The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting ready to enter this year’s free agency period, and as always the rumours have been starting early.
But one rumour in particular concerning the Pittsburgh Penguins has skyrocketed its way into the hockey world more so than others. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Penguins intend to sign Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson to a five-year contract once free agency opens up on Sunday.
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But Johnson should not be the answer to the Penguins defensive woes for a number of reasons. We should be looking at more options than just him. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this proposed Johnson contract should not be what the Penguins go through with.
Not Worth It
Jack Johnson was drafted third overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. Yes, he was drafted in the same draft as Sidney Crosby and yes, they are friends. While many are quick to point out this fact, they seem to overlook the fact that Jack Johnson is also not that good of a defenceman.
Last season, Johnson was only able to accumulate 11 points in 77 games. He was also a healthy scratch during the playoffs. He’s coming off his worst season ever and he’s only slowing down from here. He is arguably one of Columbus’ worst defencemen and there is a reason they are about to let him go. Let’s not make that mistake and see him sit as a healthy scratch during our playoff run.
The Term is Too Long
I think the most obvious thing we should address here is the length of the supposed contract. Five years? Do the Penguins really want to be committed to a sub par defenceman like Jack Johnson?
He is 31 years old right now, well out of his prime already and has been one of the worst defencemen on the Blue Jackets recently. 5 years here would take him right until he is 36 years old. This is a terrible contract because he’ll only get worse than he already is.
There are Other Options
There are plenty of other options the Penguins can explore to fix their defensive problems rather than signing Jack Johnson to a lucrative contract. The Penguins could look into acquiring some talent such as Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Penguins also have more free agent options than Johnson. We need a replacement for Matt Hunwick for our third pairing, and signing anybody like Brooks Orpik, Luca Sbisa, or Calvin de Haan can fill that position at a cheaper rate.
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The Penguins have options other than Johnson. We should use them.