tend to think “pass first and shoot second” as a result. Selfless centers like Nicklas Backstrom are fantastically paired with guys like Ovechkin because they can slip them the puck so seamlessly through traffic and result in scoring. It’s an incredible talent to have.

Marcus Johansson has played in both roles, but the feeling we’ve gotten from Barry Trotz after a full season is that he prefers Marcus to work on the wing. As the current second line Left Wing, Marcus will need to generate more shots and contribute more offensively. What I am truly excited about with “MoJo” this year is watching him unload his very precise shots on goaltenders more and passing the puck to team mates less. Here’s why.

That goal came at a paramount moment this past July in the playoff series against the New York Islanders. He played on the Wing then too, with Nicklas Backstrom playing Center on the shift. Laich retrieves the puck on the boards, slips it to the entering Johansson and instead of re-feeding the pass to Backstrom (who’s probably in a better shooting lane), Marcus pulls the trigger. Halak doesn’t look ready for the shot and the boys in red tied the game up.

Give us more, Marcus. I can’t wait to see this sniper evolve. Marcus can fill in at Center if the lines need juggling or the injury bug bites. A player like Johansson can confuse a lot of goalies who aren’t keenly aware of just how good a shooter Marcus can be. I like those terms.

Marcus is doing a lot of things this season that don’t end up on the score sheet. He’s screening goalies. You’d think that he wouldn’t be too efficient at that, but he uses his quickness to his advantage.

Next: The Coach's Favorite