Marcus Johansson was traded in the offseason from the Washington Capitals to the New Jersey Devils and he won’t have to wait long to face his former team.
Johansson and the Devils face the Capitals in a preseason game Monday in New Jersey, which is the preseason opener for both teams.
“Yeah, it’ll be different,” Capitals star Nicklas Backstrom said. “He’s a good friend of mine and we’ve had some good years with the Caps, but we all know as hockey players that it’s part of the business. I mean, obviously, you didn’t want to see it happen, but it happened. I think he’s excited about this new challenge, too.”
Johansson, who scored 24 goals and had 34 assists last season, was dealt in July to New Jersey for two draft picks in a move aimed to clear salary cap space and re-sign Evgeny Kuznetsov.
After being traded, Johansson was seen working out with his former teammates at the Capitals’ practice facility in late August.
“He was probably a little shocked in the beginning, but as time went on, that’s how it’s going to be,” Backstrom said. “I think right now he’s looking forward to the new challenge and it’s a great opportunity for him to come to New Jersey and shine.”
The Devils and the Capitals face off for the first time in the regular season on Oct. 30 in New Jersey. Johansson makes his return to D.C. on Dec. 30.
Monday’s game starts at 7 p.m.