Up next in the Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers series, it’s time to focus in on Jack Johnson. It hasn’t been a banner year, but he is home nevertheless.
Jack Johnson is to the Pittsburgh Penguins, what the good, the bad, and the ugly were to Clint Eastwood. Simply put, he is all there’s. He isn’t necessarily as bad as some others might make him out to be, but he isn’t as good as his salary states.
To his credit, a decade ago, he was an adequate defender. Long before he was a Penguin and long before the league decided to turn into a super-sonic league. The speed in the NHL is insane now and only getting faster. It’s no fault of his own, it just simply passed him by.
His season totals are respectable (67 games played and just over 19 minutes a game). However, they can be a bit skewed. The majority of his time has come from the third line, almost being protected by Sullivan and Co. In his games, where he had to play in a more prominent role, he was quickly taken advantage of, and the gig was up.
Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers: Jack Johnson.
So you have to hide him on the third line, not a big deal, right? If he weren’t just on the 2nd year of a five year deal worth $3.25M, then I would say no. Since he is, however, that is where another issue arises. He’s not good enough for a top-line anymore, and he is being outplayed by his teammates making half as much money every year.
For the time being, the Penguins are stuck with Johnson. He and Justin Schultz will sure up he third defensive line in a battle of “once was” players. Looking at the future, they did try to trade him once before, but the deal fell through pending other issues.
Unless they get another trade across the table, he’s a Penguin until at least 2023 making him a salary cap liability. The Pens could always look to some of there former suitors when it comes to wheeling and dealing trades, but the money issues remain. If he doesn’t have rejuvenation and the Pens cannot offload him, this problem only worsens when the offseason starts back up.