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Moving Jack Johnson?

from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN,

LeBrun: And of course the biggest name of all, when it comes to defensemen on the trade market, is Jack Johnson in Los Angeles. I had a few team executives this week tell me he’s in play but only for the type of deal that hands the Kings the top-line forward they’ve been craving. Shut out 1-0 at home by Phoenix Thursday night, I have to imagine Kings GM Dean Lombardi will be even more determined in his efforts to land Rick Nash. Jeff Carter and Ales Hemsky are other possibilities. The Kings can’t score and must make the playoffs. Lots of pressure there.

Burnside: As you know, I wasn’t a fan of the Darryl Sutter hire when Lombardi dismissed Terry Murray and the team has continued to struggle offensively after a spasm of productivity and not surprisingly slowly slid down the standings. That’s what happens when you’re dead last in goals scored per game and 22nd on the power play. There is more than a little impatience in Los Angeles with the Kings’ plans for building a contender. The fans have been surprisingly understanding, but if the Kings miss the playoffs, that would be a monster blow for the franchise and I have to assume one that would signal dramatic change from the top on down. Right now, the Kings are in eighth place thanks to their loss at home versus the resilient Phoenix Coyotes, and Calgary is just two points back after picking up a point in an overtime loss to Dallas. Dallas, by the way, is just four points back of the Kings with a game in hand.

I must admit I still don’t get the willingness to part with Johnson for some of the reasons outlined above. No matter how much you need offense, it’s nigh on impossible to replace a young, puck-moving defenseman the likes of Johnson. I guess it’s a case of high risk, high reward for Lombardi. Either way, the Kings will be a team to keep an eye on in the coming days.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jack+johnson

Comments

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Reading Burnside’s portion of that made me feel like I was losing brain cells by the second.

Posted by Cory on 02/17/12 at 02:49 PM ET

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Jack Johnson, at that age, and with that contract, with what he brings to the table, would be an absolute gem in any deal. I know L.A. needs scoring, but they’d be foolish to part with him.

Posted by Chris from Ottawa, ON on 02/17/12 at 02:58 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

I’d love to have Johnson.  And I started reading Burnside but quit, my brain stopped functioning about a sentence and a half in.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 02/17/12 at 03:52 PM ET

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Jack Johnson acted as his own agent, and signed his contract at a salary that basically said he wants to stay in Los Angeles for a long time.
I don’t care about his contract and CAP hit being more than attractive, the guy isn’t a greedy, immature player, who had one good season, and 2 average ones and then demanded 7 million.
Johnson is the kind of player you want, he’s not just in it for himself, and has progressed every season, unlike our 7 million dollar defenseman Doughty.
LeBrun, where is your source within Los Angeles, because Dean Lombardi never tells the truth. You pronounced that Kovalchuk signed with the Kings, when you were wrong, not to mention lots of other rumors which had no merit.
I hope once again you eat crow and along with that crow, a murder of Crows comes after Doughty who is scared to death of birds.
You want integrity, follow Helene Elliot, she sees through to garbage of all of you TMZ gossip hounds.

Posted by Neil Shafton from Los Angeles on 02/17/12 at 04:24 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Johnson is highly overrated.

He’s an OK puck-mover for a team that really, really would need one, but they’d also have to then trade off with his deficiencies (mostly that I think he does a terrible job thinking and reacting to the game) so, it’d have to be a very specific fit, and still a gamble.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/12 at 04:26 PM ET

SYF's avatar

You want integrity, follow Helene Elliot, she sees through to garbage of all of you TMZ gossip hounds.

Posted by Neil Shafton from Los Angeles on 02/17/12 at 01:24 PM ET

Well, it is ESPN, after all…

I don’t think the Kings are going to move Jack at all.  He’s steadier back there than Doughty.  Big Will has been a good influence on him.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 02/17/12 at 04:34 PM ET

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100% agree don’t move Johnson…I would move Doughty first.  When people say he’s overatted is that compared to other players making 2.5MM a year are compared to guys making 7MM.  Name me 5 better D-men at the 2.5MM cap hit for the next 3years?

Posted by Erik on 02/17/12 at 04:56 PM ET

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I don’t know where you are getting your numbers from. Johnson is in the first year of a 7 year deal with a $4.35 m cap hit (which is still a very good deal for him, IMO).

Posted by Chris from Ottawa on 02/17/12 at 05:00 PM ET

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Johnson has played great hockey this year and really elevated his play. His skating and puck moving ability are at the highest level. Doughty has taken a step back and should be the carrot they dangle for an elite offensive package. On the other hand, I contend that the biggest issue with the Kings is their failure to recognize that their best offensive players are on the blue line and should be allowed to join the rush. Doughty, Johnson, Martinez and Voynov are all gifted skaters and puck rushers, who are relegated to staying back. Attack, attack, attack!

Posted by Carl LaFong from Los Angeles on 02/17/12 at 05:16 PM ET

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Doughty, Johnson, Martinez and Voynov are all gifted skaters and puck rushers, who are relegated to staying back. Attack, attack, attack!

They hired the wrong coach if this is what needs to happen…

Posted by Chris from Ottawa on 02/17/12 at 05:48 PM ET

awould's avatar

I’d be happy to see Johnson in a Red Wings uniform. LA would be foolish to let him go.

Posted by awould on 02/17/12 at 06:21 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’d be happy to see Johnson in a Red Wings uniform. LA would be foolish to let him go.

Posted by awould on 02/17/12 at 03:21 PM ET

Same here, awould.  I would imagine the Kings would want Kindl as part of a package for Jack.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 02/17/12 at 06:34 PM ET

awould's avatar

Same here, awould.  I would imagine the Kings would want Kindl as part of a package for Jack.

I’d be ok w/ that. Not sure what else they’d have to give up though.

I have Doughty on my fantasy team, and somehow I’m still in 2nd place. What a disappointment he’s been all season long.

Posted by awould on 02/17/12 at 06:39 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

I can see Johnson being traded.  He’s definitely very attractive, given his relatively reasonable, long term deal and his decent offensive numbers. If he goes, it’ll be as part of a package for some big name, high priced scorer and nothing else. Lombardi can’t get away with that sort of personnel move for anything less.  Not going to bother reading the link, but obviously Penner could be dealt at the drop of a hat to anyone that needs the salary space at the end of the season, and guys like Bernier, Stoll, Martinez, Hickey, and possibly even Voynov and Loktionov could also be packaged. I’d hate to Voynov go; he’s going to be a very impressive NHL defenseman. Better than JJ.

While it’s impossible to read more than two comments about Doughty now without some literary genius reminding us that he’s the “7 million dollar defenseman,” if you get past the off-season contract bullshit and the slow start / concussion re-start, he’s a guy that touches the puck more than anyone else each game, plays against the top guys, and makes difficult plays look easy virtually every shift.  Not saying that he’s even close to being the next Nik, but by comparison, JJ isn’t remotely close to Doughty in terms of puck carrying ability, passing, or actual defense. While he’s improving, JJ still makes a lot of mistakes in his own end. Solid offensive game, obviously. 

Anyway, point being that JJ holds value based on being relatively cheap for the minutes he gets, be they 2nd or 3rd pairing minutes plus PP, whereas DD has overall intrinsic value that other Kings can’t match, regardless of the ridiculous ducats he’s being paid.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 02/17/12 at 07:35 PM ET

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“Penner could be dealt at the drop of a hat to anyone that needs the salary space at the end of the season, and guys like Bernier, Stoll, Martinez, Hickey, and possibly even Voynov and Loktionov could also be packaged. I’d hate to Voynov go; he’s going to be a very impressive NHL defenseman. Better than JJ.”

Penner/Stoll walk as UFA’s, that frees up 7.8 mill CAP. Hickey will never play with the Kings, has paid his dues at Manchester, and should be dealt.
A-Mart is expendable and attractive because he has size, and some offensive upside.
Voynov should be untouchable, he has shown he belongs in the NHL, and paired with Mitchell, they compliment the other.
Loktionov is just not big enough, and has been given plenty of time to produce and looks to timid. Maybe its due to his consecutive shoulder injuries that kept him out for the better part of 2 seasons, regardless he isn’t scoring.
If you have Kopitar and Richards as your top 2 centers, that leaves Loktionov as a 3rd or 4th line center slot and he isn’t projected there.
Bernier where to start with him.  He clearly has shown in his limited work, he is ready to be a #1 goaltender. Sure Bernier has let in a few goals which might be looked at as soft, but he pretty much shuts everything down after that. Quick also has let in some soft goals, but that is part of growing process.
Bernier seems to play a very calm and poised game, and when he is on, he is virtually unbeatable.
You don’t trade a Bernier even with a Quick, and this is why. What if Quick got injured, who would you want on the bench to come in and take his place, which is not a band aid? Zatkoff? Jones? Berube?
Quick is a UFA, Bernier is an RFA after next season. It would be a huge mistake to trade Bernier because if Quick were to be given an offer he couldn’t refuse, he can go. Without Bernier, Quick then has serious leverage to get the Kings to pay him what he is worth, which is Top 4 salary easily 7-8 mill. That alone really kills your options.
Lombardi has already traded away most of his 1st and 2nd round picks, Bernier is one of his last, along with Hickey.
Lombardi needs to go. He has hired 3 coaches now,  in year 6 of his 5 year rebuild, poor drafts, poor player evaluation, bad trades, lack of developing a forward in the system and the creme de la creme unable to attract and sign a marquee UFA are reason enough to ask him to go.
New attitude, new GM, new system and maybe a few more years of waiting, but enough of Dumbardi!

Posted by Neil Shafton from Los Angeles on 02/17/12 at 08:17 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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