After a dream season in Colorado, veteran defenseman Jack Johnson is signing with the Chicago Blackhawks, a number of league sources informed The Athletic on Tuesday. The deal is for one yr, and the Blackhawks are anticipated to announce it Wednesday.

Johnson, 35, performed 74 regular-season video games for the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche in 2021-22, tallying one aim and eight assists whereas compiling a plus-5 ranking. Johnson’s lone aim was Colorado’s first of the season and got here on a breakaway towards the Blackhawks, his new crew. Though underlying numbers haven’t been excessive on Johnson for years, the Avalanche considered him as a sturdy possibility who may kill penalties and supply bottom-pair minutes. He celebrated his 1,000th profession recreation throughout the common season.

Initially the odd man out of the lineup throughout the playoffs, Johnson slotted in within the second spherical when Samuel Girard suffered a damaged sternum. Johnson performed Colorado’s last 13 playoff video games, averaging simply over 11 minutes of ice time and posting a plus-1 ranking with zero factors. With a star-powered defensive core, the Avalanche didn’t want him to do far more within the postseason than kill penalties and keep away from errors. For probably the most half, he did that. And he can all the time say he was on the ice for Artturi Lehkonen’s game-winning aim in a decisive Game 6 towards Tampa Bay.

Johnson spent the height of his profession with the Columbus Blue Jackets, with whom he averaged greater than 23 minutes a recreation and tallied a career-high 40 factors in 2014-15. He began his profession with the Kings and, after 445 video games with Columbus, had stops with the Penguins and Rangers. He got here to the Avalanche on an expert tryout contract and earned a roster spot at coaching camp forward of the 2021-22 season.

The rebuilding Blackhawks will probably give Johnson extra alternative for enjoying time than the Avalanche. He’ll reunite with defenseman Seth Jones, whom he performed with in Columbus, and ahead Patrick Kane, whom he performed with on the U.S. crew on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. As a No. 3 decide and somebody with Stanley Cup and Olympic expertise, his off-ice presence will probably be welcome in a younger Chicago dressing room.

“He has a great mind for the game,” Jones stated throughout the lead-up to Johnson’s 1,000th recreation. “He was definitely a voice and someone defensemen looked up to when he played there in Columbus for us.”

(Photo: Ron Chenoy / USA Today)

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