Sunday, March 25, 2007

Johnson to sign with Kings

Michigan star defenseman Jack Johnson is negotiating a contract with the Los Angeles Kings today, ending speculation of whether the sophomore would forgo his two remaining years of eligibility.

Johnson confirmed his departure in an exclusive interview with The Michigan Daily this afternoon.

"I thought I was ready for a new challenge," Johnson said. "With all my close friends, the seniors, gone now and everything, I thought it was time for me to pretty much go for a new challenge."
So much for him being difficult to sign.

Given the young phenom is going to be playing in the NHL beginning Tuesday, you have to think the Carolina Hurricanes would like a do-over of the deal that saw them acquire Eric Belanger and Tim Gleason for a player who posted nearly a point a game in the NCAA from the blueline.

GM Jim Rutherford was obviously dealing for the 'now' — something that doesn't appear to have paid off given their position in the standings.

At least with the NHL's wonky division-play heavy schedule, North Carolina hockey fans won't have to worry about him terrorizing them in person.

Johnson's the early favourite for the Calder Trophy in 2008, regardless of where the Kings sit in the standings. He's just a terrific player — one of the best young defencemen to join the league in years — and should make an immediate impact over the Kings' final six games of the regular season.

Not that they need him or anything.

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At 9:15 p.m., March 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, kid. The UM fans will miss you, but I think they pretty much expected this.

At 10:09 p.m., March 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this news is bound to make a hurricanes fans year even worse.

unless of course, they somehow sneak in as a low seed and manage a stealth repeat, but these canes aren't ninjas and they're not the same as last year.

personally i would predict both the new york teams sitting in the 7th and 8th spots.

At 11:31 p.m., March 25, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

What's worse, from Carolina fans' point of view, is that Johnson was absolutely correct in returning to Ann Arbor. Watching him some, and talking with my father, who's a Michigan season ticket holder, Johnson improved dramatically this season. He retained his stats, while becoming much more disciplined. He had a reversion last night, but he didn't take nearly as many dumb peanlties this year as last. That is something I suspect that Red Berenson is better at teaching than whoever would have been coaching him this year.

Speaking of Johnsons, I suspect that Erik Johnson will be signed almost as quickly as Jack. He looked distracted this weekend, and played quite poorly, despite assisting on the GWG against Air Force. We really could have used a standup performance tonight against North Dakota. Their first goal was the result of Johnson completely losing track of Ryan Duncan at the side of the net, who then had a tap in of a rebound off of the back boards.

At 12:45 p.m., March 26, 2007, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

He is not going to be the instant phenomenon that a lot of people are predicting.

I see more of a Sandis Ozolinsh rocky start during his first few years. He will dazzle offensively on many nights, but head hunting, inopportune penalties, and being caught up ice will make his first year or two feast or famine for the Kings. But a least he will be a polarizing player who can jump start some media attention in the second biggest US city.

His first start might be Tuesday in San Jose? I look forward to Johnson proving me wrong on a regular basis. Go Blue!

At 2:24 p.m., March 26, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

I see more of a Sandis Ozolinsh rocky start during his first few years. He will dazzle offensively on many nights, but head hunting, inopportune penalties, and being caught up ice will make his first year or two feast or famine for the Kings.

As I said, he cut way back on the stupid penalties this year. He still commits some, but it's headed in the right direction.

He will get caught up ice a lot. That's why he was paired with Matt Hunwick, who was an outstanding (NCAA level) stay at home defenseman.

At 8:48 p.m., March 26, 2007, Blogger Bubba said...

Interesting. After 2 years of telling the Canes that winning an NCAA championship was more important to him than playing for the Cup, he now signs with one of the worst teams in the league. Why? Because his buds graduated and he wants a new challenge? What about the NCAA championship? What about him taking a leadership role as an upper classman? I guess none of that matters anymore.

I doubt very much that Jim Rutherford regrets the trade and I also doubt that most Caniacs will regret it. Rutherford is happy dumping Tverdovsky's 2.5 million for this year and next. Caniacs are very happy with Timmy Gleason, thank you very much.


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