Marcus Johansson officially became an ex-Bruin on Saturday, the unrestricted free agent forward signing with the Buffalo Sabres for two years and a total $9 million, a slight financial haircut from the deal he signed three years ago in Washington.
Johansson, 28, proved to be a valuable and versatile playoff force as a third-liner for the Bruins, after being swapped here by New Jersey at the trade deadline for a second-round draft pick in 2019 and a fourth-rounder in 2020. He now joins a Buffalo team, headlined by forwards Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner, which likely will look for him to produce higher in the order.
Johansson, who will earn $5 million next season, arrived in Boston on an expiring three-year deal in which he averaged $4.58 million.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, squeezed on cap space as he attempts to sign his three prime restricted free agents, said last Monday that the Bruins did not offer Johansson a contract to return.
Slotted mainly as Charlie Coyle’s third-line left wing, Johansson had a strong postseason, cobbling together a 4-7—11 line in 22 playoff games. He was speedy and strong on the puck and worked well with Coyle, coach Bruce Cassidy resisting the temptation to move the versatile Swedish winger up to the second line with David Krejci, who surely would have benefited from a full-time right wing.
PuckPedia.com, which was among the first websites to report the Johansson signing, also noted that the deal includes a 10-team “no-trade” list, the Sabres therefore eligible to move him to 20 other NHL teams if they find the fit not to their liking.
Danton Heinen, one of Boston’s three restricted free agents yet to come to contract terms, on Friday filed for salary arbitration, which likely will establish his wage for the next two seasons (the Bruins can choose a one- or two-year decision).
Sweeney also must come to terms with RFA defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo prior to Dec. 1. Failure to sign a deal prior to that deadline renders a player ineligible for NHL play for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, including the playoffs.