Thread: Erik Johnson
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07-12-2012, 04:12 PM
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Avs71
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Erik Johnson

Alright, I guess continuing with the whole 'threads dedicated to our poorly viewed players' trend, I have done one for EJ. Sorry if these player specific threads are annoying, but I've wanted to do one about Johnson's career for a while now.

Now obviously Erik Johnson's development is independent of the numbers of other players so it really doesn't mean much, but nevertheless this is to point out where EJ is in his career compared to where some of the other big defencemen were.

**This is strictly a statistical comparison.**

Seems many people believe Johnson has largely underachieved in his career, which would be a fair statement given what he appears capable of. However, going strictly by points, an area in which many people seem to think EJ shows no potential in growing, here is Johnson compared to Burns, Chara, Pronger, Seabrook, and Weber. I chose these players because they are also large, two-way defencemen.

Quote:
|GP | Goals | Assits| Points | +/- |
Johnson | 298 | 27 | 100 | 127 | -28 |
Chara | 306 | 16 | 36 | 52 | -31 |
Pronger | 281 | 28 | 76 | 104 |-18 |
Burns | 326 | 35 | 82 | 117 | 4 |
Seabrook | 314 | 26 | 88| 114 | 35 |
Weber | 320 | 62 | 102 | 164 | 16 |
So at this stage in their careers, the only player from that list with more points is Weber. Johnson and Pronger's career also started the earliest at 19, the other four players started at age 20. Now whether Johnson puts it all together and takes his play to the level those other defencemen are on is a different question, but I believe this would show that it is now out of the question for Johnson to put up a 45+, heck even a 50 point season in his prime. So far all the other defencemen have career highs at ~50 points, except Pronger who has hit 62 points. There is a lot more to their play at this point than just points, but at roughly the 300 game mark Johnson has averaged more points per game than Pronger, Chara, Seabrook, and Burns. So I wouldn't be so quick to write this guy off as an Eric Brewer (Jon Klemm?) 2.0, 30-35 point defenceman. It's not unrealistic for his numbers to increase greatly still.

Now looking at him individually from this past season, I think all would agree that he made great strides between the first 20 games of the season, and his final 50 after he returned from the groin injury.

I broke down this last season into 2 parts, and projected it over 82 games just to show how his game improved, especially his aggression.

Quote:
First 21 games:
Gp-21 | G-0 | A-8 | Pts-8 | +/- (-12) | Hits-23 | GVA-19 | TA-11


Projected over 82 games:
Gp-82 | G-0 | A-31 | Pts-31 | +/- (-47) | Hits-90 | GVA-74 | TA-43 |
Then his injury happened which most would agree was the turning point in his season. He played 52 games after that, but I'm not including the 2 games where he left right away.

Quote:
Last 50 games:
Gp-50 | G-4 | A-14 | Pts-18 | +/- (+5) | Hits-101| GVA-25 | TA-24 |
Projected over 82 games:
Gp-82 | G-7 | A-23 | Pts-30 | +/- (+8) | Hits- 166| GVA-41 | TA-39 |
There is a big difference in goals, +/-, and hits. He took the puck away a little less, but gave it away almost half as much.

All the Blues fans told us that consistency has been a big problem in EJ's game, and we have definitely experienced that. On the bright side of this, Johnson's play was strongest over the last 70 percent of the season, so were not exactly hoping for him to rebound, but instead continue his play from last season. Personally, I would be pleased with a 160+ hits, combined with a positive +/- and 30 points for the upcoming season. Which is the pace he played at for the final 50 games. These are very Seabrook esque numbers.

Like I said, this is just comparing stats and there is way more to it than that. I guess my point here is that while he didn't quite live up to our expectations this last season, don't give up on his potential quite yet, as he seems to be right in line with the other big defencemen (other than Weber who got really good really fast).

Lastly, lets hope for an injury free season for him. It seems when he is healthy, Sacco has no problem playing him 24+ minutes a night. Johnson has played 95 games in an Avs uniform and has played 24+ minutes a game 26 times. Keep in mind it was reported that for a large part of last season he had a bad back, which could explain the lower toi/game.

Hopefully this is the year he truly breaks out. I'd also like to see him permanently get the 'A' on his sweater.



Last edited by Avs71: 02-18-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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