The phone is ringing quite a bit in New Jersey as trade chatter is intensifying on Devils forward Marcus Johansson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. It seems like talks could lead to a trade shortly.
Elliott Friedman has revealed in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet that the Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals have all checked on the status on the forward and what it would take to pry him out of New Jersey.
“New Jersey GM Ray Shero was aggressive with Brian Boyle, and it sounds like he’s done the same with Marcus Johansson. I’ve heard Columbus, Edmonton, San Jose and Vancouver as teams who have checked in. Possibly Washington, too, since they know him. The Canucks are the odd fit, but they looked at Andre Burakovsky, too. So maybe they are thinking about something for the future or are trying to replace the injured Sven Baertschi.”
The Capitals could be in the mix seeing that Johansson was a member of the crew in Washington for several seasons.
NHL insider Pierre LeBrun also mentioned how we could be growing closer to a deal for Johansson while he was on the air of Vancouver’s TSN 1040.
“A lot of traction, a lot of interest,” said LeBrun. “Ray Shero is getting a ton of calls on him, I think in part because I think there are teams who wanted to get in on that because he’s sort of on that secondary list.
“But the Devils really like him, and I think even if they dealt him - which seems likely because he’s UFA - I think they have interest in talking to him again after the year. I think they really like the way that he’s been an example for their young guys, like Hischier.
“My understanding is Ray Shero is not just going to move Marcus Johansson because he’s a pending UFA and that’s what you’ve got to do at this time of year. Someone has to step up because they really like what he brings to that team, even if it’s a lost season.
“I do think he ends up moving him, but I think it’s important to note that this isn’t like, ‘Give me a fourth-round pick and he’s yours.’ I think teams are going to have to step up for this guy, who’s finally healthy and looking like the 20-goal scorer he was when he was in Washington.”
Johansson, who is in the final season of a three-year, $13.75 million contract, has a modified no-trade clause through which he can nix five destinations.
Will the five teams in the running be nixed?