For some reason, I always think of defenseman Erik Johnson as Landeskog’s henchman. Landeskog seems like an inclusive guy. But you’re not part of the in-crowd unless you’re in with Johnson.
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Erik Johnson wears the other A for alternate captain, and he’s a fellow first-overall pick like MacKinnon. What’s more, he’s the captain of the blueline — it’s no coincidence that the Avalanche’s season took a sharp nosedive when Johnson got injured last year.
Johnson has a lot of responsibility on his broad shoulders. A nine-game winning streak is tons of fun. But it only matters if such a streak happens in the playoffs. (In case you’re wondering, the longest consecutive winning streak in the playoffs is 11 — 1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks, 1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins, and 1992–93 Montreal Canadiens).
Anyway, as we all know, Johnson has been the workhorse of the blueline. MacKinnon gets all the glory, but many of not most of these wins aren’t possible without Erik captaining the defensive corps.