During his rookie NHL season, Marcus Johansson played 29 more games than he had the previous year in the Swedish Elite League, and at times, that extra workload took a toll on the young center.
Johansson was able to adjust to the more frantic pace as the year progressed, but this offseason it helped him to know what to expect from the rigors of an NHL schedule.
“You gotta be on your toes the whole year — if not, you get your ass kicked,” Johansson said. “I trained a little different this summer to feel better the whole year and we’ll see how that works, and I’ll go from that next year. I’m going to learn every year how I feel on the ice and change my summer schedule according to that to make it the best that I can.”
Johansson’s work ethic is part of the reason why Coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t worried about the center experiencing a sophomore slump either.
“A lot of guys, when it’s their first year, they train so hard, they’re so nervous, so afraid of making a mistake that they really overcompensate and the second year they take it easy. I don’t think Marcus is that kind of guy,” Boudreau said. “I think he’s going to come in with a little more confidence, but at the same time, knowing his character, he’s going to be the player he was at the end of the year and not the beginning of the year.”
Johansson, whose 21st birthday is two days before the regular season opener, arrived back in Washington at the start of September and has been hosting Mattias Sjogren as the older Swede vies for a spot on the Capitals’ roster. Sjogren, 23, and Johansson grew up together in Landskrona, Sweden, and he’s enjoying having someone from his hometown join him in Washington.
“He’s a nice guy and I’m trying to help him out as much as I can,” Johansson said of Sjogren. “We’re just having a good time working out and I’m showing him around a little bit. Hopefully he’ll do good in camp, I know he can, and maybe he’ll take a spot.”