Why Caps Fans Need Tålamod With Marcus Johansson

Marcus Johansson during warm-ups

Photo credit: BridgetDS

Nothing like skating on the best real estate in the NHL in only your 9th ever NHL game to ratchet up expectations. Enough that some question if MJ90 should even be in the NHL. The answer is: of course he should. How else will the Caps know what moves to make in April?

And make no mistake, they will have to make a move because even with all the patience in the world, MJ90 is probably not the answer for the second pivot slot this year. And that’s OK. Tomas Fleischmann, who was recently benched asked to take his turn sitting out, isn’t either. Neither is Matheiu Perreault (sorry Nicci), Cody Eakin (again, sorry Nicci) or anyone else currently in the Caps organization. Patience (tålamod), not rash thinking, is what’s important.

For one, the organization will not know for sure where he ultimately belongs unless he’s playing at the NHL level. The twelve minutes a night he is playing, as soft as they may be,  are giving the Caps the chance to evaluate his talent and adjustment to the North American game. At times he has played well and others he has played like a rookie. And with only 9 games under his belt, that should be expected.

Secondly, aside from Brad Richards, only a handful of pending UFA centers playing 30+ games and 12+ min TOI last year could even be considered Top 6 forwards:

  • Brad Richards
  • Eric Belanger
  • Brendon Morrisson
  • Tim Connolly
  • Marcel Goc
  • Vernon Fiddler
  • Mike Modano

Tough to get your hopes up that a deadline deal – without giving up something major in return – is just a phone call away. Maybe that’s why GMGM felt compelled to let it be known if another general manager called about Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth or Braden Holtby his response would be, “We’re not trading any of them.

The deals made in April will be critical, so having a little patience with MJ90 will go a long way in making sure that when a deal is made, it’s the absolute right one for the Cup run.

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  • FedFed

    Marcel Goc is a good option IMO.

  • Ben

    Marcel Goc is NOT a 2nd line center. Career high of 30 points. I’d rather have Nylander back centering the 2nd line than Marcel f’n Goc! He’s a 3rd line defensive player who can chip in offensively now and then….not a 2nd line center on a Cup Contender.

  • Mary K

    Unrelated to this article, but RNMB has been declared “the world’s foremost authority on Holtbyisms” via Steinberg.

  • FedFed

    Ben,
    We Need a defensive (see: two-way) centerman (see: Belanger, Eric) but younger. We don’t need another Flash-like C. He could share this role with MoJo depending to which style of game Caps are playing: offensive or defensive.

  • Livia

    Your call for tålamod with MJ90 is timely. I think that whenever the Caps have a bad period, it brings back bad memories from last spring’s playoffs, and I want the team to do something, anything, right away to tighten things up. I’m glad that you, GMGM and Uncle Ted are taking the long view. Besides, it really is fun to watch MJ90 play–with his fast, fluid skating and his ability to carry the puck up the ice quickly while dodging the opponent’s defenders–it’s exciting to contemplate what a great player he could become.

  • JDP

    “Tough to get your hopes up that a deadline deal – without giving up something major in return”

    Duh. So give up something major. Or dwell in mediocrity. Give up Semin or Green or Varlamov or Holtby. Acquire a legit Center or shutdown defenseman.

    GMGM is a joke. My patience has run out on him.

  • Sean

    @JDP

    *sigh*

    There’s literally NO POINT in giving up Varlamov or Holtby. The trade market for goalies is essentially worthless. Look at what Halak fetched. And none of our goalies are going to be worth as much as Halak. Heck, historically, look at how little Patrick Roy cost.

    And if you are seriously suggesting that we should give up on Green or Semin, you’re clueless. Green has been playing terrific defense this season, and his offense is still fantastic. He’s been a Norris finalist two years in a row. There’s no defensemen even near his caliber on the trade market (no, Nashville isn’t trading Weber).

    And who do we trade Semin for that actually makes our team better? Nobody is going to give up a whole lot of NHL talent for a player who is a UFA after the season. Semin would be considered a rental to other NHL teams, meaning his market would be teams in contention. And they’re going to want to give up picks/prospects, not NHL talent. LA isn’t going to give us Kopitar for Semin. Dallas would rather keep their UFA (Richards) than trade for one even less likely to sign with them.

    You’re a freaking joke. Think about what you say.