Dec 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) during the game against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Erik Johnson looked primed to have a career year last season until knee surgery cut his season short. Johnson went into last summer with the missive from the coaching staff that they wanted him to take on a greater role with the team. He trained accordingly, and that’s exactly what he was doing. He led the team in ice time, 24:40 minutes average per game.
Johnson scored his 12 goals during a time when no one was scoring goals on the Colorado Avalanche. He even recorded his first multi-goal night against his old team, the St. Louis Blues. Johnson’s +2 rating may seem modest, but you have to remember he earned it when almost every other player was in the minus category.
Johnson’s fancy stats bear out, too:
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has a positive impact, according to Corsi stats.
Photo credit: Puckalytics
Erik Johnson was the Colorado Avalanche’s only All Star nominee. Before his surgery took him out, he was also in the running for the Norris Trophy.
Questions for the Upcoming Season:
Questions about Erik Johnson always center on whether he’s a true #1 defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche. Personally, I think the All Star nomination and Norris Trophy talk, along with both his regular and advanced stats, answer that question. However, among a certain contingent, this question always comes up.
For me, the more significant question is whether he’ll find the right chemistry with Francois Beauchemin. Johnson is a powerful skater, faster than the other defensemen (yes, including Tyson Barrie), so he relies on positioning for his defense. Will he and Beauchemin get accustomed to each other’s positioning?
Erik Johnson is primed to blow his career numbers out of the water. That is my main prediction for him.
However, how his defensive play works out all comes down to that chemistry. I’m certain he and Francois Beauchemin will spend the training camp and preseason working on just that. Johnson is the Avalanche’s cornerstone on defense — it’ll be up to Beauchemin to adapt to his style.