Just how bad is Jack Johnson?

The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for Jack Johnson and a first round pick.  When Johnson signed his current 7 year, $30.5M contract I wrote how I thought the Kings would regret the contract.  Now I think the Blue Jackets will.

Just how bad is Jack Johnson?  Well, lets take a look at the Kings defensemen’s goals against per 20 minutes of zone start adjusted 5v5 close ice time over the past 2 3/4 seasons.

Defenseman 11-12 GA20 Defenseman 10-11 GA20 Defenseman 09-10 GA20
Martinez 0.471 Martinez 0.465 Harrold 0.418
Voynov 0.473 Greene 0.580 Greene 0.451
Doughty 0.495 Drewiske 0.635 Doughty 0.499
Mitchell 0.504 Harrold 0.715 Scuderi 0.517
Scuderi 0.557 Mitchell 0.764 O’Donnell 0.543
Greene 0.571 Doughty 0.785 Drewiske 0.682
Johnson 0.727 Scuderi 0.831 Jones 0.755
Johnson 1.054 Johnson 0.906

Not only is Jack Johnson dead last in all three seasons, he is last by a sizeable margin.  Of the 7 Kings defensemen this year the spread between #1 Martinez and #6 Greene is smaller than the spread between #6 Greene and #7 Johnson.  The previous two seasons look no better.

But what is even more scary are Johnson’s offensive numbers.  Yeah, Johnson may be a question mark defensively but his offense helps offset some of that.  Well, so we thought.  Here are the goals for per 20 minutes of ice time numbers for Kings defensemen.

Defenseman 11-12 GF20 Defenseman 10-11 GF20 Defenseman 09-10 GF20
Voynov 1.014 Harrold 1.072 Scuderi 0.791
Martinez 0.848 Mitchell 1.030 Doughty 0.774
Greene 0.694 Doughty 0.999 O’Donnell 0.744
Doughty 0.637 Martinez 0.802 Drewiske 0.744
Mitchell 0.612 Drewiske 0.714 Greene 0.708
Scuderi 0.590 Scuderi 0.712 Johnson 0.647
Johnson 0.485 Greene 0.709 Jones 0.519
Johnson 0.671 Harrold 0.314

Dead last in 2 of the three seasons and only ahead of Randy Jones and Peter Harrold in 2009-10.  Certainly not something to write home about.  So, if Johnson isn’t helping his team score goals and isn’t helping his team limit goals against, he has to have a pretty terrible goals for percentage (goals for divided by goals for + goals against).  Let’s take a look.

Player Name GF% Player Name GF% Player Name GF%
Voynov 0.682 Martinez 0.633 Greene 0.611
Martinez 0.643 Harrold 0.600 Doughty 0.608
Doughty 0.562 Mitchell 0.574 Scuderi 0.605
Greene 0.548 Doughty 0.560 O’Donnell 0.578
Mitchell 0.548 Greene 0.550 Drewiske 0.522
Scuderi 0.514 Drewiske 0.529 Harrold 0.429
Johnson 0.400 Scuderi 0.462 Johnson 0.417
Johnson 0.389 Jones 0.407

It’s pretty sad when every other defenseman on your team has a goals for percentage above 50% and you sit at 40%.

It seems that Jack Johnson is a major drag on his team, especially defensively, but offensively as well.  The only redeeming quality of Jack Johnson on the ice is that he seems to be a good PP specialist.  I have often called Jack Johnson the $4.3M/yr version of Marc-Andre Bergeron but that might be unfair to Bergeron.  Getting rid of Johnson is addition by subtraction plus you are getting Jeff Carter for a mere first round pick which is a steal.

The Kings win this trade by a country mile while the Blue Jackets have set back their franchise years by the whole Carter fiasco which has seen them trade Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins (3rd round pick in 2011) for a horrid Jack Johnson and a mid first round pick.  Pretty sad for any Blue Jacket fan.


This article has 14 Comments

  1. This article doesn’t use the Murray is an idiot stat that shows how Murray would specialize JJ in criticle defensive situations where the other team is bound to score, and switch his partners constantly so that even though JJ’s not on the ice by himself, he is the only one to get a minus on the team by the end of the game.

    Those guys that the Kings do score against, are not the guys JJ is covering most nights, because the Kings barely score against the other teams top offensive players.

  2. LOL gotta love stats guys, especially useless stats like zone start goals against yadayadayada guys. Johnson will be a completely different player for CBJ. Not even a Jackets fan myself.

    Plus Voracek and COuturier aren’t anything amazing to write home about. Two third line players bascially.

  3. Dominick, you’re right. It’s much more likely that it was all a big conspiracy against Jack than that he just isn’t very good

  4. This is my first time reading this blog and I must say the amount of work you guys must put into making these stats is impressive. That being said, I don’t really understand it.

    The goals for percentage is a little bit confusing. You said it was goals for divided by goals for + goals against. I’m guessing you did this because you thought it was an improved method to look at a players “value” compared to the +/- rating system. But wouldn’t this statistic be biased against top 4 defensemen who are constantly on the penalty kill? (I know that this argument in JJ’s case is weak because the Kings have the 5th best PK % in the league).

    I’m just curious as to why you chose to use your GF% statistic, what does it indicate?

    1. The GF% is just during 5v5 close situations so PP and PK goals don’t count and I use 5v5 close to factor out any score effects that may occur. GF% is very much like +/- except it factors out ice time. A good player with a large amount of ice time will have a better +/- than a good player with half as much ice time, but their GF% might be the same. GF% is essentially asking, what percentage of the goals scored while you are on the ice are for your team. The more the better.

  5. this is really interesting stuff. JJ looks terrible from most fan’s point of view, but to see it quantitatively is fascinating. I’m curious, could you find a statistical explanation to why teams slump? Like do the Kings have something in their makeup that shows why they underperformed? Also, it’d be an interesting thing to see how your stats stack up compared to the NHL standings. What team has the most value and how do the teams rank in standings.

  6. Great post! And Great foresight on Johnson salary.
    Also excellent point on ‘addition by subtraction’,

    Now given the KIngs depth of center (Kopitar, Carter, Richards Stoll)
    If their shooting percentages regress to their career norm as a team
    and they sneak in look out they could make it to the finals.

  7. You never liked JJ that’s why you think it’s a good trade. You always hated him in your blog! Also if you have a partner like Mitchell who just stands around doing nothing you’re bound to get scored on. Also he doesn’t play 1st unit on the Kings’ PP so he won’t be on for the +. Also during 5v5 situations he never plays with the Kings’ first line and this season and the past 2 seasons before that has been the line that mostly scores the Kings’ goals!

    1. I have nothing against Jack Johnson and I don’t actually watch all that many Kings games so my analysis is based solely on the numbers.

      This year in 5v5close situations, Jack Johnson’s most frequent defense parter is Matt Greene and the forwards he most frequently plays with are Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Everyone of these players has a significantly higher on-ice goals for rate without Jack Johnson than with him (see http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=20&withagainst=true&season=2011-12&sit=5v5close_f10&type=goals) and only Dustin Brown has a better goals against rate with Johnson than without.

      In fact, the only players who have played more than 50 minutes with Jack Johnson (of which there are 17, not including goalies) and who have a better goals for rate with Jack Johnson than without are Jarett Stoll, Andrei Loktionov, and Trent Hunter. The only ones with a better gaa with Johnson than without are Brown, Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis.

      I could do the same for previous seasons and get similar results. Generally speaking, when players play with Johnson their on-ice results are worse, usually significantly worse, than when they are not playing with Johnson. Maybe Johnson is just the most unlucky player that has ever played the game and he is really a good player but I doubt it.

      1. He doesn’t usually play with Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown. If you watched the Kings games you would see. He usually played with Dustin Pancakes and whoever was on the 2nd line and his partner was usually Mitchell, who when is on the ice is always doing 1 thing idiotic, and ends up costing the Kings. I also didn’t like this trade because Johnson is such a great puck moving defenseman, there’s no stat for that,

        1. Now you are trying to argue facts. I get this info from the shift charts that the NHL provides and the three forwards that Jack Johnson is most frequently on the ice with are Williams,, Kopitar and Brown. It’s a fact. Deal with it.

          As for Johnson being a great puck moving defenseman, maybe you can argue that. But whatever he is good at is more than offset by what he is bad at because when he is on the ice the Kings play significantly worse than when he is of the ice and this has been the case for his whole career.

          1. Hey David –

            Just stumbled upon the blog, and I’m quickly reading the many posts. Awesome stuff man! Keep it up, and thanks a lot.

            Comments like these from Haik seem to pop up often on the posts I’ve read recently. Some people just by nature don’t like to think statistically, instead saying “but when I watch the games he doesn’t play with them often!”, meanwhile your proving the cold hard facts. I enjoy how you deal with these people cooley and calming. Very entertaining.

            I never realized how poor Johnson was, anything on him in his younger years (pre-nhl) that shows this or your personal opinion of why he was so over-valued?

  8. Haik, my man, it is what it is. davidjohnson isn’t saying WHY the Kings are worse with JJ, he’s saying THAT they’re worse.

    I hate that this is true. I watched Johnson play in the world juniors in Vancouver, and loved that he showed up–at great personal expense–at the opening ceremonies for the Olympics (he was the only Team USA hockey player there).

    But it is what it is. The Kings are better off with Voynov. Oh, and Carter.

  9. First of all, I love your website. Very cool. I wish we had a Kings version. 🙂

    Second, thanks for putting something in perspective that I had a gut feeling about all along. People keep talking about the Carter trade being the reason for the Kings’ post-trade-deadline success. However, I think it’s actuall the Johnson trade that did it, which allowed the highly-skilled Voynov to emerge.

    People will still deny how bad JMFJ is because he had a Kool-Aide-esque fanbase. But there is such a large discrepancy between him and the other defensemen. Having said all that, I think JMFJ has the skill set to improve.

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