2013 NHL Trade Deadline: Jack Johnson Is Not The Answer

Jamie Sabau

The Columbus Blue Jackets are reportedly making Jack Johnson available. The Dallas Stars should not be among the teams interested.

Jack Johnson is reportedly being made available by Columbus' new general manage Jarmo Kekäläinen. He is currently playing 26 minutes a night for a poor team and has eleven points in 22 games. He has good size, he's 26 years old, and has the look of a good NHL defenseman. So, on the surface, the Stars seem like a logical fit

There are some who still believe Johnson is a top pairing NHL talent or, at least, a potential top pairing talent. This belief is driving the idea that the Stars are a logical landing spot for Johnson. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that Johnson is even remotely that level of player. Below is the basic statistical profile of Johnson the past five years. Included are his Quality of Competition, Zone Start %, Corsi Relative, and Goals + Primary Assists/60 minutes.

Year QoC ZS % Corsi Rel G+A1/60
2013 0.754 41.9 -7 0.47
2012 0.78 47 -11.8 0.56
2011 0.369 51.5 -8.7 0.29
2010 0.022 56.1 -4.9 0.49
2009 0.407 50.8 -11.5 0.37

This season sees Johnson facing more difficult minutes than he has at any point in his career, and he's performing better than one would have anticipated given the increase in difficulty. It still isn't particularly good though. He has the worst Corsi Relative of any of the Blue Jackets defenders. In the previous four seasons he was 2nd to last, last, second to last, and last among his defensive teammates. In short, he hasn't been very good.

A team might be able to get past that if the player is an elite offensive performer (though it would still be questionable). Johnson isn't an elite offensive performer though. This year he has .47 goals plus primary assists per 60 minutes of ice time. That puts him at 79th among all defensemen in the NHL who have played at least 10 games.

If a team is to pursue Johnson they would be doing so in the hopes that he will develop into the player scouts thought he would be when drafted. After five years in the league the chances of Johnson all of a sudden developing into that player are very slim.

He also isn't going to be moved for free. Columbus has few assets to move in deals. At 26, Johnson is arguably going to be the most valuable asset they are willing to move. The cost isn't going to be light. Is it worth it for the Stars to pay a premium for a player they hope could possibly develop when the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that he will likely never be the player his supporters hope he will be? I'd say no.

What is most interesting to me about the Jack Johnson situation is how quickly people are willing to turn on someone like Alex Goligoski. Both players would fill very similar roles for the Stars, but Goligoski has historically been the better player. He's having a down year this season, but it makes little sense for the Stars to use their limited resources to acquire an inferior player to fill a similar role.

The Stars can unquestionably improve their defense if the right deal comes along. Jack Johnson is not going to be part of that deal, and given the way they've tended to respond to statistical trends this season the chances of the Stars actually having interest in Johnson are slim.


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