ARLINGTON, V.A. — With the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline coming to a close, the Washington Capitals made their second and final deal of the day with about an hour to go, bringing in forward Johan Larsson.
Washington acquired the 29-year-old from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2023 third-rounder, and Arizona retained half of his salary. He carries a cap hit of just $700,000, and ultimately, is a worthwhile addition.
Larsson is mainly known for his defensive ability and versatility. He is a physical, strong forward who can play a strong 200-foot game and also play all three positions. He can also kill penalties and generate speed and pressure on the forecheck.
Through 29 games this season, Larsson has six goals and nine assists, as well as 53 hits, while averaging 17:52 minutes per game.
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Looking at where he can fit in, he can provide a major boost to the penalty kill and add to the bottom-6. He is likely a favorite to help fill Carl Hagelin’s void as a penalty killer and utility forward, as well as a strong player to fill in for No. 62 on the powerhouse fourth line with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. If needed, Larsson can also play pivot.
“We’ve always liked Larsson, even when he was in Buffalo,” MacLellan said. “He was a real good defensive player. He’s versatile, he can play center, he can play wing, kills penalties, very responsible player, good 5-on-5 guy. I think there’s multiple uses for him also. And adding center depth if injuries occur is important for us, too.”
Overall, it’s another low-risk, low-cost deal for the Capitals with a lot of upside. With him and Marcus Johansson joining the mix, expect the team to have two more strong defensive forwards and also get more of a spark on special teams.