It’s not Jack Johnson‘s fault, exactly. No one would turn down a multi-year contract offered to them. So it’s really on GM Jim Rutherford, who not only signed Johnson but clearly targeted him as he was signed like three minutes into free agency.
Still, it was Johnson who was bitching his way out of the Columbus lineup last year, and then out of the city altogether, because he wasn’t getting playing time. While John Tortorella is a bullhorn and always needs a mirror and recorder near by, he tends to get these player standoffs right, He was right about Ryan Johansen, despite what the Nashville media wants you to believe. He was pretty much right about Brandon Saad.
And he was certainly right about Johnson, who hasn’t been able to play dead in at least five years. Johnson has been a possession-crater his entire career, save one season. He has two seasons in 13 of 40 points or more, but usually settles in the high 20s or low 30s. There is nothing you can ever point to and say, “He does that well,” aside from one Olympic tournament that doubled as Erik Johnson‘s one stretch of dominant hockey. Maybe the problem is that everyone, including Jack himself, gets him confused with Erik, who is at least second-pairing competent.
While no professional athlete should just accept not playing or a demotion, having some perspective isn’t criminal. The Jackets clearly had six d-men playing better than him, and instead of accepting that and working harder to be among them, Johnson thought he deserved a spot on a reputation built on not much more than his draft position a million years ago. He was entitled. Once he was out he demanded a trade, as if serving as a seventh d-man that his play said was exactly what he was was beneath him. We can see where that gets a whole host of teams.
And credit to him, Johnson found a GM willing to buy into his bullshit, as it just so happens to be the one who drafted him but couldn’t sign him in Carolina. Apparently he wasn’t watching the entirety of Johnson’s career elsewhere.
Game #33 Preview Suite