Jack Johnson signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Kings that will keep him in the Purple and Black for another 7 seasons. The long-term deal was a big get in my opinion, as Dean Lombardi was able to lock down one of the key pieces of this young squad into the relatively distant future. Johnson is only 23 (though he turns 24 in the next few days), so this contract will take him through his 30th birthday. Regardless of the fact that he appears to be giving up some of his valuable free agency seasons, Jack accepted a very reasonable contract. He will make $3.5 million for the next three seasons, followed by $5 million for the final four seasons. It’s a very acceptable amount from my perspective and benefits both Jack and the Kings.
The cap hit for the duration of the deal is a meager $4.3 million, which makes him the highest paid defenseman on the team, something that will obviously change when Doughty gets his extension. Regardless, Johnson has been a solid player on the blue line, and if his growth continues this deal will look golden in a couple seasons. After posting 11 points in 74 games as a rookie, he followed up with 11 points in only 41 games the following season and 36 points in 80 games last year. This season he’s put together an impressive offensive performance with 31 points in only 41 games so far. If he is able to continue to develop his defensive game to accompany his offensive output, he could easily become one of the focal points of the Kings blue line for years to come.
This deal makes sense from Jack Johnson’s perspective not only because he makes a good salary, but because it enables the team to put together the pieces around him to take the team to the next level. As the Kovalchuk situation demonstrated in New Jersey, an albatross of a contract will hamper the team and leave a player floundering on a struggling team. That’s no fun for anyone. So from Rink Royalty, we say thank you to Jack Johnson. May many successful seasons be ahead for you, and we’ll look forward to seeing them all up close and personal!