Player evaluation: Johnson



This season: 74 games, 3 goals, 8 assists, minus-19 rating.

Positives: Came into the NHL with tremendous hype that was almost impossible to live up to, but still managed a solid rookie season, particularly for a player who had never taken a shift above the college level unti late last season. Johnson clearly has the size, skating ability and physical instincts to be an impact defenseman, and he showed that at times this season.

Negatives: Again, expectations were high. Johnson was hyped as a Calder Trophy favorite heading into the season and never really came close to reaching that level. He admitted, late in the season, that not until the final month (before his broken foot) did he start to feel totally comfortable on the ice. The offensive instincts he showed at Michigan still need to emerge at the NHL level.

Looking ahead: There’s certainly no hand-wringing among Kings management about Johnson. He’s still considered a future franchise defenseman and he’s starting to develop the type of leadership skills that could make him a team captain one day. With expected development, he should take a major step forward next season.

Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $2.15 million next season).

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  • anthony

    By far the best D-Man on the team.
    I’ll never forget that diving block he made against Jonathan Toews, denying him an empty net goal. Only to have the Kings come right back and score the tying goal with a few seconds left.

    One question though, how did he end getting an entry level contract worth $2.15 Million and other players like Kopi get just over $900,000.

  • Marc Nathan

    Second best rookie defenseman named Johnson in the league this past season, and probably the second best defenseman named Johnson for many years to come. Erik is a monster. Jack is very good.

  • geeblenob

    Heh, you could also say that diving block cost us Stamkos. The game wouldn’t have gone into overtime which would have resulted in us having 1 fewer point in the standings and finishing last overall.

  • Crown Moulding

    Dear Anthony,

    The answer = incentives.

  • lakingzfan

    I see great potential in JJ. He is still young and it takes longer for dmen to develop than forwards. We have to be patient. He may never develop an offensive game at this level. But, we dont really need him to. As long as he can deliver crushing body checks and play solid in the defensive end, he will be an effective player for this team.

  • Dan H.

    He’s fun to watch and is one of the best skaters on the team. I like that he took a season to get his defensive game down and learn the league before he started taking chances with big hits or rushing up too often.

    I hope this season to see more of both now that he’s got the feel of the league.

  • therealhipcheck

    Looked to me like they had Jack on a short leash this season. In his 4 or 5 game stint a season ago he was mobile, skated well, and logged pp time. For the most part this season he didnt see much PP time and wasnt nearly allowed the room to play his game. Not saying Johnson looked bad, hes obviously a very talented young player-I just question why one of the worst teams in the league didnt simply let JJ play his game and see what he could do.

  • Mike

    Dear Anthony,

    I believe it has to do with players that were drafted in the top 3 of the first round, they are allowed higher entry level contracts. I was actually wondering the same thing until I heard mention of top draft selections being allowed bigger contracts. It is not because of incentives though, I know that. Jack Johnson didn’t have an incentive based contract.

  • anthony

    Thanks for the info.

    Marc Nathan,
    Are you saing that Erik Johnson is better than Jack Johnson?
    Have you noticed the coaches on both teams.

  • -J

    Since the new CBA there is a cap on entry contracts (currently less than 1 million/year), regardless of draft position. Players on entry contracts can recieve performance bonuses/incentives, so that is where the rest comes from.

    Excerpts from an article Rich wrote on his signing:
    “A league source said Johnson’s contract, based heavily on bonuses, will be the fourth-largest rookie contract since the new collective-bargaining agreement was signed in 2005.” “As a rookie, Johnson’s salary will be capped at $984,200 per year for three seasons, but incentives could increase his salary significantly each season. ”


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