Devils newest F Marcus Johansson is embracing the role as an underdog with the Devils, and believes the team can surprise the league this season, per NJ.com's Chris Ryan.
Johansson knows playoff hockey, having made the postseason in six seasons with the Washington Capitals including last year. Now, he is on the other side of the spectrum with the Devils searching for their first playoff berth since the 2011-12 season where they lost in the Stanley Cup Final.
Though the Devils were 12 games under .500 last season, he thinks the team is on the right path toward winning this year.
"It's something that's moving in the right direction I fee like, and I don't mind being an underdog here," Johansson said. "I think we have a great team and if we can just put all the pieces together, I think we can surprise some people."
Johansson was surprised himself when he found out he was traded to the Devils on July 2. He was in Sweden sleeping when the trade went down, and when he awoke, he admitted he was in shock.
"I barely remember, I was still half asleep when I saw it," Johansson said. "At first you're in shock and you're trying to figure out what's going on a little bit and go through the texts and everything see whats happening. As soon as it sunk in a little bit, you start to see all the positives of it an all the chances and opportunities to go somewhere else and create new memories with the family and new hockey memories as well, and be a part of something that's definitely moving in the right direction."
The Devils traded their second and third round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft to the Capitals for Johansson. GM Ray Shero said the team was looking preferably for a right wing. Though Johansson has mostly played left wing, he has spent time at all three forward positions at some point in his career.
Joining a new team, Johansson is open to anything the Devils want him to do.
"I think (left wing's) where I'm most comfortable right now, but I think most players can play any position," he said. "It just takes some getting used to sometimes. I'm open for whatever comes my way when I get there."
Playing in all 82 games last season, the 26-year-old totaled 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists).