Erik Johnson
Erik Johnson
31-Year-Old DefensemanD
Colorado Avalanche
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Johnson is a serviceable commodity for the Avalanche, as he's posted back-to-back 25-point seasons and the defensive contributions remain plentiful. Take last year, for example -- the assistant captain redirected 143 shots to go with 124 hits over 80 games. Is Johnson worth every penny of his $6 million AAV contract? It's a valid question since the right-shot rearguard's power-play role is starting to diminish, and he didn't exactly light it up in the 2019 postseason based on an output of three points through 12 contests. A shoulder injury that required offseason surgery could delay Johnson's season debut, but as long as he's picked in the late rounds, fantasy owners should have no qualms with the 31-year-old as he embarks on his 12th NHL campaign. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a seven-year, $42 million extension with the Avalanche in September 2015. Deal runs through the end of the 2022-23 season.
Fills stat sheet
DColorado Avalanche
November 16, 2019
Johnson notched an assist, six blocked shots, three shots on goal and two hits in Saturday's 5-4 overtime win over the Canucks.
Johnson set up Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for the game's first goal. Other than the helper, it was a strong defensive effort for Johnson. He has four assists in his last five games, and five points in 20 contests overall. The 31-year-old has added 33 hits and 40 blocked shots this season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Johnson had trouble staying healthy in the second half of the 2017-18 season, playing in just 16 games following the All-Star break due to shoulder and knee issues. Injuries have been a common theme in his recent campaigns, limiting Johnson to 62 or fewer games in three of the last four. Entering his age 30 season, there's still reason for optimism given his 25 points -- nine goals and 16 assists -- and 168 shots on goal over 62 contests last season. Johnson remains a risky proposition in fantasy drafts given his injury history, but one with significant upside based on a pair of 39-point seasons in his heyday.
Johnson was limited to 46 games last season by a broken fibula, finishing with just two goals and 15 assists after notching double-digit goals in each of his previous two campaigns. The 29-year-old Minnesota native never bloomed into the type of player expected from a first overall pick (2006), but boasts solid career averages of 33 points and 51 PIM per 82 games while skating north of 22 minutes per contest in each of the past four seasons. If Johnson can stay healthy and improve on his minus-25 combined rating from the past two years, he'll be a solid all-around contributor that costs next to nothing on draft day.
Johnson was healthy for a majority of the season (missed nine games due to a lower-body injury) and still underperformed in what has been a roller coaster career to date. Selected No. 1 in the 2006 draft by St. Louis, the blueliner had high expectations, but has yet to hit 40 points in a campaign. The 28-year-old notched 11 goals and 16 assists last year, which is decent until you put it alongside his minus-19 rating. However, the Minnesota native doesn’t have to worry about his role changing amongst the top-four defensemen for Colorado, and he does perform admirably in the hustle stats – 126 hits and 197 blocks last season. The Avs are looking to be a force to be reckoned with, and if Johnson can capitalize on the talent surrounding him (and stay relatively healthy), that first 40-point campaign is attainable.
Injury problems plagued Johnson once again in 2014-15, limiting the 2006 No. 1 overall draft pick to just 47 games. Even though he missed more than a third of the past season with the knee ailment, Johnson enters the upcoming campaign fully healthy and looking to build on what had the makings of a career year before injury set in. Prior to going down, Johnson was among the NHL defenseman leaders with 12 goals, including three power-play tallies. It probably wasn't a fluke, either, as the 27-year-old puck mover posted 39 points in 2013-14, a mark he likely would have surpassed last season if health had permitted. Tyson Barrie emerged as the team’s top power-play unit quarterback while he was out, but Johnson is still a very dynamic offensive defenseman who shoots the puck often. If he's able to notice a little more luck on the health front, a 40-point season behind a dangerous offense that includes Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon is a realistic possibility.
After a disastrous lockout-shortened season for Johnson -- and the Avs in general -- that resulted in just four assists in 31 games, "EJ" bounced back to post career-bests in assists (30) and plus/minus (plus-5) while tying his best marks in points (39) and shooting percentage (5.7 percent) in 2013-14. Johnson's game is about more than points, however, as the 6-foot-4 blueliner led Colorado in ice time, averaging 23 minutes per night while frequenting both special teams units. As the Avs set out to defend their Central Division crown this year, Johnson will be counted on yet again to anchor the back end as the team’s No. 1 defenseman and offer guidance to a blue line that features rising star Tyson Barrie. Despite largely failing to live up to his lofty first overall draft status from 2006, Johnson took major strides in 2013-14 and should be good for another 40 points or so on an offensively-gifted Avs team brimming with young firepower.
This former No. 1 overall pick (2005) really failed to meet expectations last season. He registered just four assists in 31 games and missed time with a wrist injury. The Avs desperately need a great season -- think St. Louis Blues circa 2010-11 -- out of the 25-year-old veteran defenseman. But we're not sure he has it in him. He's a big risk for fantasy owners -- will he return to the 40-plus point level? Or will he continue his underachieving ways? A 40-plus point pace would have made him a top-25 scoring defender in 2012-13. Take a deep breath and draft him if you can get him at sleeper value.
With 26 points in 73 games last year, Johnson enjoyed his best campaign in three seasons, his first full one with the Avs since being acquired in mid-2010-11 from St. Louis. As he had the season before, Johnson struggled out of the gate, but was mostly solid from December on, posting a minus-3 rating on the season (not bad on a non-playoff team). Johnson still boasts a heavy slapshot from the point, but has trouble getting pucks on net, especially through traffic. However, he did lead the Avs in average ice time (20:50) last season and his 155 shots was most among Avs' defensemen and sixth overall. The Avs will continue to be patient with the former first-overall draft pick and his spot on the team’s first defensive pairing will be his to lose this season.
After two and a half underwhelming seasons in St. Louis, the Blues finally decided to pull the plug on Johnson, their first overall draft pick in 2006, sending him to the Avs in a deal that saw Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk go the other way. The Avs are hoping that a change of scenery will do Johnson some good, and that he finally develops into the blue-chip, puck-moving defenseman he was projected to be, back when he was drawing comparisons to a young Chris Pronger. In order to achieve that, he will have to do better than the 30-plus point seasons he's been putting up the last three years. For now, he will continue to be the No.1 guy on the Avs' blue line and run their power play, but with blue chip prospects like Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie and Duncan Siemens rising quickly through the ranks, Johnson is running out of time to prove he can be The Man in Denver.
Johnson, 22, came back in 2009-10 after missing the previous season because of a knee injury. It's believed that he was still feeling limited by the knee early on, and there appears to be some credence in that belief judging by his second half numbers. He had six goals and 14 points in his final 23 games. Johnson is the best the Blues have on defense in the transition game, and he'll be a mainstay on the power play. He should start the season on the top defensive pairing and easily play 22-25 minutes a night.
Johnson returns to the Blues' lineup after missing all of the 2008-09 season to a knee injury. He will start in the first defensive pairing and is the best puck-mover the team has from the blue line. All reports coming out of the summer and training camp have Johnson back to 100 percent and he'll be one of the league's top scoring defensemen.
Johnson suffered a season-ending non-hockey related injury to his right knee in mid-September. He has a complete tear of his ACL and a partial tear of his MCL in that knee. Don't count on him for any contribution this season but consider holding on to the former #1 overall pick in long-term keeper leagues.
After just one season at the University of Minnesota, Johnson, the former first overall pick in 2006, is expected to make the Blues roster this season and he could play a very prominent role right away. Johnson can do absolutely everything on the rink. He has fantastic offensive ability and his great size allows him to dominate in his own zone. He could very well be a fantasy factor as early as this coming season and he is a lock to be a fantasy asset in the future. However, the Blues are already deep on defense, with on-ice leaders like Jay McKee and Eric Brewer, and may not ask Johnson to shoulder too big a load too soon.
Johnson, the first-overall pick in the 2006 draft could have played for the Blues this season, but the club decided it would be best for Johnson to attend the University of Minnesota in order to continue his development. Johnson is the complete package on defense and is the future of the Blues franchise. He should be in the NHL in 2007-08.
Johnson was the top pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft after a phenomenal showing at the 2007 World Junior Tourney. He has everything -- vision, size, skills, speed and hockey sense -- to be a number one defenseman in the NHL. Most already project him to be better than fellow U.S. teammate and Carolina stud draft pick, Jack Johnson, and many believe he's the best defense prospect to come into the league in the last 15 years. Can you say Pronger-esque? We tend to agree.
More Fantasy News
Bags apple in loss
DColorado Avalanche
November 15, 2019
Johnson registered an even-strength assist in Thursday's 6-2 loss to Edmonton.
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First two assists of 2019-20
DColorado Avalanche
November 7, 2019
Johnson collected two assists and four shots to go with a plus-3 rating in Thursday's 9-4 win over the Predators.
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Still sitting on one goal
DColorado Avalanche
November 4, 2019
Johnson has one goal and no assists with a minus-5 rating and six PIM in 14 games this season.
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Sitting on one goal
DColorado Avalanche
October 24, 2019
Johnson has one goal and a minus-2 rating with two PIM in nine games this season.
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Leads off scoring in big win
DColorado Avalanche
October 14, 2019
Johnson tallied a goal, three shots and two hits in Monday's 6-3 win over the Capitals.
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