Forward Marcus Johansson was traded to the New Jersey Devils by the Washington Capitals on Sunday for two draft picks.
The Capitals will receive the Florida Panthers' second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and the Toronto Maple Leafs' third-round pick in 2018, which the Devils had acquired previously.
New Jersey general manager Ray Shero earlier Sunday said the Devils felt they were close to signing free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who instead signed a four-year contract with the New York Rangers.
"In terms of adding a guy like Marcus up front for us, I'd love to get a defenseman somewhere, but so does everybody, and I want to strengthen another part of our team if possible, and adding Marcus on the left side with Taylor [Hall], there's a lot of different options," Shero said. "Certainly skill, speed, really what we talked about since I was hired in terms of the type of team, and build from there, so it's a big day for us."
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Shero said he did not know if Johansson, who is in Sweden, was aware of the trade.
"He's sleeping. No one's gotten a hold of him," Shero said. "... I texted him. Obviously he's six hours ahead, so when he wakes up, it'll be quite the morning."
Johansson, 26, has two years remaining on a three-year, $13.75 million contract he signed July 20, according to CapFriendly.com. The contract has an average annual value of $4.58 million.
"It's not a big deal to us that he has a couple years left on his contract," Shero said. "He's hungry, and we'll sort it out after two years. As far as improving our team today, I think it was a good move for us."
Johansson set NHL career highs in goals (24), points (58) and plus/minus (plus-25) in 82 games for the Capitals last season. He had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"He's played on good teams and he's had a lot of pressure and he's played in that situation," Shero said. "For Marcus to fit in with us, he's playing with an up-and-coming team. He brings speed and responsibility. He's coming off a tremendous year, and we're not getting him without [the Capitals] having a [salary] cap issue.
"He adds to this forward group speed, skill, and that's what we're looking to do. We need to get better. We're much farther ahead. We're getting there, and that's exciting for Marcus. There's less pressure [in New Jersey], but the expectations are different and hopefully more exciting as well."
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Washington selected Johansson with the No. 24 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has 290 points (102 goals, 188 assists) in 501 NHL games during the past seven seasons, all with the Capitals.
Earlier Sunday, the Capitals re-signed Kuznetsov, a restricted free agent center, to an eight-year, $62.5 million contract.
"It helps both teams; Washington with their [salary] cap and [signing] a great player like Kuznetsov, and for a team like ours in taking advantage of that and adding a good young player and up-and-coming player like Marcus," Shero said.
The Capitals have about $9 million in NHL salary cap space remaining, according to CapFriendly.com, and restricted free agent forward Andre Burakovsky and goalie Philipp Grubauer to be re-signed.
The Devils signed free agent center Brian Boyle to a two-year, $5.1 million contract Saturday, and selected center Nico Hischier with the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft on June 23.
"I think realistically in the last week, adding Brian Boyle, Marcus Johansson, Nico Hischier, I think it's an exciting time for the Devils," Shero said. "I think for our fans, that's what we talked about, getting younger and faster. We got a guy like Brian Boyle, we wanted to add him, and we targeted him and it's a good thing for us."