Feb 232012
 

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.

 

Jan 092011
 

The Los Angeles Kings have signed Jack Johnson to a 7 year contract extension which will pay him $3.5 million the first 3 seasons and $5 million the final four seasons with a cap hit that works out to a cap hit of $4.36M per season.  So the question is, is it a good deal for the Kings?  I am not sure it is.

First, let me start off by saying that I really don’t watch the Kings that much so I haven’t seen Jack Johnson play all that much.  My comments here are based purely on a statistical analysis.  For some of you that makes these opinions objective, for others it probably means you think I am out to lunch, how can you fairly evaluate someone without having watched him a lot.  So be it.

So, lets start off with the good.  Over the past couple of seasons he has significantly improved his offensive output, especially on the PP.  In 2007-08 he had 3g, 11pts in 74 games.  In 2008-09 he had 6g, 11pts in just 41 games.  Last season was a bit of a breakout year for him as he posted 8g, 36pts in 80 games and this season he has taken that up another level with 4g, 31pts in just 41 games.  That said, the majority of his point production increase this season has been on the power play where he has 3g and 21 points or 68% of his points vs 36% one year ago.  Of course, his PP ice time has risen from 2:48 a game to 4:02 a game so that was a factor.  His PP performance so far seems to be coming at the expense of Drew Doughty who has seen his PP points drop significantly this season from last.    He had 23 even strength points last season and is on pace for 20 this season so even strength there is no real improvement.

Now for the bad, or should I say ugly.  It can be shown that statistically he has been and still is one of the worst defensive defensemen in the NHL.  Of the 110 NHL defensemen who have had 200+ minutes in 5v5 game tied situations, Johnson ranks 109th in my HARD+ rating system with a 0.588 score (a 1.00 score would be an average defenseman) which evaluates a players defensive performance while taking into consideration the quality of both his teammates and the opposition he plays against.  This isn’t anything new.  Of the 92 defensemen who played 400+ 5v5 game tied minutes last season Jack Johnson finished dead last in my HARD+ rating.  If you are one of those people who prefer to use fenwick/corsi, Jack Johnson finished 86th of 92 in my FenHARD+ rating last season.

If you don’t fully understand my HARD+ rating systems that’s OK, you can take a look here to see all Kings defensemen sorted by FenF% (Fenwick For / (Fenwick For + Fenwick Against) and you will see that last season he was dead last among Kings defensemen with 50+ minutes 5v5 game tied.  To to be fair, he is a bit better so far this season in FenF% but that isn’t the case in GF% (goals for / (goals for + goals against)).  It seems the coaches are questioning his defensive responsibility as well as his short handed ice time has been cut from 1:35 a game last year to 1:07 a game this year.

No matter how you look at the numbers, Jack Johnson has probably been  somewhere between bad and dreadful defensively thus far in his career and while he looks to be developing into a good, or maybe very good, offensive defenseman, particularly on the PP, one has to wonder if making a 7 year big $$ commitment to him was a wise decision.  It probably isn’t unusual for defensemen to improve their defensive skills as they age but Johnson has a long way to go to even become an average defensive defenseman.  It was a risky signing in my opinion that the Kings may regret down the road.  It’s a lot to pay for a PP specialist, especially when you already have Doughty, a much better player in all aspects of the game including probably the PP, already on your roster.