Well I gotta hand it to Devils GM Ray Shero, he turned a day one UFA hangover into a day two post-hangover party in one fell swoop, trading 2018 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Capitals for talented C/W Marcus Johansson. Washington had sudden cap issues after spending like drunken sailors to retain T.J. Oshie, Dmitry Orlov and Evgeni Kuznetsov on big-money long-term deals and this trade seemingly developed rather quickly because of their recent signings. Shero’s continued a rather impressive streak of having a OMGZ we got THAT forward?! trade three straight offseasons now, after his Kyle Palmieri deal two offseasons ago and trading Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall last offseason.
Even more surprisingly, the Caps dealt a young, talented forward in-division. Not that we’re going to be a threat to them anytime soon but if we lock up Johansson before he becomes a free agent in 2019, they’ll have to see him in our uniform for a long time. Ironically both picks we traded, we obtained for virtually nothing – the 2nd rounder we traded was the Panthers’, which we got for taking back the dead cap hit of Marc Savard, while the 3rd rounder we traded was from the Leafs as compensation for hiring Lou Lamoriello.
Johansson is a C/LW, though he’s played RW sparingly in the past his addition could also mean a subtraction down the road to finally address the defense, given the amount of options we have at C/LW for next year. If they’re all on the team, Johansson, Hall, Adam Henrique, Pavel Zacha, Nico Hischier and Travis Zajac would seem to be our top three line C/LW’ers, with room to bump one of the wingers over to the right side (Shero had alluded to that being a possibility when he met with the media earlier this afternoon), particularly if a Michael McLeod or John Quenneville win a spot in camp.
I’ll take my helping of crow now, glad I was wrong and Shero managed to make something tangible happen. That said, there’s still definitely work to be done, hopefully our sudden forward depth at the NHL and prospect level will be able to facilitate a trade to upgrade the D.