10/13 | John Davidson said on Monday, “I’ve known Jack for a long time, when we looked at a lot of video with Jack last season, he played in 67 games, 19.5 minutes per game approximately. One thing above all else, Pitt was tied for 8th with their PK percentage, 6th on the road and Jack was one of their important PK defenseman. We had trouble in that area last season, 23rd overall, 30th at home. I must add too, we added Kevin Rooney out of the NJ organization, an important PKer and they were seventh last year. With Jack, when we consulted with Jacques Martin, who is now part of our coaching staff, and had been in Pittsburgh with Jack, he was really behind Jack, recommended that. It’s a one-year contract, left D. The other thing is, with our cap situation, the $1.15 million, the biggest thing besides what I just said, let’s think about the future here. When we think about Matthew Robertson, Braden Schneider, Zac Jones, they are all 19-years of age, all defenseman, Nils Lundkvist and K’Andre MIller are 20, our future, in realistic terms, is ahead of us. We need to continue to keep that as a goal and improve as we go in that direction. In reality, with the Jack Johnson situation, he’s going to help us, a big body, boxes people out, good along the boards. Not offensive minded by any means, but he is not going to, he’s going to help us as we move along here and become a better team down the road.” (MSG)
10/9 | 3:35PM: The Rangers have confirmed signing Johnson and had the following as part of the release:
- He has averaged at least 19:00 of ice time per game in each of his 13 full seasons in the NHL, as well as 20:00 or more of ice time per game in 10 of those 13 seasons. Johnson has tallied at least 20 assists and 30 points in five different seasons throughout his career. In addition, he has registered 100 or more blocked shots in nine different seasons and 100 or more hits in seven different seasons in the NHL. Johnson ranked fifth among NHL defensemen in hits in 2018-19 (233), establishing a career-high in hits during the season. He served as an alternate captain for several seasons during his tenure with the Blue Jackets.
- The 6-1, 227-pounder skated in 67 games with Pittsburgh this past season, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points, along with 26 penalty minutes. Johnson ranked second among Penguins defensemen in games played in 2019-20, and he averaged 19:28 of ice time per game during the season. He led the Penguins in blocked shots (97) and ranked second on the team (led team defensemen) in hits (183) this past season. Johnson tied for second on the Penguins (tied for first among team defensemen) in average shorthanded ice time in 2019-20 (2:12) while helping Pittsburgh rank tied for eighth in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this past season (82.1%).
3:06PM: It’s one-year at $1.15 million. (Larry Brooks)
3:02PM: Johnson will sign a one-year deal at just over $1 million. (Darren Dreger)
Billy Jaffe said on NHL Network, “could this be a Kevin Shattenkirk-type experiment for Jack Johnson…Familiarity with the President and Jacques Martin…we know he can skate beautifully, but can he find that viable role again.”
2:40PM: The Rangers are in discussions with free agent defenseman Jack Johnson. (Darren Dreger)
He played 7-years in Columbus while John Davidson was President of the Blue Jackets and the last two season in Pittsburgh under new assistant coach Jacques Martin.
Johnson, 32, was bought out by the Penguins earlier this month.
In 149 games over the last two seasons for Pittsburgh, Johnson has had 4 goals, 20 assists, a minus five rating, 416 hits and 19:22 per game.
While with Pittsburgh, when Johnson was on the ice the Penguins only had 46.2% of the shot attempts.
In August, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said “Maybe Jack Johnson isn’t as good as I think he is. Maybe. But he’s not as bad as all of the anti-Jack Johnson people think he is. I’ll tell you what he is: He’s a solid, third-pairing defenseman if he’s playing with the right guy. He’s a player that I happen to really like and I think he’s a better player than a lot of people want to give him credit for.” (The Athletic)
Rutherford added, “I think Jack was pretty good this season. He changed up his training regimen before the season started and you could see the difference. He gained half a step. He’s one of those guys, he plays a very heavy game. He’s very hard to play against down low because he’s so big and strong. He’s also a very good penalty killer.” (The Athletic)
Johnson is a left-shot defenseman and at 5-on-5 this past season he saw 531 minutes with Kris Letang. When they were together the Penguins had 46% of the shots. When Letang was partnered with someone else, the Penguins had 57% of the 5-on-5 shots. (Natural Stat Trick)
Adam Rotter: The Rangers are going into discussion with Johnson knowing exactly who he is, what he is, what he can do and what he can’t do. They won’t be signing him to play on the top-pair with Jacob Trouba, or at least they shouldn’t be, they won’t be signing him to lead the PP or be anything more than a third-pair/seventh defenseman and locker room/character guy. The analytics are not in his favor, 16 of the 17 Penguins that played at least 100 minutes with him at 5-on-5 had a higher percentage of shot attempts for without him than with him.
3:04PM: One-year and about $1 million is what was to be expected in a deal like this. It’s low risk if it doesn’t work out, he brings some jam on the back end and experience.