Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and head coach Bruce Cassidy met with the media Monday and Sweeney made no qualms about the fact that he’s got plenty on his plate in the next month when it comes to roster decisions. One of those decisions will be whether or not he can re-sign winger Marcus Johansson who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1?
“Well, we met – we had some meetings,” Sweeney said. “I told Marcus that I did have the same, along the same lines, with the RFA side of things that we have some things we need to clarify internally before I can definitively tell him. We found that Marcus was a really good fit for our hockey club. I was proud of how he got injured, came back and elevated his play, was really invested. I thought he fit in really well with Charlie [Coyle] coming in, gave us some options on the power play, was a really good fit. Good person, a great teammate and got us to a certain point. Wish we could’ve finished it off.”
Sweeney traded for Johansson at the NHL Trade Deadline, acquiring him from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a fourth round pick in 2020. After suffering an injury just after he arrived in Boston, Johansson found his groove as the season wound down and into the playoffs. He brought some much needed veteran depth to the Bruins forward group and eventually found a home on Charlie Coyle’s wing in the playoffs where the two gelled almost perfectly. Johansson finished the playoffs with four goals and seven assists in 22 games.
Johansson just finished the final season of a deal that him paid $4.75 million per season and will probably look to get a bump up in salary on his next contract. However, as Sweeney alluded to, he has to see if he can accommodate that expected pay raise under the salary cap? The has $14 million in cap space and must still sign two key RFAs Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, who are expected to be the foundation of the Bruins’ blueline going forward.
Johansson expressed to the media this past Friday during Bruins break up day that he would love to stay and play with the Bruins next season.
“I’ve loved it here. It’s been unbelievable,” Johansson said. “So we’ll talk and see what happens and see if we can work something out. Like I’ve said, this has been an unbelievable place to play and I really loved it.”
Johansson understands the cap restraints the Bruins are under and he also knows that he must do what’s best for his family and him. That’s why he wasn’t completely ruling out testing the open market when the unrestricted free agency interview period begins on Sunday and then in free agency.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s tough to say,” Johansson added. “I want to see what Don has to say and I will definitely consider whatever we talk about and take it from there. I don’t know much yet. I really love it here and it’s definitely a place I could see myself staying.”