I know Jack hasn't put up the numbers that some people (*cough* myself *cough*) thought he would, but I have no doubt that even if he doesn't develop into an offensive defensiveman he'll still be incredibly valuable in the next two years. When I heard the news that Jack Johnson signed a two-year contract for a cap hit of a mere $1.425 million/year I was shocked because I couldn't believe someone actually agreed to a contract for less than 19 years and that his cap hit was under $2 million/season.
From a "numbers" point of view, the monetary value of his contract makes sense. He hasn't had a significant offensive presence that was on display in his college years, but that could be because of Crow's coaching style, the Kings' lack of success during his time in LA, and, most definitely, his injury in the '08-'09 season. From a "name" and "potential" point of view, the cap hit is miniscule. I applaud Lombardi and Jack for agreeing to this contract because I cannot stand it when GMs give in to incredibly long-term contracts and I abhor even more athletes (i.e. NFL rookies) who expect large contracts solely on their potential to be a deciding factor.
I thought Jack would sign in the $2.5-$3 million range for around 3-4 years so I'm thoroughly pleased with the agreed contract. It gives Jack the time to prove his value while allowing Lombardi room to work his magic in the years to come without being locked down to a contract that could be problematic. I'm all for compensating players fairly so if Jack proves that he belongs in the top ranks of NHL defensemen than I will gladly see him be rewarded by the Kings or another team if the Kings have enough depth to wave goodbye to a price that doesn't fit the team's building process.
With that said, how in the world did ex-King Denis Grebeshkov just sign a one-year contract with the Oilers for $3.15 million. Umm....really?
(Photo: Gerry Thomas/Getty Images)
Him? Sure, he has more career points than Jack, but points don't mean everything. He was pretty much useless in the Kings system and I think the Oilers are severely overpaying for him. I wonder what athletes think when they see someone, who may be considered below their value, sign for a lot more. I'm glad the Kings traded Grebeshkov and did not let go of Johnson. There's a lot of upside to him and with a stable, (dare I say, "strong") defense, possibly some confidence from Murray, and hopefully an injury-free season I think he'll show some major improvement in terms of offensive production and smart defense.
P.S. I heart Jack even more because he looks just like this hot Chicago Detective that helped me with an incident I had when I was in the City a month ago. *sigh* I really hope Jack does well this season.