Jack Johnson to don a new Jacket
Finding it tricky to compile my feelings on this one. Can’t love it, can’t hate it.
The University of Michigan alum will now be playing on the outskirts of Ohio State University‘s campus.
Defenseman Jack Johnson has been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in swap of forward Jeff Carter and a conditional first-round draft selection in either 2012 or 2013 – pending the Kings’ ability to secure a playoff berth this season.
*UPDATE: Quote from Jack Johnson on the trade via Mayors Manor:
“I’m excited by this. I’m excited to go to a team that wants me, and to play in a great sports city. I want to be part of the solution there. I know they’ve had some bad breaks and some tough seasons, but it’s going to be great when it turns around. Really, I don’t think there’s anything sweeter in sports than being part of a team when they get it turned around.”
This isn’t a big surprise to most, front offices in Los Angeles and Columbus were a good fit for each other at this year’s trade deadline. The Kings were desperate for acquiring offensive help, the Blue Jackets were eager to move a couple of top-six scoring assets in order for a heavy rebuild. The Kings had a very tradeable high-value defenseman, the Blue Jackets needed to move a proven forward that had well-known gripe for playing in Columbus.
It was aligned to happen, now it’s reality.
It’s sad. The more it settles, the more you realize how little Jack Johnson‘s performance in a Kings uniform played into tonight’s deal. Sure, his ugly plus-minus stat irritated fans, which fed many to believe he had plateaued as an NHL player, but the Kings had an above-average defenseman locked up for a lengthy tenure at an extremely low price. Plus, the guy is only 25, and held off the NHL for two years to play NCAA hockey in Ann Arbor. There was plenty of time to be had with Johnson’s development, and it’s now the kiss of death to his tenure as a King.
Hit the road, Jack: I’ve had my fair number of frustrations with Jack Johnson this season and the last. However, it’s tough to let such promising young talent go in this fashion. It was a move to alleviate distress in the Kings’ front office, which had seen major offseason offensive acquisitions result in the Kings at rock-bottom of the NHL in scoring. On the playoff bubble, but on the outside looking in, the Kings were almost forced to act on something doable that could bring hope for a late-season resurgence.
That hope comes in Jeff Carter, who has recorded 25 points in 39 games with Columbus this season – following three extremely productive seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, notching 84, 61, and 66 points in his final three campaigns in Philly. The Kings now have a proven scoring forward, they’re dying for someone to initiate chemistry in their dreadful offense.
The Kings’ desperate plea for offensive help makes this trade a bit easier to swallow. Not to mention, the Kings are almost top-heavy in strength at defense. I’d expect Slava Voynov to get the call to fill Johnson’s void for the remainder of the year. If there’s one positive to take from tonight’s deal, it’s improving the outlook of the offense while maintaining defensive strength.
Welcome, Mr. Carter.
The Carter: The newly-acquired forward doesn’t just have an impressive resume, but a strong connection to arguably the Kings’ most valuable player in Mike Richards. Both players spent five seasons together with the Philadelphia Flyers, and not only did they maintain possibly what was the strongest relationship on the roster for those years, but were two of the biggest, if not the biggest, offensive producers for the Flyers.
The Kings are dying for chemistry in the offensive zone, this may trigger it.
At the very least, this pumps hope into a club that has been mentally abused by failure in the offensive zone. The coach has changed, lines have been shuffled, maybe a fresh name is the answer — but don’t put all of your weight on it. This is just another direction in a season that resembles tumultuous. Hopefully, this time around, tumultuous exemplifies results rather than excitement.
Argue it if you want, sealed as a done deal.
Metro Los Angeles should know better than to release destination posters during the NHL trade-deadline. Or, maybe Johnson’s looking for directions to Columbus? This new advertisement, released just two days ago.
The Kings’ season started out in extremely positive fashion, Jack Johnson set that table with his OT goal in the season’s opener against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, Sweden.
Of course, you can’t forget Jack Johnson‘s ‘Tebow’ celebration in January’s victory over the Washington Capitals.
At last, a back-track to better times, when Johnson was a key piece to the Kings’ youthful core.
So long, Jacko. Welcome to Los Angeles, Jeff Carter.