As everyone knows, the Los Angeles Kings sent defenseman Jack Johnson and a 1st round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jeff Carter. Johnson played a solid hockey game, and at times produced better than Drew Doughty. While he is still very young, Doughty seemed to have a more complete game than Johnson, which may have helped to make him tradeable.
The moment this trade happened, it seemed like the Kings overpaid way too much for Carter. He supposedly had problems in the locker room, and many were hesitant to see Carter put on a Kings uniform. However, we all know how it worked out in the end.
What made Johnson easier to let go was watching the play of Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez. Even though these two have been overshadowed by Doughty and Johnson, they continued to work hard and became more recognized at the end of the season. Voynov in particular stepped up his game when Johnson left and in 54 games with the Kings, Voynov collected 20 points. Voynov is still just 22 and with his first NHL season under his belt, the Kings are hoping that he can replace some of the scoring that Johnson brought to the blueline.
While Doughty has been on a steady decline since his huge season in 2009-2010 with 59 points, Johnson has been there to provide backup in scoring for the defense. In the previous 2 seasons, Johnson has had more points than Doughty, but what the Kings don’t miss is the awful plus/minus that Johnson had. However, it was the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup playoffs where Doughty came back to his old self and showed the reason why he was given a $7 million per year contract until 2019. Doughty had 16 points in just 20 playoff games and was most likely the runner up to the Conn Smythe trophy.
So do the Kings miss Jack Johnson? Of course not. That trade may have been the reason they were able to win the Stanley Cup. While Johnson did provide scoring on the defense and help on the power play, his defensive game wasn’t the greatest.
What helps is seeing Doughty showing signs of playing to his full potential and if he plays like he did in the playoffs, he will win the Norris trophy next year. What also helps is seeing Voynov step up into a possible top 4 defensive role and look quite comfortable there.
Johnson has seemed to be playing inspired hockey by being the defensive leader with the Blue Jackets. While he only played 21 games with the Blue Jackets, Johnson had 14 points and led the team with a +5. Johnson will help the Blue Jackets rebuild into a contending team in the future and will now be the #1 defenseman for the Blue Jackets, which is something he couldn’t be on the Kings.
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