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‘I’m Home’: Johansson Opens Up About Staying With Capitals & Will To Win

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Washington Capitals Marcus Johansson

ARLINGTON, V.A. — When Marcus Johansson returned to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline, it felt like no time had passed. And from the moment he came back to D.C., where he’d started his career in 2009 before his trade to the New Jersey Devils in 2017, he didn’t want to leave the place he’d called home — and still calls home — again.

So much so that when free agency came around, the pending UFA didn’t pay much attention to outside offers. He had one goal in mind: remaining with the Capitals.

“When I was talking to Washington, other teams got involved. And I just felt like, ‘No, this is where I want to be,'” Johansson said. “Especially after coming back here last year. This was the right decision for me hockey-wise and for my family as well. There was never a doubt.”

It’s been a long road for “JoJo,” who is back for another season at $1.1 million. After a year and a half with the Devils, Johansson was dealt again, this time to the Boston Bruins. There, he came extremely close to the Stanley Cup. However, the Bruins fell in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues. It was a devastating loss for Johansson, who also saw Washington finally hoist the Stanley Cup the year after he was sent to the Devils.

“When it comes to playoffs, it’s always tight. It’s always small little things that make or break [you],” Johansson said, adding, “My highest goal and dream in hockey is to win,” he said.

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The 31-year-old then spent the next few seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken before general manager Brian MacLellan brought him back in exchange for Daniel Sprong and a pick at the trade deadline.

“It feels like coming home when I come here… [I was so excited to see [all of them],” Johansson said. “It felt like no time has passed. I felt like I’m at home, and that’s because of the guys and everything around here. I’ve always loved it here.”

In 18 games after the deadline to close out 2021-22 with the Capitals, the Swede dished three goals and three assists while also racking up 14 hits, eight blocks and 30 shots. He also had a goal and assist in the first-round series against the Florida Panthers.

Coming into a new year, Johansson wants to show that he still has a lot of potential and wants to recapture that ability that made him one of the top Washington prospects a decade ago.

“I want to keep staying healthy and play the game I know I can play,” Johansson explained. “When I play, it brings out good hockey in me. I want to contribute both offensively and defensively. But most of all, I want to help this team win.”

Looking at the roster is also something that drew Johansson to re-sign. He believes that the group, which also added Dylan Strome, Connor Brown, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren, is more than capable of contending yet again. And ultimately, Johansson wants to win with this locker room and not another.

“I feel like this team has the chance to win every year… this time, we have the team for it. We have everything that you need for it. That’s the main thing. I want to win, and this team has a chance. That was the main thing for coming here as well.”

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Johansson spent the summer training and getting in shape for the upcoming campaign. To unwind, he has spent time with his wife and kids and prioritized family. He also played some golf, watched Game of Thrones and played some Call Of Duty to pass the time.

Ultimately, though, he’s just happy to be back, and he’s ready for the campaign. He not only wants to make a name for himself again in Washington but also get back to the Stanley Cup Final.

This time, though, he wants to do it with the franchise he holds close to his heart, and he also wants a different result: the same one he missed out on — twice — just a few years back.

“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to play hockey, with these guys and in this town,” Johansson affirmed with a smile. “I’m looking forward to that.”

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