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Marcus Johansson looking forward to more stability on and off the ice

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Marcus Johansson returned to Washington on Monday, the jet lag he felt after a trip from Sweden not enough to deter him an informal skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday. An injury he alluded to after last season without disclosing any specifics didn’t hinder him this offseason.

Johansson has additional peace of mind after inking a three-year, $13.75 million deal in July. For the first time in two seasons, Johansson won’t be in a contract year.

Capitals, Marcus Johansson agree to three-year, $13.75 million deal

“Especially family-wise, it feels good,” Johansson said. “You still always put pressure on yourself to do well, and I think that’s never going to change for anyone. It’s just mostly off the ice with the family and all, you can, you know, relax and settle in a little bit more and just focus on the game.”

Expectations will likely be higher for Johansson because of the raise. But after the Capitals acquired center Lars Eller in June to play on the third line, Johansson may have more stability on the ice, as well as off of it. He played a large chunk of last season at center, despite not playing that position in three years. With the addition of Eller, Johansson is expected to be back to playing wing full time in 2016-2017.

“He’s a great hockey player,” Johansson said. “I think he’s going to fill out that spot really well and we’re looking forward to it. We’re all really excited to get going at this again. Getting Lars, I think, is really good for us.”

It could be good for Johansson, too. While he said he’s happy to play where Coach Barry Trotz thinks will give the team the best chance to win, he also admitted that it’ll be nice to “focus on one thing at a time.”

For Johansson, that focus zeroes in on continuing to be aggressive in shooting more from the wing in the hopes of more scoring. In the 25-year-old’s first season under Trotz, Johansson had a career-best 20 goals and 27 assists while playing in every game. He maintained that production with 17 goals and 29 assists in 74 games last season, raising his points per game and becoming more of a net-front presence on the power play. In the postseason, he had two goals and five assists.

His greatest contribution to Washington was his versatility in switching from wing to center and back when injuries hit the lineup. That aspect of his game will likely be taken advantage of less this season.

“You always want to score more,” Johansson said. “That’s what the game is about, scoring and winning. You want to get better and you want to score more goals, and that’s one part I’m going to try to work on.”