One of the major surprises for me from Brian Burke‘s American roster was the addition of Jack Johnson. Other moves I could understand; Jonathan Quick is perceived as a future starter for the Americans, Chris Drury has years of reputation to help buoy his current miserable season, etc. But Johnson’s presence on the roster was something I found completely bewildering.

I’ll explain why. Since Johnson’s rookie year, where he went minus-5 in five games, he has consistently been underwhelming offensively and jis plus/minus numbers suggest he’s been ugly defensively too. Let’s compare him to his fellow Kings’ defencemen.

2007-08

  • Dallman: +4
  • Modry: +2
  • Preissing: -6
  • Stuart: -16
  • Visnovsky: -18
  • Blake: -19
  • Johnson: -19

2008-09

  • O’Donnell: +2
  • Drewiske: +1
  • Greene: +1
  • Quincey: -5
  • Gauthier: -11
  • Harrold: -13
  • Doughty: -17
  • Johnson: -18

2009-10

  • O’Donnell: +11
  • Doughty: +6
  • Greene: +2
  • Jones: +2
  • Scuderi: +1
  • Drewiske: -2
  • Harrold: -3
  • Johnson: -11

Am I the only one who sees the pattern?

It isn’t like Johnson is getting killed playing tough minutes, either. This season, he’s started in the offensive zone 58.7% of the time (2nd on the team). Last year, it was 50.8% of the time (middle of the pack). In fact, the only time he’s been below the 50.0% mark was in 2006-07, when he was sent out for a (rather difficult) 43.2% split. Quality of Competition gives us a similar split; this year Johnson ranks fifth among Kings defenders in QC, last year it was fourth, and the year before that he ranked third.

He’s a two-way defenceman who puts up lousy offensive and defensive numbers while not playing against the best opponents or starting a lot in his own end. I don’t see the appeal.