Marcus Johansson: 2013-14 Season Review

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn

Marcus Johansson played on the top line with Alex Ovechkin pretty much all season but scored just two goals during 5v5. I bet you could score three.

By the Numbers

80 Games played
17.1 Average time on ice per game
8 Goals
36 Assists
48.3% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
41.7% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
91.4% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

There’s a lot to like about Marcus Johansson. He’s a strong puck handler, particularly dutiful when it comes to making zone entries. He’s got a surprising about of grit when playing the low man on the power play. He’s an exceptional skater.

But that adjectival stuff only goes so far. Mojo’s been on the top line for a while now, but he doesn’t put up top-line numbers. To be fair, Alex Ovechkin played better with Mojo than when apart (measured by shot attempts) and Marcus’s shooting percentage during evens was an unfairly low 2.8 percent (even lower than Tom Wilson somehow). But if optimizing Alex Ovechkin during 5v5 is important for the Caps, you have to think they can do better than Johansson at this point.

Johansson will earn a cool 2 million next season before expiring in restricted free agent status. If Ovechkin moves back to the left wing, it would seem to me like MJ90 would make a mighty fine trading chip.

Mojo on RMNB

In Pictures

Simply the best. Better than all the rest.

Here’s a solemn-looking Olympic medal-winner. He probably just missed his Backy.

The humpty dance is your chance to do the hump.

I absolutely loved this move Marcus would pull of on the power play.

Your Turn

If Marcus isn’t the right guy to play opposite Ovi, where would you like to see him? At center between Chimera and Ward? Left wing on the second line? Heading out of town in exchange for some defense? Or am I wrong about the whole deal?

Read more: Japers Rink

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  • Rob W.

    Id like to see him as a 2nd or 3rd liner. His shooting is awful(when he actually decides to pull the trigger) and not really worthy of the 1st line.

  • Mark Chaffer

    MOJO IS THE BEST. FIGHT ME, NOOBS

  • Bradford

    Where would I like to see him? Heading to Vancouver in exchange for Ryan Kesler.

  • Michal

    I loved his onetimer/pass to Kuznetsov…it actually turned out pretty awesome

  • Trade

    Please god trade him. We are log jammed for wingers and his stats are hugely inflated by Backvechkin.

  • Mary

    The picture of him accepting the Olympic silver medal is just heart-breaking. But with your remark about his trade potential, I’m thinking I should lay off buying any player-related T-shirts from you guys in future. First the PerryCelly shirt right before his trade and now talk of Mojo just after we received our Swedes on Bikes shirts?

  • Mark F

    I think he is more of a 2nd line player, but with a puck hog like Ovechkin, it doesn’t hurt. I don’t see him as trade bait though. Why trade a young guy making $2M a year that can play top 2 lines in your Org and PP? What will you get in return? Low draft pick, or #6 defenseman? He needs to work on his shot this offseason and use it during games.

  • Lawrence

    I think he has been mismanaged and mis-coached since he entered the league. Hes just so mentally and physically fragile, you have to question if you can count on this guy being one of your top players in the future. Confidence is a huge issue for him and he almost has no identity as a player. When he came into the league he was a fast, 2 way passer that could open up plays for his linemates. Now we are left with a player who has terrible possession numbers, doesn’t use his speed, doesn’t set up his teammates, and can’t figure out if he is a play-maker or a finisher (who misses the net worse than Wolski does). He has his good games, but slowly they are becoming less and less often.

    For now, I would like him to solidify himself as a 2nd line winger or a 3rd line center and get back to his natural strengths. If he was coached better, I think he could have easily been a 1st line winger by now. He has taken so many steps back from when he first came into the league, I just hope he finds a way to improve because he has been stuck at his same skill level for a couple seasons now.

  • JH

    I agree that he has been misplayed on the first line. I never understood why he took Fehr, who was NOT a center, and made him the 3L center, when you had MoJo as a natural center who could have easily centered that third line. The speed on that line would have been lethal. I get that he was good at carrying the puck into the zone, but that one attribute is not enough. From what I’ve seen, he has potential to be a first line player, but he should spend more time on the second or third line. I personally wouldn’t trade him unless we have a solid option for a third-line center.

    Do folks really think Ovi will switch back to left wing? I guess given his 5v5 lack of production, maybe that makes sense – I don’t know. If he does, that opens up a lot of line possibilities.

  • Hitt

    I would love to see him part of a trade package. In my opinion he is way to soft, bad in corners, and really is just redundant on this team. Not good enough for the top 6 not enough grit for the bottom. I also think another GM might see value in him but we will see maybe he gets better, I also think his development was jacked up, should have spent a good chunk of time Hershey.

  • Barrett

    Trade him. He plays wing over center because he doesn’t win faceoffs. He doesn’t score goals at winger because he doesn’t shoot. When he does shoot he misses. When he misses it is often a wide open net. Not a top 2-way type player either. Trade him to Anaheim, reunite him with BB and get a draft pick. They’ll be short on wingers and centers next season.

  • Dcsportsfan

    Marcus will still be a RFA at the end of this current contract and we often forget he’s still only 23 years old. He and Orlov were drafted in the same year. I do believe he was rushed to the NHL and has been mis-managed, but he will still have trade value after the season.

    I’d like to see him get another season of development preferably at center, but whatever the team needs. He’s extremely versatile and I don’t think we should overlook the fact that having skaters who can play center and wing is valuable in giving the roster more flexibility. I would like to see MoJo center the 3rd line. The center position will allow him to use his best asset (skating) more and I think that is where he’d prefer to play. I would need to see him develop in these areas:

    1. Being stronger on the puck
    2. FO winning %
    3. Playing a more assertive game. Be more aggressive about making a play.
    4. SHOOT THE PUCK MORE
    5. Improve game to game consistency

    He actually has decent size and great skating, speed and skills so the tools are there to be a good 2-way center and he needs to put it together this year.

    I’m not big on trading for Kesler. He has had so many injury issues because he plays such a physically aggressive game and I think there is a ton of injury risk and players who play his style tend to decline rapidly.

    Give him another season to develop and we can still trade him this off-season if he doesn’t progress.

  • MadFlava

    Would like to see MarJo get a look at 3rd line center so he can play his natural position. Get Kuznetsov and Wilson into the top six to see if they will stick.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Mojo would be the first one on my list to be dealt this offseason

  • Red

    No thanks. MoJo has been given more than plenty opportunity and top line minutes to prove his value to the team, and has failed to impress. He doesn’t have the hands to be a center or the size and finishing ability to make a productive winger.
    As far as I can see, his only redeeming characteristic is his speed. However, speed is only useful if you can a) score or b) forecheck. Mojo is useless at both. He’s too slight to be an effective forechecker and gets knocked off the puck easily. To give the man some credit, he sees the ice well, and can deliver a pretty pass or two. However, he’s not a scoring threat by anyone’s standards, which makes him a one-dimensional player, and that’s simply unacceptable for a top 6 forward. As for bottom 6, I’ll take a cheaper and grittier Jay Beagle any day of the week.

  • Jonah

    oates did it because wingers must play on their forehand side and mojo is a left wing and fehr is a right shot. why can’t you get this through your head????
    if fehr (righty shot) played on the LEFT wing the whole would collapse!!

    *sarcasm intended, if you didn’t pick that up yourself*

  • Sarah

    On the one hand I see your point. On the other, NOOOOOO!

  • salgotnv

    When Mojo gets the puck I countdown to when he loses it or gets slammed by the D. There has gotta be tougher Swedes we can trade for #lol

  • Eric Schulz

    You mean, BackstrOvie.

  • Eric Schulz

    No. Trading him for a draft pick is a bad use of assets. He’s regressed with bad coaching, no reason to think he won’t make a giant leap with a good coach when utilized correctly (I would rather use him as a trade chip, but only if the return is worth it).

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t think he was rushed. I think he was very good as a rookie. He was badly coached, not rushed.

  • Eric Schulz

    Johansson, Brouwer, Sanford for Kesler. More than fair
    (Brouwer = NHLer, Sanford = prospect, Johansson = both)
    Carrick, Hillen, Kundratek for Edler, pretty fair
    (Hillen = NHLer, Kundratek = prospect, Carrick = both?)
    throw in next year’s 1st… to me, that’s a trade that’s great for both sides. If I’m the Canucks’ GM, I take that (maybe I make you throw in Galiev and Anderson too), and I have some nice talent to rebuild with (and Brouwer and Hillen can help give me at least a competitive roster, and then I can try to move them at the deadline too). As the Caps, we need to resign Grabovski and Penner… add a FA blueline (say, Meszaros), add a veteran backup (Stalock, for instance):
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Penner
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Laich – Kesler – Fehr
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    Alzner – Carlson
    Edler – Green
    Orlov – Meszaros
    Holtby

    Stalock
    Boom, contenders. Easy. (Roll 4 lines… 2nd is offensive line, 3rd is more of a lower event, puck possession line… it’s not a strict 2nd and 3rd TOI distribution, you use them as the game dictates.)

  • Eric Schulz

    I think there’s a blockbuster trade to be made with Vancouver that is great for both sides (mentioned lower in this comment section, and elsewhere). Johansson would be a relatively big part of it. I think he’s a very good asset, and we are probably better off trading him, but only if it’s for something like that; it needs to clearly strengthen our team, not be some lateral move.
    In a much more likely scenario:
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Chimera – Johansson – Ward
    I would rather resign Penner and use him on the top line. He has the skills for it, and his forechecking and size would be a nice asset. Fehr then strengthens a lower line, and we are better for having both. That makes Brouwer expendable, and he and Johansson can be the foundation that would get us Kesler. However, I don’t think our next GM has the balls to try that… even if he did, not sure he sees Penner the same way I do (I think Penner has no problem resigning here with a new GM and new coach… I see him as very valuable, since he provides the style of play we need on the top line to complement BackstrOvie, and should do it relatively cheaply. Oh well). But Fehr driving possession on the top line is a nice backup plan. I still don’t see how we fit Brouwer, Wilson, and Ward on the team… I’d guess one of Brouwer or Ward is gone at the start of the year, unless Wilson is in the AHL, which I really don’t see. I’d rather trade Ward, I think Brouwer is clearly a better player (and both are expensive), but w/e… that 2nd line works just fine with Kuz Nasty and Grabovski… the other winger could be Brouwer or Wilson, either works, IMO. Chimera and Ward were effective together no matter the center (although not as effective as their point totals indicate, a major reason I’d love to see the blockbuster trade, and see them on a super-4th, rather than a sure-to-regress 3rd). Johansson fits in there, IMO. He can use his speed to get in on the forecheck and cycle with those two, and production will be more of a bonus than a necessity.

  • Eric Schulz

    Ovie scored a ridiculously high percentage of his goals from the left side (at evens, not just on the PP), so it’s easy to argue that moving him to the right didn’t do anything to rejuvenate him. Which wing he plays on matters much less than having a style that allows us to take advantage of the strengths on the roster, and dominate possession. Given our depth at RW, it makes sense to move him back to his natural LW.

  • Eric Schulz

    I think he’s a 3rd line player right now, with 2nd line upside.
    His age, talent/upside, and cheap – albeit short-term – contract would make him a valuable asset in a trade with a rebuilding team. I’ve laid out a blueprint for a blockbuster trade with Vancouver that benefits both sides. So I think a trade can be made the moves out Johansson that benefits us. I think he’s one of our best trade assets right now. However, as with anybody, we shouldn’t trade him just to trade him. If the return doesn’t strengthen the team, we are better off keeping him; he’s a talented, young player. With good coaching, I’d expect him to have a very nice rebound season next year.
    I’d prefer to use him and some other redundant pieces (Carrick, Brouwer/Ward) to go “all-in” and add a big piece or two; we can move a bunch of pieces and still have enough depth to withstand some injuries, and still keep Burakovsky and Barber, so we shouldn’t even damage our future, just deplete our prospect pipeline. With young players Kuznetsov, Wilson, Orlov, and Holtby plus Backstrom, Ovechkin, Alzner, and Carlson aren’t that old either, we will have more than enough time to rebuild our prospect pool. As long as we retain Grabovski and add a legit coach, I think we are at least a dangerous playoff team, but I don’t see us being a legit contender without a big addition. We’ll see… hopefully I’m wrong, because I no longer have any confidence that a GM of a team I am a fan of will ever make the right move again.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • John Martino

    In life, there are passengers and there are drivers…

  • fargnbrat

    Preach it!

  • Cameron

    I’m sorry but this trades are just stupidly horrendous. There is no way the Canucks would agree to them

  • JH

    Just for grins, I compared Ovi and Crosby at even strength. Is this right that they had the same number of even-strength goals at 26???

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/icetrack/?r1Id=268143&r1Year=2013&r1eventType=%27GOAL%27&r1type=1&r1strength=EV&r2Id=296786&r2Year=2013&r2eventType=%27GOAL%27&r2type=1&r2strength=EV#1

  • Eric Schulz

    They are rebuilding. If you are rebuilding, you don’t move out Kesler and Edler/Hamhuis/Bieksa for
    Johansson, Sanford, Galiev,
    Carrick, Kundratek,
    Anderson
    plus NHLers Brouwer and Hillen? If so, then you’re going to be replaced in a few years, and your team will be worse off than it was when you took over. You aren’t going to get a better prospect/upside package for Kesler than Johansson and Sanford (Johansson has been in the NHL for a while, and is easily a 3rd liner, maybe even a 2nd, and certainly has 2nd line upside. He’s also been hurt by bad coaching… he may already be a 2nd liner). Sanford also has 2nd line upside. Galiev has a lot of talent, although he doesn’t hold the same promise he used to. He’s a throw-in; getting a talent like him helps to mitigate risk with regards to other prospects not reaching their potential (Johansson mitigates it even more, obviously, since he has upside, but his floor right now is still NHLer). Plus you’re getting Brouwer, who is a 2nd or 3rd liner, a lock for 20 goals, and you can trade him for a 1st probably, if you want to.
    On defense, you are getting Carrick, a guy similar to Johansson in that he’s a prospect in terms of age and upside, but he’s also got NHL experience. Kundratek is a relatively well-regarded prospect as well. You are getting two defenders with top-4 upside, plus Hillen gives you a body for the NHL to replace the departing Edler.
    Please try to find an example of a rebuilding team trading out an established player of Kesler’s value, or Edler’s, and getting back a package *better* than Brouwer, Johansson, Sanford (for Kesler, that’s a top-6 NHLer, a 3rd liner with top-6 upside, and a prospect with top-6 upside), or Hillen, Carrick, Kundratek (that’s an NHLer, plus 2 prospects with top-4 potential, and one has 30 games NHL experience already at only 19 years of age), PLUS I’m adding Galiev, Anderson, and a 1st round pick next year. That’s a great trade for a rebuilding Canuck team. And if you aren’t trying to rebuild, then you aren’t very good at evaluating your roster, and you are going to be fired soon anyway.

  • Eric Schulz

    You have to buy in that Vancouver is rebuilding; again, looking at that roster tells me THEY SHOULD BE. Doesn’t mean they are, but then you look at their trades the last year; two stand out. Trading Schneider for the pick that became Horvat makes sense and doesn’t foretell a rebuild, but then trading Luongo at the deadline for Markstrom and Matthias? That’s now a team that knows it’s rebuilding. Lack and Markstrom in net is very impressive, but they are both young and very inexperienced. That will allow the Canucks to fast-forward their rebuild, so kudos to them; they probably can’t move both Sedins, so if they can rebuild/retool in a few years, they may still have those two as effective 2nd liners.
    If that’s the goal (back to playoffs+ in 3-4 years), then Brouwer could still be a part of that if you don’t want to trade him for a 1st or a high-end prospect. Johansson will be in his prime; Sanford should be starting his career, Carrick should be entering his prime, Kundratek and Galiev should be ready for the NHL (if Galiev ever will be). I doubt they still have Lack and Markstrom; likely they pull a Kings and trade one (as the Kings did in Bernier to acquire Frattin and Scrivens, then flipped Frattin in a package to acquire Gaborik). That means Anderson may be attractive to them to develop as their relatively cheap backup for whichever goalie takes the crease. Obviously he may well never get to the NHL, but it’s hard to project goalies; if you add him to the other guys they have that may or may not reach the NHL, then it’s more likely that one ends up being a high-end backup through sheer numbers.
    They have some nice young talent: Kassian, Horvat, Shinkaruk, Jensen, Cassels, Gaunce, Corrado, Subban, Friesen. Let’s say they move out most of their secondary guys, guys like Booth, Burrows, Higgins, Hansen, Santorelli; whether through trades to acquire picks and prospects, or just letting them walk in FA. Imagine they keep only their key players on the roster now:
    D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Kassian
    Horvat – Johansson – Brouwer
    Shinkaruk – Cassels – Jensen
    Those look like really, really nice top 3 lines. That 3rd is a bit more of a high-event, scoring 3rd than a grinding, defensive 3rd, but that’s still a lot of talent. The 2nd has some nice upside as a shut-down line; Johansson flashed nice potential as a two-way forward before Oates took over, so it’s easy to see him recapturing that form. It may well be that he won’t, it’s not like it’s a sure thing with better coaching, but even if he doesn’t, he could be a nice set-up man on the 2nd line. Pairing him with a shoot-first guy like Brouwer (more goals than assists almost every season) makes sense; by then, they’d have played with each other quite a bit, and that could be a solid 2nd, if not great. Horvat is a very good two-way player with some great upside. Certainly in a best-case scenario, that’s a great line that makes a lot of sense. More than likely, it’s not great but is still solid… I think Horvat projects as similar to Landeskog, so even though Johansson and Brouwer are flawed players, they could form a very effective trio.
    I delved into the 2nd line first, because that’s where you see the largest impact of the trade. The first is pretty obvious. The Sedin’s likely aren’t nearly as effective, but can still probably play on your top line, you just have 3 scoring lines rather than a clear top line and 2 secondary scoring lines behind that. Kassian is a really nasty, skilled power forward. He makes a lot of sense on this line; he’s a much better version of Burrows, or at least will be if he develops as expected.
    On the third, Shinkaruk was one of the most skilled players in that 2013 draft; heh put up a stat-line of 37-49–86 in 64 games. On talent alone, he almost definitely goes top-10 (probably 6-8, I’d think? That seemed to be about where he was rated as a talent, based on how I read scouts’ take. Maybe a scout would disagree, I could be wrong, but I’m going off of what I read by scouts and kind of put it all together). He fell to the late first; to [over-]simplify, he’s like Semin: high-end talent, inconsistent. Having a guy like that on the 3rd is a nice ingredient for success, IMO. I may rather have a team built like the Bruins, with an emphasis on defense, but not every team has the ingredients for a team like that. It’s not easy to acquire size, speed, and skill. If Vancouver plays to their strengths, that’s a very nice roster. Cassels is a solid passer. According to my ’13-’14 Hockey News NHL Yearbook, “Strong penalty-killer, loves to agitate opponents.” If Cassels is centering the 3rd, with a talent like Shinkaruk on his wing, I think that’s a dangerous 3rd. Jensen is a solid winger on the right; he projects as kind of a 2nd/3rd tweener. He probably has similar value to Shinkaruk, although he’s a higher-floor, lower-ceiling prospect. Jensen could easily put up 15 goals from that spot.
    That’s not even using Gaunce or Sanford; Sanford could easily take Shinkaruk’s spot if Shinkaruk can’t figure out a way to play with more grit and consistency, and that becomes a more typical 3rd. Gaunce could take Cassels’ spot if Cassel doesn’t develop; more than likely, Gaunce is a better player than Cassels (at this point, at least, that seems to be the case), so that wouldn’t shock me. If so, then Cassels might be a really nice 4th C. Maybe Johansson doesn’t reach 2nd line C potential (likely faceoffs hold him back?), so Sanford or Gaunce could fill that spot, with Johansson moving to Shinkaruk’s spot on the 3rd, and Sanford or Gaunce (whoever isn’t 2nd C) could still take that spot from Cassels, pushing him to 4th C… or Johansson takes it instead… lots of options. Now, you could even say that they don’t need our guys, you could build a nice top-9 without Johansson, Brouwer, and Sanford. Sure, if everybody develops, but that just doesn’t happen. I think our guys combined with their prospects is really all they need to pretty much guarantee that they have a legit top-9 in 3 or 4 years. Then you add in that 1st I’m giving them in 2015.
    Sure, you could hold onto Kesler and hope he’s still valuable then, but I think I’d make that trade and have a much brighter future. If you hold onto Kesler, your present still isn’t really that good. You can go all-in, blow some money on free agency, and hopefully you grab a low playoff spot. I just don’t see why that’s worth it.
    On the blueline, I could certainly see them saying no to my deal if they refused to give up Edler. If they are trying to contend in short order, then he could easily be a part of it. I’d be almost as happy taking Hamhuis though; I’d be shocked if they weren’t willing to make that deal with Kesler and Hamhuis. Carrick and Kundratek are nice pieces, although the strength of the package they receive is mainly the forwards. Hillen is merely a placeholder until some of their young guys develop. However, they are pretty strong on the blueline, even if they give up Hamhuis (or even Edler), so I don’t think they hold up that trade because they want more blueline talent.
    If they give up Hamhuis, they still have Edler as their top guy, Bieksa, Garrison, and Tanev fill out the top-4, they could use Hillen on the 3rd pair… and then they have Andersson, Corrado, Subban, Weber, Carrick, and Kundratek developing. Whoever emerges, they have a strong core of players on the blueline. I’d also imagine they use our 1st here, although of course value trumps all. I’d imagine they trade Garrison if they can… maybe even Bieksa… I’d imagine one gets traded, and both do only if they really like the development of their blueline prospects. They could have:
    Edler – Tanev
    Bieksa – Corrado
    Carrick – Kundratek
    Subban – Weber
    Hard to imagine them not being able to find a legit top-6 from those 8.
    If you are the Canucks’ GM, you don’t trade Kesler and Hamhuis for Johansson, Brouwer, Sanford, Galiev, Carrick, Kundratek, Hillen, Anderson, and a 2015 1st? What’s your plan then? Do you think you can make a splash in free agency and actually do anything this year? I don’t see why. Do you think you can rebuild faster or better with a different trade? What trade? What team has both the desire to add those pieces, the ability to, and the pieces to give you back this better deal? I just don’t see it. The thing about the Caps is that we are in a rather unique situation; we have a lot of talent, some redundant talent, a very nice prospect pool… but we aren’t quite legit contenders. We are at a crossroads. We could easily make this trade in order to return to contender status, so we have more desire (or should) to make a blockbuster trade. I don’t see any other team that would offer you a package of remotely the same value… nobody else really “needs” it as much as we do.

    (I said before that we don’t NEED it… we don’t, I think we *could* contend without it.. but we’d need to make some nice, smart moves in FA, and we may need a little bit of luck on top of that. The right coach, a partner for Green, and a two-way C for the 3rd should be all that we need. But if Kuznetsov flops, or Wilson does… or Johansson continues regressing… or, God forbid, Grabovski leaves, we are a playoff team still, maybe… but in line for another 1st round flameout.
    I think this trade is the easiest way to regain contender status… and also, while depth is nice, in some places it seems like we have too much. As much as I like Johansson, I just don’t see the right fit for him right now. He’d make a fine 3rd liner, but I’d prefer a different type of player, given what our top 2 lines look like. If we can’t get that guy, I don’t mind Johansson there… but I think we can get that guy in Kesler, who is way overqualified for the 3rd. And as much as I like Brouwer – and, to a lesser degree, Ward – with Fehr, Wilson, Brouwer, and Ward, it’s hard to see how we play all 4 of those guys correctly. Making this trade not only makes us better, our roster falls into place better, and the guys we move out get more ice time, and our put in better roles, albeit on a worse team.)

  • Eric Schulz

    MAYBE Dallas is in a similar spot with regards to wanting to contend but needing to make a big move… but they are younger than the Caps with regards to their key players, so it’s more likely that they stand pat and let their young players develop. Also, I’m not sure how they give Vancouver a package that is as good, with regards to prospects (they wouldn’t be as willing to give away near-ready NHL prospects like us with Carrick), or players (they couldn’t afford to give up NHLers like Brouwer, Johansson, and Hillen).
    Carolina might be, but I don’t see how they could make it work financially, even if they somehow came up with an equally impressive package, which I don’t see from them either.
    Detroit could be the only other team that is in a similar spot, and they have some nice prospects, more of whom are NHL-ready than in the average NHL organization. But they probably don’t feel like they need to make a move, they just need a healthier Datsyuk and Zetterberg more than anything else (probably true). And I don’t see how they make the deal without needing the Canucks to take Weiss, which wouldn’t make sense for the Canucks. If I’m the Red Wings’ GM, I just resign Legwand and get a player to fill that role for cheaper, both with regards to money as well as what it takes to acquire them; Kesler would need to be traded for, Legwand is already a Red Wing.
    Edmonton is the only team I see that could *possibly* want Kesler as much as the Capitals should (meaning they would be equally motivated to put together an overwhelming package). They, like Dallas, have a very young team however, and I don’t see them willing to give up on as much young talent as it would take to acquire Kesler. You could easily see them including Yakupov, which gives them the start of a better package, as Yakupov is probably better than any one guy the Caps would be sending to the Canucks… but after that, I don’t see how they could possibly match that deal. If you are the Oilers’ GM, you can’t afford to really give up any blueline talent, you are already thin there, although of course you aren’t going to be asking for one from the Canucks; you don’t have the firepower to get both Kesler and Edler/Hamhuis from the Canucks. Maybe you’d like to, but with Schultz, Nurse, Klefbom… you can’t really afford to include those guys in the deal, I don’t think, but without them, I don’t see you giving ANY legit talent to the Canucks on the blueline. I don’t see even a Hillen-level defender you could send to the Canucks, and he was the 3rd best blueliner in my deal, definitely the worst player with regards to upside. Maybe you offer Yakupov and Gagner for Kesler? Would you be willing to make an offer like that? Perhaps you say “screw it, it’s time to make the playoffs,” and offer, say, Yakupov, Gagner, Larsen, and Marincin?
    So, I suppose it’s certainly possible that the Oilers could put together a more attractive package. The Capitals package would include more talent overall, which is certainly more attractive since prospects are notoriously risky, but the Oilers definitely have more high-end players. If I could choose Yakupov and Gagner over Johansson, Brouwer, and Sanford, I probably take the former… but it’s not too difficult to see the latter being a better package, if Yakupov continues to struggle, and Johansson and Sanford can at least come close to reaching their potential. An additional advantage to the latter deal is that with more players, it’s easier to move guys in a deal; you could acquire those three, then move Brouwer… and then monitor Sanford, and move him if you don’t like how he develops, or if you see both Gaunce and Cassels passing him by. I add that not to try to make the point that the Capitals’ package is better, but that I don’t think it’s as big of a difference as the casual fan might think. The Capitals, I think, are in a much better position to offer a 1st round pick, however, which may help to clinch the deal.
    I don’t see a huge difference in Gagner and Johannson, as far as both are inconsistent, skilled 2nd liners; Johansson may not be *quite* there yet, but he’s also younger (by 1 year, but still) and cheaper, which is rather important for a rebuilding team to consider. You could easily see Johansson’s next deal being something as cheap as 3 years, $2.5 million per, which he could then outperform. Gagner costs $4.8 million for the next two years. He’s more than twice as expensive as Johansson next year; he’s NOT twice as good. So, after that, you have to like Yakupov (and Hamhuis) more than Brouwer, Sanford, Carrick, and Kundratek, and the 1st… plus, of course, the lesser players, the throw-ins, like Hillen, Galiev, and Anderson. Those throw-ins are nice, as risky as prospects can be; nice to have an extra lottery pick or two, but they aren’t exactly highly regarded prospects, so they don’t sway the deal that much. Given Vancouver’s talent on the blueline, I’m not sure how much they would value Hamhuis, since they’d still have Edler, Garrison, Bieksa, and Tanev to fill out their top-4. Given that they are rebuilding, and have so little cap space, I think they actually would want to move Hamhuis in order to free up space; right now, they have FOUR defenders making over $4.5 million per year on their roster. Obviously they won’t trade him for nothing, but even without that factor, I think the deal is worth it. I don’t know which package I take if I’m the Canucks’ GM… I’m not sure I trade Kesler and Hamhuis for Yakupov, Gagner, Larsen, and Marincin over the Capitals’ package. I can’t imagine the Oiler’s offer a better package than that; flip Larsen with Nurse, I can’t see passing on it… but it’s hard to see the Oilers making that offer. And I can’t imagine taking Gagner and Yakupov for Kesler straight-up, just because of how expensive Gagner is, and I don’t see the Oilers being able to replace Gagner with a cheaper player that makes the trade work.
    So, really, that’s it. Unless the Oilers could find a way to trump the Capitals’ package, I can’t imagine a scenario in which the Canucks can find a package that remotely comes close to that one in terms of value.