Johansson embraces new role with ‘underdog’ Devils

Posted: 08/07/2017 in NHL, Sports
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Going from the Presidents’ Trophy winner to the last-place team in the Metropolitan Division might not be easy for some players, but Marcus Johansson is making the best of it.

“I don’t mind being an underdog,” the former Washington Capitals forward said Friday in his first media availability as a member of the New Jersey Devils. “We can surprise some people.”

Washington traded Johansson to New Jersey last week for second- and third-round selections in 2018, a move that freed up more than $4.5 million for the cap-crunched Capitals.

The Devils’ offensive firepower pales in comparison to that of the Capitals, but Johansson believes New Jersey has a talented group.

“The depth we have is good,” he said. “Once we put it together as a team, it’s going to be a real strength.”

New Jersey is building around the likes of Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, as well as 20-year-old center Pavel Zacha and Nico Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft.

The team’s core also includes longer-tenured players such as Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac.

Additionally, the Devils signed veteran forward Brian Boyle to a two-year deal on July 1.

It’s unclear where Johansson will slot in, given that he’s capable of playing all three forward spots, but he’s flexible.

“I’m open for whatever comes my way when I get there,” he said.

The Devils’ youth movement, including Zacha and Hischier, wasn’t lost on Johansson either.

“It’s awesome,” Johansson said. “There’s going to be a lot of hunger. We’re going to be a strong and fast team.”

He’ll be looking to prove that his career-high 24 goals and 58 points with the Capitals this past season can be duplicated elsewhere.


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