Calle Johansson won’t be returning for a third season as an assistant coach with the Capitals, but it’s not necessarily because Barry Trotz has taken over as the new head coach.
According to the team’s website, Johansson has left the club for personal reasons, saying he will return to Sweden to allow his youngest daughter, Madeline, to attend high school with her friends.
Johnasson joined the Caps as an assistant coach shortly after Adam Oates was hired two summers ago. Trotz has been interviewing multiple candidates for his replacement.
“I told Barry Trotz when I talked to him and I told [team president] Dick [Patrick] and I told [general manager Brian MacLellan] too – but most of all, Barry – if you should ever consider me coming back when Madeline finishes school over here, I would love to come back and get the opportunity to do this again,” Johansson told the Caps’ website. “And my wife says the same thing. We would go back in a heartbeat.”
The Capitals used 14 defensemen last season, tied with Edmonton for the most in the NHL. Of those 14, four of them – Connor Carrick, Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey and Julien Brouillette – had never played an NHL game before this season. Two others – Alex Urbom  and Cameron Schilling  – had combined for 15 games of NHL experience. And two others – Tyson Strachan and Steve Oleksy – had spent the majority of their professional careers in the minors.
“It’s not like we’ve had 14 guys with a thousand games,” Johansson told CSNWashington near the end of the season. “So it makes it harder. But I mean, first of all, they’ve got to know what they’re doing, and if they don’t it’s probably my fault and Oatesy’s fault, the coaches’ fault.
“Then, if the execution is not there, then I can blame it on the players. If they don’t know what they’re doing, then it’s our fault.
“Maybe we give them too many options or rules or whatever. I don’t want to blame everything on the boys. I take a lot of responsibility, I want to do that. It’s our job to get them to play better. A big part of it is obviously inexperience.”
Following the season several Capitals defensemen stood behind Johansson, who is the club’s all-time leader in games played with 983.
“Love Calle,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “Love everything about his style of coaching and him as a person. He doesn’t want the blame to be on anyone but himself. He’s that type of guy.”
Mike Green agreed.
“Calle knows the game so well and was really the driving force behind a lot of the D-men to find their roles,” Green said. “It turned out to be a pleasure working with him for the last year and a half.”
Johansson played 18 seasons in the NHL, 15 of them in Washington. He recorded a total of 535 points in 1,109 career NHL games.