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Johansson Surprised Capitals Traded Him: ‘Felt Like I Found Myself A Little Bit’

Marcus Johansson reflects on his trade back to the Minnesota Wild from the Washington Capitals.



After a morning practice in Anaheim for the Washington Capitals, Marcus Johansson got off the ice and went about his day. Then, he got a text from friend Joel Eriksson-Ek asking if the rumors were true that Johansson was being traded to the Minnesota Wild. And to Johansson's surprise, they were, as he was sent to Minnesota in exchange for a 2024 third-round pick.

It was a move that Johansson, who had ranked third on the Capitals in scoring and had been playing top-6 minutes and getting looks on the power play, wasn't expecting.

"Didn't really see it coming," he admitted on Thursday before his first game back with the Wild against the Vancouver Canucks. "But things weren't going well for the team there, either. There was a chance that things were gonna happen."

Johansson was a pending UFA, and with Washington looking from the outside in, general manager Brian MacLellan chose to sell and unload a number of pending free agents ahead of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on Friday. That included Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Erik Gustafsson, Lars Eller and Johansson himself.

While the 32-year-old understood the situation and the team's approach, he did believe that he was regaining his rhythm and returning to the form he was in earlier in his career that had made him a first-round pick.

"Felt like I've had a good year and found myself a little bit again in being healthy and all that," Johansson said. "You never know in this business."

Johansson had played with the Wild in 2020-21, registering 14 points in 36 games during the COVID-19-shortened season. He has a lot of familiarity with the team's systems and players in the room, and he is going to live with countrymates Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin for the remainder of the season.

At the end of the day, it was tough for No. 90 to say goodbye to his former team, but at the same time, he sees the deal as an opportunity and a positive, as it means a lot for his career going forward.

"It's a good sign that teams want you," he pointed out. "So, you have to look at it that way."

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