BOSTON (AP) — The Bruins were in line to make a big splash at the trade deadline to improve their scoring for the stretch run of the regular season.
After seeing some of the potential names on their wish list land elsewhere, they settled for adding a veteran that didn’t cause a major disruption to their roster.
Wingers Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers and Mark Stone of the Senators were considered possible trade targets for Boston. But Simmonds was dealt by Philadelphia to the Nashville Predators and Ottawa traded Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Boston wound up with a left wing in the 28-year-old Johansson who has appeared in 48 games with the Devils this season, totaling 12 goals and 15 assists.
“We were in on a bunch of things to explore but we would have liked to improve our club for now and going forward without necessarily handcuffing ourselves,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said.
Johansson was selected 24th overall by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2009 draft. He had his best offensive season during 2016-17 with Washington, recording 24 goals and 34 assists with a plus-25 rating while playing in all 82 regular-season games.
There may be a few fences for Bruins star forward Brad Marchand to mend with Johansson once he arrives.
The NHL suspended Marchand five games without pay last season for elbowing Johansson in the head, causing him to miss 28 games with a concussion.
In announcing the suspension , the league’s department of player safety ruled Marchand’s hit was not defensive or accidental.
Johansson later called Marchand’s hit unnecessary.
“There was no point in doing that,” Johansson said last March. “There was no hockey play there whatsoever. I think it’s sad to see that there’s still guys out there that are trying to hurt other guys.”
Johansson is in the final season of a three-year, $13.8 million deal he signed with the Capitals. New Jersey will retain 40 percent of his remaining salary.
But Sweeney said the fact that Johansson is leaving a New Jersey team in last place in the Metropolitan Division goes a long way.
“We were looking for somebody who would be excited to join our club,” Sweeney said. “I think (Johansson’s) quick line was ‘I’d much rather be playing with Marchand than against him.’”
Boston is second in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins had a seven-game win streak snapped but earned a point for the 13th consecutive game in their 2-1 shootout loss to St. Louis on Saturday. Boston hosts San Jose on Tuesday.