The Pittsburgh Penguins have done the unthinkable and have decided to buy out Jack Johnson’s contract. They signed him to a five-year deal back in the offseason of 2018. Their was three more seasons left on his contract and General Manager Jim Rutherford couldn’t find any trade partners for him. It is better to get rid of a deadweight contract than to keep him at all.
Johnson brought terrible play to this hockey club. The defense was really bad the last two seasons and they have failed to get past the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I guess ownership in Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle came out of the cave and started caring about winning again. It appears as if maybe this team isn’t done after all.
It is still going to be very interesting to see whether or not they have one more title run in them in the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era, but this is a massive step in going in the right direction. His total contract was for five years worth $16.5 million. Placing him on waivers was the right move and now they will have some cap room in order to sign free agents.
Jack Johnson is 33 years old. He scored three goals and recorded eight assists. His plus/minus was -1.
He played in all 82 games in the 2018-2019 season though. Johnson only scored one goal and recorded 12 assists. His plus/minus was -4 and he is one of the worst defenseman in the NHL. This move will make this hockey team more faster on the backend.
Justin Schultz will be an unrestricted free agent and he will not be brought back though. The top defensive pairing next season will most likely be Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin. The second pairing will most likely be John Marino and Marcus Pettersson. The third defensive pairing will be Chad Ruhwedel and Mike Matheson.
The seventh defenseman on the roster is Juuso Riikola. The potential eighth defenseman on the roster next season is Pierre Olivier-Joseph. He was acquired in the Phil Kessel (Arizona Coyotes) last offseason. Management is very high on his upside and potential. He was the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. Olivier-Joseph is only 21 years old. In 52 games last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he scored three goals and recorded 14 assists. His plus/minus was 2.
This defense is going to get better next season. Todd Reidren will work with the defenseman after Sergei Gonchar was fired. Reidren was the head coach of the Washington Capitals last season and he is glad to be back working with the defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins and it was a huge win for them to get rid of Jack Johnson’s contract.