It has now been reported by a couple reliable sources that the Penguins will sign free agent defenseman Jack Johnson to a 5 year×$16 million deal. It’ll pay him around 3-3.5 AAV (average annual value). Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick were traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a 4th round pick which can become a 3rd round pick. Also just announced was Riley Sheahan was resigned at a 1 year 2.1 AAV.
Johnson has played for the Kings and Blue Jackets throughout his career with different results. He was drafted 3rd overall to the Hurricanes which was the same draft as Sidney Crosby was picked 1st overall.
Johnson himself is coming off a poor year with playing in 77 games and only producing 11 points and was a -6. That’s not very attractive nor should it be. But the fact that he didn’t fit in Columbus anymore should be noticed. After Columbus acquired Ian Cole they lessened Johnson’s role on the team.
With a fresh start and a new team he can establish himself again. Hes a leader and very good friends with Sidney Crosby. He will bolster the lineup and depth for the defense. If he can find his 44 point per season self again then this will be a steal of a contract for the Pens.
The Buffalo trade was one to free up cap space and apply that money elsewhere. The move was huge with shedding that Hunwick deal as well. The deal freed up around 5 million in cap room. It also helped for other signings.
Sheahan was just signed to a 1 year $2.1 million AAV deal. The length of the deal is a bit of a letdown but bringing back Sheahan allows for amazing depth at the position yet again. This is a nice deal for both sides and allows for the relationship between the player and the franchise to continue.
As free agency ramps up to the signing period beginning this Sunday at 12 PM, it will be interesting to see what the Penguins do. Many rumors continue to circulate around the league and more importantly around the Penguins.