Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson
32-Year-Old DefensemanD
Pittsburgh Penguins
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Nobody has faced more criticism from the Penguins faithful than Jack Johnson, and that's largely due to his albatross contract, which will pay him $3.25 million annually for another four seasons. While the 32-year-old may no longer be an offensive force -- he's reached the 40-point mark twice during his 13-year career -- he was still in action for all 82 games last season, which is a level of durability Pittsburgh's blue line has often lacked. The Indianapolis native figures to once again slot into a bottom-pairing role in 2019-20, and should still log north of 19 minutes of ice time per game. Just don't count on him getting back over the 25-point threshold again any time soon. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a five-year, $16.25 million contract with the Penguins in July of 2018.
Pointless streak continues
DPittsburgh Penguins
March 27, 2019
Johnson is bogged down in a 14-game point drought, dating back to Feb. 26 versus Columbus.
While Johnson's primary role isn't in the offensive end, the Pens no doubt would like to see the blueliner get back on the scoresheet soon. The 31-year-old has reached the 40-point mark twice in his career, but is unlikely to make it to 20 in his first season in Pittsburgh. While he won't offer much in terms of fantasy production, Johnson figures to be a mainstay on the Pens' blue line and should continue seeing over 19 minutes of ice time per game.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The veteran blueliner had his least productive season in 2017-18 since he was a rookie, scoring only 11 points in 77 games and seeing his average ice time drop below 20 minutes. Johnson never really profiled as a No. 1 defenseman despite being miscast in that role in both Columbus and Los Angeles, but he seemed to struggle when given significantly less responsibility behind the young duo of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. He'll look to get his career back on track in Pittsburgh after signing a five-year deal in the offseason, settling into a spot on one of the bottom two pairings, and while an improved team context could help his production, Johnson almost certainly isn't going to be shouldering 25-plus minutes a night ever again.
After years of inconsistent play, Johnson staged a remarkable turnaround in 2016-17 as the perennial plus-minus liability posted a career-high plus-23 rating while forming a shutdown pairing with David Savard. Johnson’s biggest weakness has always been his decision-making when it came to joining the rush and pushing the attack, but with youngsters Zach Werenski and Seth Jones handling those duties, the veteran could focus on clearing the defensive zone with his still-excellent passing skills and letting his teammates take it from there. Johnson may never crack the 40-point plateau again, but he offers far more value to his team in his current role than he ever did while being miscast as a No. 1 defenseman
A disappointing season ended early for Johnson, as he underwent shoulder surgery in March, limiting him to just 60 games and 14 points. The 29-year-old is no longer a top-pairing defenseman in Columbus, with youngsters Seth Jones and Ryan Murray taking on larger roles, but decreased responsibility might not be a bad thing for Johnson, considering his penchant for the occasional brain cramp. While his overall play may improve, the loss of ice time on the power play will put a big dent in his production. Even if he comes back from surgery fully healthy, don't expect a big rebound.
Johnson appeared in national news for the wrong reason last year, as he filed for bankruptcy after his parents seemingly bilked him out of all his money and left him deeply in debt -- ouch. But he responded to adversity by turning out perhaps his best NHL campaign yet, tying his career high in goals (eight) as part of a 40-point effort for the up-and-coming Jackets. He remains a crucial part of the team's power play and a top-pairing blueliner alongside partner David Savard, who himself broke out as an offensive force last year. The Jackets look like they're geared up to make a run to the playoffs, and Johnson should be an integral piece of the puzzle.
Johnson gets a lot of flak from the analytical crowd for being an overall liability on the ice, but fantasy owners have no complaints about the 33 points (18 of them on the power play) that he contributed last season. The workhorse defenseman logs big minutes and lays a lot of hits along with his man-advantage production. As the young Blue Jackets' roster continues to improve around him, Johnson might even be able to avoid being a slight drag on your plus-minus someday.
The blue line stalwart Johnson once again logged a lot of ice time (nearly 26 minutes a night) and chipped in solid production with 19 points in 44 games in his first full season with Columbus. He isn't going to be a top fantasy asset, especially on a Blue Jackets team that lacks a dynamic power play unit, but he managed a plus-5 rating over the last two months of the season and may be able to avoid being a liability in that category as the young club around him continues to improve.
Johnson thrived after being sent back east from the Kings, recording four goals and 14 points in 21 games with Columbus, while even managing to record a positive plus-minus, no mean feat on a team that finished the season dead last in the standings. The Blue Jackets will be scrambling for offense with Rick Nash now gone, but Johnson's place on the top power play unit is secure and he could have a chance to top his previous career-high of 37 points if the forwards show any signs of life at all.
Johnson set a career high in points (42) thanks to 25 helpers with the man advantage but still sported an ugly minus-21 due to his lack of production at even strength. The Kings have added some firepower up front with the additions of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne which could help out their power play but Johnson's going to need to improve his even strength play to take the next step. Expect another 40-point effort until he starts collecting points at even strength.
Johnson enjoyed a breakout season (8G, 28A) but was clearly overshadowed by Drew Doughty. He'll need to work on his defensive game (minus-15 last year) but he sees enough time on the team's second power play unit (2:48 of power play ice time per game, sixth on the team) to make the ugly plus/minus numbers a little easier to swallow. The Kings have a host of young blueliners looking for more ice time, but Johnson should be able to hold onto his role for at least one more reason.
Jackson battled a shoulder injury for half the season and never really got his game in order as a result. He's got a host of youngsters coming up behind him and has already been passed over by Drew Doughty. He'll rebound if he can stay healthy but his ceiling may be a lot lower than it looked two years ago.
Johnson's rookie effort (3 G, 8 A) was a disappointment to most fantasy owners but the Kings will rely heavily on the youngster to soak up some of the minutes that left with the departures of Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky. Whether or not that results in an increased offensive role remains to be seen but it's hard to imagine Johnson won't post moderately better numbers in his sophomore season. Don't expect a breakout season but there is room for improvement.
The Carolina Hurricanes badly needed a defenseman early last season, so all the Kings had to give up for Johnson was defenseman Tim Gleason and forward Eric Belanger. The deal may eventually go down as one of the bigger steals in NHL history. Johnson is an elite defensive prospect who turned pro late in the season and played the final few games of the season with the Kings. He played very well in his brief time in the NHL and should get a ton of ice time this year, especially on the power play. He makes for a great selection in keeper leagues and could even have some fantasy value next season.
Johnson has steadfastly resisted the Hurricanes' entreaties to him to join the club, preferring to continue his college career at Michigan. There is a good chance, however, that he may make the jump when his sophomore season ends in the spring of '07. Last season, Johnson decided to stay in college, declining to sign with Carolina. But after being acquired by the Kings in September along with defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky in exchange for center Eric Belanger and defenseman Tim Gleason, Johnson had his sights set on the NHL and finally agreed to terms in March of 2007.
Johnson refused Carolina's contract offer and will play collegiate hockey at Michigan. Unless your league covers the CCHA, he won't generate anything for you.
More Fantasy News
Snags assist
DPittsburgh Penguins
February 27, 2019
Johnson picked up a helper against Columbus on Tuesday.
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Avoids injury
DPittsburgh Penguins
January 29, 2019
Johnson (undisclosed) was a full participant in practice Tuesday and won't miss any time, Sam Kasan of Pens Inside Scoop reports.
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Leaves Monday's game
DPittsburgh Penguins
January 28, 2019
Johnson (undisclosed) suffered an injury in Monday's game and did not return.
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Struggling at both ends
DPittsburgh Penguins
January 24, 2019
Johnson has just one assist and a minus-5 rating in his last five outings.
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Putting shots on net
DPittsburgh Penguins
December 24, 2018
Johnson has started to shoot the puck again (six shots in his last three outings) after having gone five games without a single shot on goal.
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