NHL free agency opened up today and the Pittsburgh Penguins have already been busy.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Sunday that the club had signed defenceman Jack Johnson to a five-year contract. The contract is worth about $3.25 million dollars annually.
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Johnson, who is 31 years old, will be 36 by the time this contract with the Penguins is up. There had been rumours all week about how the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to sign Johnson to a five-year contract, although the AAV was not discussed at the time. The Penguins made it official on Sunday once free agency opened up.
Johnson was drafted by the Kings third overall in the 2005 NHL draft. He has played in the NHL for 13 years, spending time with both the Los Angeles Kings and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Although he started out strong with the Kings, after being traded to the Blue Jackets in 2012, his play began to slowly decline. Johnson saw his worst season last season after accumulating just 11 points in 77 games. He was also a healthy scratch for most of their playoff run during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was during last season that he reportedly requested a trade from the Blue Jackets, however he did not get traded.
His Role on the Penguins
Johnson is expected to slot into either the Penguins second defensive pairing or third defensive pairing. The Penguins just recently traded away defenceman Matt Hunwick to the Buffalo Sabres, leaving a gaping hole on their third pair. Johnson is expected to help fill this hole .
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Johnson has played with Sidney Crosby before and we hope that Crosby is able to bring the best out of Johnson. This contract may seem hefty but the Penguins need an upgrade on defence. Johnson may be just that.