27-Year-Old Defenseman – Colorado Avalanche
Erik Johnson Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $15 million contract extension with the Avalanche in July 2012.
Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said that Johnson (knee) is now 100 percent healthy, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
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Erik Johnson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After a disastrous lockout-shortened season for Johnson -- and the Avs in general -- that resulted in just four assists in 31 games, "EJ" bounced back to post career-bests in assists (30) and plus/minus (plus-5) while tying his best marks in points (39) and shooting percentage (5.7 percent) in 2013-14. Johnson's game is about more than points, however, as the 6-foot-4 blueliner led Colorado in ice time, averaging 23 minutes per night while frequenting both special teams units. As the Avs set out to defend their Central Division crown this year, Johnson will be counted on yet again to anchor the back end as the teamís No. 1 defenseman and offer guidance to a blue line that features rising star Tyson Barrie. Despite largely failing to live up to his lofty first overall draft status from 2006, Johnson took major strides in 2013-14 and should be good for another 40 points or so on an offensively-gifted Avs team brimming with young firepower.
This former No. 1 overall pick (2005) really failed to meet expectations last season. He registered just four assists in 31 games and missed time with a wrist injury. The Avs desperately need a great season -- think St. Louis Blues circa 2010-11 -- out of the 25-year-old veteran defenseman. But we're not sure he has it in him. He's a big risk for fantasy owners -- will he return to the 40-plus point level? Or will he continue his underachieving ways? A 40-plus point pace would have made him a top-25 scoring defender in 2012-13. Take a deep breath and draft him if you can get him at sleeper value.
With 26 points in 73 games last year, Johnson enjoyed his best campaign in three seasons, his first full one with the Avs since being acquired in mid-2010-11 from St. Louis. As he had the season before, Johnson struggled out of the gate, but was mostly solid from December on, posting a minus-3 rating on the season (not bad on a non-playoff team). Johnson still boasts a heavy slapshot from the point, but has trouble getting pucks on net, especially through traffic. However, he did lead the Avs in average ice time (20:50) last season and his 155 shots was most among Avs' defensemen and sixth overall. The Avs will continue to be patient with the former first-overall draft pick and his spot on the teamís first defensive pairing will be his to lose this season.
After two and a half underwhelming seasons in St. Louis, the Blues finally decided to pull the plug on Johnson, their first overall draft pick in 2006, sending him to the Avs in a deal that saw Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk go the other way. The Avs are hoping that a change of scenery will do Johnson some good, and that he finally develops into the blue-chip, puck-moving defenseman he was projected to be, back when he was drawing comparisons to a young Chris Pronger. In order to achieve that, he will have to do better than the 30-plus point seasons he's been putting up the last three years. For now, he will continue to be the No.1 guy on the Avs' blue line and run their power play, but with blue chip prospects like Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie and Duncan Siemens rising quickly through the ranks, Johnson is running out of time to prove he can be The Man in Denver.
Johnson, 22, came back in 2009-10 after missing the previous season because of a knee injury. It's believed that he was still feeling limited by the knee early on, and there appears to be some credence in that belief judging by his second half numbers. He had six goals and 14 points in his final 23 games. Johnson is the best the Blues have on defense in the transition game, and he'll be a mainstay on the power play. He should start the season on the top defensive pairing and easily play 22-25 minutes a night.
Johnson returns to the Blues' lineup after missing all of the 2008-09 season to a knee injury. He will start in the first defensive pairing and is the best puck-mover the team has from the blue line. All reports coming out of the summer and training camp have Johnson back to 100 percent and he'll be one of the league's top scoring defensemen.
Johnson suffered a season-ending non-hockey related injury to his right knee in mid-September. He has a complete tear of his ACL and a partial tear of his MCL in that knee. Don't count on him for any contribution this season but consider holding on to the former #1 overall pick in long-term keeper leagues.
After just one season at the University of Minnesota, Johnson, the former first overall pick in 2006, is expected to make the Blues roster this season and he could play a very prominent role right away. Johnson can do absolutely everything on the rink. He has fantastic offensive ability and his great size allows him to dominate in his own zone. He could very well be a fantasy factor as early as this coming season and he is a lock to be a fantasy asset in the future. However, the Blues are already deep on defense, with on-ice leaders like Jay McKee and Eric Brewer, and may not ask Johnson to shoulder too big a load too soon.
Johnson, the first-overall pick in the 2006 draft could have played for the Blues this season, but the club decided it would be best for Johnson to attend the University of Minnesota in order to continue his development. Johnson is the complete package on defense and is the future of the Blues franchise. He should be in the NHL in 2007-08.
Johnson was the top pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft after a phenomenal showing at the 2007 World Junior Tourney. He has everything -- vision, size, skills, speed and hockey sense -- to be a number one defenseman in the NHL. Most already project him to be better than fellow U.S. teammate and Carolina stud draft pick, Jack Johnson, and many believe he's the best defense prospect to come into the league in the last 15 years. Can you say Pronger-esque? We tend to agree.