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05-07-2012, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Endersoldier View Post
Within the context of determining if he's a No. 1 defender in the making, I find Johnson to be underwhelming. Does he do the little things right? To an extent I agree. But I take Subban for the future. I'm not going to bother to use stats, I could care less about the fact that Subban was a plus-9 and Johnson was a minus player. I'm judging this only on what I see.

Subban did not have a good first half this season, but he was nothing short terrific in the second half. The main difference between the two halves was how he simplified his game and stopped forcing plays that weren't there, non-plays that turned against him. When he keeps his game simple, he's rock solid at both ends of the ice, far more than he gets credit for. If he learns to do this over a full season, then I think he can be a true No. 1, maybe not a Pietrangelo or a Doughty but just a cut under that, and considering he's only a sophomore I think he has a good shot of doing so soon.

Long story short, I find Subban tends to have more impact in more games than Johnson. Whenever I look at Johnson, I remember back to when I read Future Greats and Heartbreaks when the Blue Jackets scouting staff were listing the pros and cons of the top players of the 2006 draft. They listed his strengths, which were numerous, but the one con they had for him was "lack of killer instinct." I think they were right on the money: the physical tools are there, the awareness is good, but he lacks the "it" factor, which is fine if you want him to be a no. 2 or 3, but perhaps not quite good enough to be a no. 1, at least not for me.
I think you have a good point here.

I mean, the physical ability is there. I remember the first time I saw him live I wasn't sure whether he should be playing defense for the Blues or Defensive End for the Rams.

I do think that there is some missing from Erik Johnsons game, and has been for quite a while. Sometimes it's hard to get a "feel" for whats wrong with a player, especially one that is immensely talented.

For a while, I thought he simply struggled with the expectations that were placed upon him. I remember in St. Louis he had this thing where he always seemed to want to fire away on the PP, no matter how many defenders were in the way. At other times he seemed to be passing to nobody in particular, but that has corrected itself.

And yet there is still something missing. I'm starting to agree it's "killer instinct".

That isn't to say that Johnson doesn't compete and doesn't work hard, because that has never, and will never be a problem with him. I think, at heart Johnson is a tiny bit soft. Not soft in the way that he won't play hard, or even hurt. Soft in the way that he doesn't want to play with the demeanor you have to have as defenseman with his skillset. This may be a personality thing with him, but the more you watch hi the more you see things about his game that he just doesn't like to do.

For example, he doesn't like to challenge the net-front or protect the front of the net.

You look at say, Chris Pronger, a player that Johnson was compared to in the past, and I think has a similar physical skillset as....

Dear lord, I'd want to be read my last rites before I tried to net-front Pronger.

EJ will let you camp out all night long.

Theres a reason he ended the season with 26 penalty minutes. He needs to be tougher to play against, because the skill is obviously there.

I still think Erik Johnson will be a top pairing defender for the next decade, and I suspect he will play in the Olympics a good four times, but I don't think he will ever become the elite, Norris trophy level player I remember people hyping him up as.

Last edited by Helton4Hall: 05-07-2012 at 03:24 PM.
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