Just over 2 years ago, Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford made a mistake everyone that had been paying attention to the NHL at any point over the last 10 years knew was a mistake and signed Jack Johnson to a 5 year deal worth $3.25M against the cap per year.
Just a reminder that Jim Rutherford blamed the media for Penguins’ fans negative reaction to the team acquiring Jack Johnson.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 5, 2020
Turns out, it didn’t matter if it was midway through the season, or that his “plus/minus improved as the season wore on,” or that, when looking at his season as a whole, he was objectively and demonstrably bad to the point that the Penguins were an elite team without him and a below average team with him, the end result was still the same: Jack Johnson was a detriment to the Penguins.
this is how bad johnson made the penguins last season. it’s insane https://t.co/SWe9OiRjoJ
— geoff (@G_Off817) September 26, 2019
Then this season happened, the Penguins crashed out of the playoffs early, and GMJR doubled down on his loyalty all over the space of a couple of weeks.
Pens 4th line gets caught with all 3 forwards below the goal line as they turn it over. Johnson gets caught running around chasing a hit, collides with ZAR, then knocks Kotkaniemi into the net as the puck bounces off the Canadien. 1-0 pic.twitter.com/ohd1F40jBs
— geoff (@G_Off817) August 2, 2020
To remedy that, GMJR pulled the trigger, putting him on waivers for the purpose of a buyout after being unable to trade him.
Before buying out Jack Johnson contract, @penguins tried to trade him, but at $3.35M per season, with 3 years left, it was just impossible.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) October 5, 2020
The #LetsGoPens buyout the final 3 years of Jack Johnson's $3.25M Contract ($8.25M cash remaining).
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) October 5, 2020
Few things matter more than the Penguins getting better and with this move, they did just that. Eating some of his salary was always going to be the case whether via trade or buyout, but with $2.08M in savings, they can get some other guys (not named Dom Simon) signed.
Though, it should be noted that GMJR didn’t have to remedy his mistake if he hadn’t made it in the first place. That shouldn’t get lost here, either.
But the big thing is this:
The Penguins are better today than they were yesterday.
Addition by subtraction.
With that, cue up some Sarah McLachlin and let’s look at some of Johnson’s defining moments with the Penguins:
From the hit chasing…
Johnson tries to check Clutterbuck to the moon, gets dummied, and gives up a scoring chance instead of just defending like a normal human player. pic.twitter.com/ZXIvmUSpQb
— geoff (@G_Off817) April 14, 2019
…to puck handling…
…and actually going down.
Johnson down pic.twitter.com/r4iqnfcIYm
— geoff (@G_Off817) April 3, 2019
And let’s not forget…
The Preseason Own Goal
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) September 22, 2019
Cap relief, zone exits, and whistleblower complaints. Lets ride.
also every person preparing to write a take about how we "hated Jack Johnson" can press DELETE until the take is gone. we did not hate HIM we disliked his PERFORMANCE AT HIS JOB and they are two different things.
— ur welcome, love, GM Katie (@dameofscones) October 5, 2020
And sincerely, fair well, Jack, and good luck in the future.