Penguins buyout Jack Johnson ahead of 2020 NHL Draft

The Pittsburgh Penguins have moved on from Jack Johnson

Earlier this week, it seems the prayers of Pittsburgh Penguins fans have been answered, Jack Johnson has been put on waivers to be bought out.  This is widely applauded by Pens fans, while it’s not his solely his fault for Pittsburgh’s recent playoff woes, most of the problems seem to involve him.

Johnson was originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes at #3 overall in 2005 and spent his first 6 years in LA with the Kings before he was traded to Columbus in 2012, ironical just before their Stanley Cup run.  He would stay in Columbus for 6 seasons with his best year in 2014/15 with 8 goals and 32 assists.

This was enough for GM Jim Rutherford to sign him in 2018 to a 5 year/16 mill deal, which was met with scorn from fans. By the way guess who was General Manager for the Hurricanes when they drafted him? Yep, Jim Rutherford.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are gearing up for an interesting offseason ahead

Over the past 24 hours, I have read that most fans have wished him well and saying that his lack of success in Pittsburgh wasn’t his fault.

The Penguins are at the back end of the Crosby era, and instead of finding a way to keep their championship window open, it’s been slammed shut in their faces.

Johnson quickly became the whipping boy of Pens fans, because of his contract and gameplay, his contract was steep for a 3rd pair defenseman.

His productivity was forgettable at best with last season (18/19) having 1G and 12A and in the playoffs where he was silent both seasons.

It was the bubble hockey qualifying round that was the last straw for us yinzers, out of the 9 goals scored by the Habs, he was out there for 6 of them.  Sure, that series wasn’t solely his fault, but as usual us hockey fans tend to go for the easy blame, and it was Johnson on top of other reasons.

His buyout will be considered dead money (annual money paid to a player no longer on your team) and is the first the Penguins have done this. It’s a long term buyout valued at 1.1 million over the next two seasons, almost 2 million in 22/23, and just under a million for the last two seasons.
Good luck to Johnson and to whoever signs him, we hardly knew thee!

Also ahead of the draft, the Penguins have offered qualifying offers to five players who are restricted free agents heading into the offseason on Friday.  These contracts are standard offers made to players before they hit the FA market, sort of like first dibs, they can either take the QO and stay with the Pens, or move on.

The 5 players are:

Pontus Aberg
Anthony Angello
Sam Lafferty
Sam Miletic
Matt Murray

The four forwards are all depth pieces, Angello, Lafferty got called up during the winter to fill in injury spots, now the interesting one is, of course, Matt Murray.  According to Twitter, the Blackhawks showed interest in Murray, but the deal fell through and the Pens give him a QO.
Now, these players can reject these offers and file for arbitration to get a higher amount, but that is down the line. Free Agency is set to begin Friday, October 9th at Noon.