McPhee on Marcus: 'Quick, Smart, Competitive, Good Hands'
A few quick notes about Caps first-round draft pick Marcus Johansson before I check out of the Bell Centre for the night:
*Johansson is the third Swedish center the Caps have taken in the past four drafts, joining Nicklas Backstrom (fourth overall, 2006) and Anton Gustafsson (21st, last year).
"If it ever works out where we have Backstrom and Gustafsson and this kid playing down the middle, that would be pretty darn good," GM George McPhee said.
*Johansson is a solid but not flashy two-way center who notched five goals and five assists for Swedish Elite League champion Farjestad. His point total was low, McPhee said, because he received limited ice time on the top team while skating against grown men. Just playing an entire season in the SEL, McPhee said, is an accomplishment for an 18-year-old.
*Johansson's also got strong bloodlines. His brother Martin played for Farjestad until recently being demoted (partly because of his younger brother's emergence). And Johansson's uncle, Gunnar Johansson, coached Farjestad and played for the team.
*McPhee's assessment of Marcus: "Very well-rounded player. Very good in almost every area of his game. Quick, smart, competitive, good hands."
McPhee added that Johansson's stock skyrocketed at the World Juniors, where he recorded two goals in six games. But it wasn't his offensive prowess that made him standout to McPhee. It was his feistiness.
"I loved the way he played against Canada in the World Junior final," McPhee said. "In the final, in a real hostile environment, 20,000 Canadian fans going crazy, some of the Swedish kids didn't show up. He showed up and played hard."
*Johansson has two years remaining on his contract with Farjestad. He said he intends to return to Sweden for at least one more year, but would be open to opting out of the second year of his contract and making the jump to North America the following year.
*Johansson has also had at least two concussions. But McPhee said his staff is not concerned.
"When you play hard and you play physical, you get your bell run every once in a while," McPhee said.
*Earlier in the evening, I mentioned that McPhee had spoken to Boston GM Peter Chiarelli. McPhee said the discussion was about swapping picks. The Bruins chose 25th.
That's it for now. I'll check in from the draft floor tomorrow.
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