Could Jack Johnson Be A Fit For The Oilers?

Jonathan Willis
February 13 2012 10:37PM

TSN Insider Darren Dreger, asked to name a wild-card who could be dealt at the trade deadline earlier tonight:

“I’m going with Jack Johnson. You want a wild card name, there’s a wild card name for you, from the Los Angeles Kings. Dean Lombardi’s going to love me for that. The only way Johnson is in play though, obviously is if they get that top-six guy, somebody that’s going to push them over the edge.”

Could the Oilers put together a package for Johnson?

Leaving aside for a moment whether or not acquiring Johnson would be a good idea for the Oilers, the answer would seem to be ‘no.’ Dreger talks about the Kings’ need to get a top-six guy, “somebody that’s going to push them over the edge.” That eliminates a package – which the Oilers could put together – and shifts the focus to a single player. The Oilers aren’t trading one of the ‘big three.’ Given how Ryan Smyth left the Kings this past summer, neither side is likely to welcome a reunion. Sam Gagner isn’t a fit either – the Kings have Kopitar/Richards/Stoll up the middle, and it’s hard to imagine anyone getting ecstatic about converting him to the wing.

That leaves Ales Hemsky. Hemsky’s not a long-term pickup for whoever acquires him, in all likelihood – he has an expiring contract and the team acquiring him has no guarantee they’ll be able to keep him. While he’s not nearly as bad as some make him out to be, and he will have value (particularly given that there are not a lot of top-six forwards on the market this year but many teams want one), he is not having a particularly good season by his standards. The Kings got burned last year by the Oilers when they picked up Dustin Penner for futures, and it’s doubtful they have any interest in repeating the experience.

That’s not to say a trade is entirely impossible. Without knowing what Lombardi would demand for Johnson, that’s not something I can say. However, Dreger’s comment seemed to indicate that such a trade was a longshot, and I’d say that’s even more true when it comes to the Oilers.

This is probably a good thing, despite the Oilers’ need for a young defenseman.

I’ve talked about Jack Johnson at some length before. Last year, the Kings rewarded him with a massive contract extension halfway through a one of a kind offensive season. At the time, I argued strongly that Johnson was getting a ton of breaks that would not continue. As it turned out, I was right – his scoring dropped off immediately and drastically.

His defensive play is bad. There are all kinds of fancy stats I could drag out to show this, but I want to focus on plus/minus. Plus/minus is a difficult statistic to use – over the short-term, so many things impact it that it can be wildly unreliable. Over the long-term however, these things tend to balance out, and a strong pattern says a lot about the player. There is such a strong pattern in Johnson’s case. Johnson started his Kings career in 2006-07, going minus-5 over five games. Here are his plus/minus numbers by year since then, along with his rank among Kings’ defensemen:

  • 2007-08: Minus-19, dead last
  • 2008-09: Minus-18, dead last
  • 2009-10: Minus-11, dead last
  • 2010-11: Minus-21, dead last
  • 2011-12: Minus-10, dead last
  • Total, 2007-present: Minus-83, dead last (next closest: Rob Blake at minus-19)

2010-11, the year Johnson got his massive contract extension, really stands out: the next worst Kings defenseman was minor-league call-up Jake Muzzin, who went minus-2 over 11 games. Davis Drewiske, with a minus-1 over 38 games, was the only other minus on the team’s blue line. Add in the fact that according to behindthenet.ca, Johnson has never ranked as one of the team’s top-two defensemen in difficulty of opposition, and there’s a word for that trend: damning.

It’s just as well that an Oilers/Kings trade involving Johnson is unlikely.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 Wanyes bastard child
February 13 2012, 11:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

I agree, no to Johnson!!!

But please keep Hemsky Tambo!

Avatar
#2 Toro
February 13 2012, 11:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hmm don't like the plus/minus but at his age he would fit in with the rebuild, and I have a feeling with Lombardi apologizing earlier this year for his comments in the summer that he has interest in Hemsky, maybe Hemsky plus 2013 1st gets it done? maybe throw in Peckham? But I'm with Wanyes Bastard child on this one id rather keep Hemsky

Avatar
#3 justDOit
February 13 2012, 11:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

Johnson sounds like a perfect replacement for Barker.

Avatar
#4 Eulers
February 13 2012, 11:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Eulers disliked Jack Johnson as a person.

Now, Eulers dislikes Jack Johnson as a player.

Avatar
#5 Clarko
February 13 2012, 11:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I completely agree with your comments on plus/minus rating. Unreliable in the short-term, or even over one entire season, but if you are continuously 'more minus' than the rest of your team, there is a bigger issue.

The really great d-men are always a plus because they force the other team to turnover the puck and they help their own team retain possession by making great passes and not making errors. Lidstrom has only had one season out of 21 where he was a minus (-2 last year)!

A better example of this is taking a look at Horcoff and Hemsky (who have played a lot together) over the past five seasons in which the Oilers have been a really bad hockey team. Horcoff is -61 vs Hemsky who is a -19 over the same period. Hemsky was actually a plus player in 3 of the last 5 seasons which is unbelievable for how bad this team has been.

Nobody can actually say Hemsky is a better defensive player than Horcoff (although Horcoff is overrated in this area). But the team possesses the puck a whole lot more when Hemsky is on the ice, and therefore will give up considerably less scoring chances.

Avatar
#6 Copperblueandwhite
February 13 2012, 11:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

He'll fit right into the clown car we have for a defense.

Avatar
#7 justDOit
February 14 2012, 12:16AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Clarko

Not defending Horcs here, but Hemsky won't be on the ice as much for d-zone faceoffs. Tougher assignments will also affect a players +/-.

Avatar
#8 Dave Manson
February 14 2012, 01:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

He could wear flip flops in the dressing room while serving Banana Pancakes.

Avatar
#9 J-Dogg
February 14 2012, 01:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I prefer his lesser known half brother John Jackson, half the D-man perhaps, but twice the showboating goon.

Avatar
#10 Yourmomthinksimhot
February 14 2012, 02:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Always felt like Johnson was all hype, Drew Doughty is the real deal. He helped Johnson look better on the PP. Being dead last EVERY year in +/-.... well theres really no argument there.

Plus he's under the age of 35, has no significant injury history and not a 3rd pairing defenseman soooooo why would Tambellini want him?

Avatar
#11 Saytalk
February 14 2012, 06:26AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

On his draft pedigree alone I bet the Oilers management team would love to acquire Jack Johnson. He's Cam Barker with better career numbers!

Regardless, with everything that happened between the GM's in the Smyth trade, I don't think Lombardi will ever deal with Tambo again.

Avatar
#12 A-Mc
February 14 2012, 09:15AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I don't like judging a player entirely on stats, but if i were to use stats alone, i could pickup Johnson on a short term deal. The issue with that is that he comes with a brutal long term contract that i just can't stomach Tambo taking on.

Anything over 4 years does not make any sense to me, and Johnson is contracted until 2018 for christ sakes; for this reason alone i would pass on him.

Avatar
#13 Reagan
February 14 2012, 09:33AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The Oilers would be better off in the Jeff Carter sweepless lottery...

Avatar
#14 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 14 2012, 09:37AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

That's too much money for a 3,4 guy like that. Like his physical side of the game but there's little chance he moves without some sorta re-entries kinda deal.

Avatar
#15 Stocc
February 14 2012, 09:49AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Wanyes bastard child wrote:

I agree, no to Johnson!!!

But please keep Hemsky Tambo!

You make me proud, WBC.

I'll say it even if daddy Wanye doesn't.

Avatar
#16 Oilinmyblood
February 14 2012, 10:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm curious about a Gagner for Luke Schenn swap.

Avatar
#17 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 14 2012, 10:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Oilinmyblood wrote:

I'm curious about a Gagner for Luke Schenn swap.

Schenn would be a number 3 wouldn't he? Thought we had enough D guys just like him already.

Avatar
#18 Archaeologuy
February 14 2012, 10:57AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers
Oilinmyblood wrote:

I'm curious about a Gagner for Luke Schenn swap.

I'm curious about why anybody would want to move the only Center under 25 on the team not named RNH with an NHL career for a 2nd pairing Dman with no offense? We have that guy already.

Is he better than Gilbert? No

Is he a significant improvement over Smid even? A little more offense but not more so than Gilbert can be counted on.

So he's Tom Gilbert with less offensive ability.

Why would I trade a 22 year old Center with 5 years experience that can seemingly play any position on my top 2 lines for a less offensive Tom Gilbert?

Bad trade.

Avatar
#19 Archaeologuy
February 14 2012, 10:59AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

PS. I love Jack Johnson. His music is very soothing and mellow.

Avatar
#20 Infinibuild
February 14 2012, 11:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Willis just tweeted:

@JonathanWillis - Average experience of top-4 D in Stanley Cup Finals since 2007-08: 8.3 years.

Point is, that while I completely agree JJ is not worth it, we need to find someone in his age group. Somehow, someway.....

The people hoping that we fill out #1 stud d man in this years draft are delusional, unless you plan on waiting 8.3 years (and can convince Hall to sit around and suck for three quarters of a decade while we wait)

Avatar
#21 Time Travelling Sean
February 14 2012, 11:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ryan Murray can play at 18. We could wait till he's 19 but he is NHL ready. So yes, this years draft=a number one stud D-men in 2 years.

Avatar
#22 Infinibuild
February 14 2012, 11:15AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Time Travelling Sean wrote:

Ryan Murray can play at 18. We could wait till he's 19 but he is NHL ready. So yes, this years draft=a number one stud D-men in 2 years.

Show me an example of this development curve being a reality. Unless you think Ryan Murray is the best d-man in 30 years?

Further to Willis' first tweet:

"@JonathanWillis Median experience of a number one defenseman on a Stanley Cup finalist, since 2006-07: 12.5 seasons."

"@JonathanWillis Average experience of a number one defenseman on a Stanley Cup finalist team, since 2006-07: 12 seasons."

So stud d-men take 12+ years. I guess Ryan Murray will buck the trend.

Avatar
#24 Hal
February 14 2012, 11:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Q. What would you give up to get Rick Nash?

Avatar
#25 Infinibuild
February 14 2012, 11:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

Here's the list of #1 defensemen on Stanley Cup Finalists since the NHL lockout:

Chris Pronger, Bret Hedican, Wade Redden, Scott Niedermayer, Sergei Gonchar, Nicklas Lidstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Pronger, Duncan Keith, Kevin Bieksa, Zdeno Chara.

Here's the years of NHL experience accumulated by those defensemen by the time they played in that role:

13, 14, 11, 15, 14, 17, 18, 15, 17, 5, 6, 14

If you're betting on Ryan Murray being the Oilers' number one defenseman in a year where the Oilers contend, the number you're looking for is not '2'.

You should write a complete article on this (if you haven't already?) Many people seem to look at this years draft as the "final piece" for the Oilers, to get that #1 d man and win the cup in 2-3 years.

I'd like to see a good analysis of SC winning d groups and where both their #1-#2 d men are in their development as well as the group in general.

It would also be interesting to see how many of these d were actually drafted by the team they get to the dance with. My gut feeling (with zero research done) is that outside of Detroit very few d, especially #1s are even on the team that drafted them when they win.

Avatar
#26 Bucknuck
February 14 2012, 11:39AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Clarko

Comparing plus/minus of Horcoff and Hemsky is pretty misleading when you consider that Horcoff plays on the PK for many minutes of the night and Hemsky doesn't. Forwards who play on the PK a lot often have their plus minus beat up a lot.

Avatar
#30 Bucknuck
February 14 2012, 12:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Bucknuck:

Actually, PK time isn't included in plus/minus.

Horcoff/Hemsky isn't as clear-cut as a straight plus/minus comparison because of situational differences - Horcoff has been given extra D-zone shifts as a pure faceoff man for years (though not much under Renney) - but Horcoff's time on the PK shouldn't have any bearing.

I didn't realize that. I learnt something today. That being the case, Horc's nasty plus minus is looking a little damning.

Avatar
#31 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 14 2012, 12:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Hal wrote:

Q. What would you give up to get Rick Nash?

You may be disappointed in JW's offer, but i'll play along.... Hemsky,Horcoff,Khabibulin and Theo Peckham along with a 2012 second rounder?

Not much of a Nash fan but i feel the least we can do is clean out one of the cupboards for him. They'll still need to come in and turn the lights on for the next few years in Columbus. This package would be awesome and all about the now for Jackets fans.

Avatar
#32 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 14 2012, 12:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bucknuck wrote:

I didn't realize that. I learnt something today. That being the case, Horc's nasty plus minus is looking a little damning.

If this isn't proof the Oilers have definate desires for another lotto selection, then what is?

If they could play Horcoff 30 mins a night, the Oilers would have last place sewn up by now.

Avatar
#33 Time Travelling Sean
February 14 2012, 12:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Well we can speculate on the Defence but Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert and Smid with Murray, imo is a very good top 4 d-core. You can have Petry/Sutton/Potter for 5/6/7 guys. One could argue save Chara that our D-core compared to Boston's isn't that bad.

I've always believed that a Defence by committee structure is as adequate or efficient than having 1 7M defenceman and some #4s to fill out 2/3/4/ or you could have 3-4 number 2/3s and some 4/5s to fill out your 5/6/7 spots.

Avatar
#34 mayorpoop
February 14 2012, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Hal

MPS, Gagner, 2nd this year and 1st next.

imo.

they want to re-build. these are pieces to do so.

Avatar
#35 Fresh Mess
February 14 2012, 12:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Johnny Boychuk is off the market. Too bad for the Oilers, i'm sure they had him targeted for July 1.

Avatar
#36 Bucknuck
February 14 2012, 01:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

If this isn't proof the Oilers have definate desires for another lotto selection, then what is?

If they could play Horcoff 30 mins a night, the Oilers would have last place sewn up by now.

I'll play along.

IF that was the goal (and I don't think it is), then they probably thought playing Khabibulin for half the games would sew it up. It must have been frustrating when Khabby started playing like it was 2004 when the season started.

Avatar
#37 Clarko
February 14 2012, 01:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Bucknuck:

Actually, PK time isn't included in plus/minus.

Horcoff/Hemsky isn't as clear-cut as a straight plus/minus comparison because of situational differences - Horcoff has been given extra D-zone shifts as a pure faceoff man for years (though not much under Renney) - but Horcoff's time on the PK shouldn't have any bearing.

I can agree that it could be a "little" misleading, but the difference is -42 extra over 5 seasons, which seems like a lot considering how much they have played together.

The difference would probably be when Hemsky has been injured. Hemsky has actually been a plus player in each of the last 3 seasons which is pretty remarkable on a team that finished dead last in two of those seasons. My point was that when a player, like Hemsky, can play downhill so much, then his plus/minus is going to be a lot better despite his defensive issues.

Anyways, liked the Hemsky-Horcoff-Paajarvi trio last game...and hope to see that turn into the Hemsky-RNH-Paajarvi trio soon. Of course Tambo is hell-bent on running Hemksy out of town, so I guess that won't last long.

Has Tambellini been able to acquire a single top six forward since he started here other than the through the draft? I don't really like the idea of shipping Hemsky off for what is most likely going to be a minimal return. He has had his issues this season, but we are going to have to fill out that top 6 eventually.

Avatar
#38 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 14 2012, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Hal wrote:

Q. What would you give up to get Rick Nash?

3 goats and a turtle

Avatar
#39 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 14 2012, 01:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bucknuck wrote:

I'll play along.

IF that was the goal (and I don't think it is), then they probably thought playing Khabibulin for half the games would sew it up. It must have been frustrating when Khabby started playing like it was 2004 when the season started.

Teams are going to have those peaks and valleys during the long season. Edmonton had their peak right out of the gate this yr. With the coach dictating the icetime given, it looks like a pretty black and white issue to me.

Starting to look like Renney won't be back next season. Tambellini looks like he's dumping alot of blame on Tom Renneys doorstep the last week.

Avatar
#40 Archaeologuy
February 14 2012, 01:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

3 goats and a turtle

Too rich for my blood

Avatar
#41 Stocc
February 14 2012, 01:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

3 goats and a turtle

Don't give up on the turtle just yet. He's still young and I hear he's been working with a skating coach during the off season to improve his speed.

Avatar
#42 Bucknuck
February 14 2012, 02:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Teams are going to have those peaks and valleys during the long season. Edmonton had their peak right out of the gate this yr. With the coach dictating the icetime given, it looks like a pretty black and white issue to me.

Starting to look like Renney won't be back next season. Tambellini looks like he's dumping alot of blame on Tom Renneys doorstep the last week.

I think you have that right. Saying that the team is better than it's record is a finger point at the coach if I have ever seen one.

That statement pissed me off a wee bit. I like what Renney has done. I enjoy watching the team play. Their systems are exciting to watch, even if the result is often poor. The reason the team fell apart was that they are a bunch of glass men that get hurt every year, and there isn't enough depth to compensate.

Avatar
#43 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
February 14 2012, 02:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
Stocc wrote:

Don't give up on the turtle just yet. He's still young and I hear he's been working with a skating coach during the off season to improve his speed.

~he will still be too small and too slow to produce. after 5 years (even though he is only 22) he should be a superstar~

Avatar
#44 Bucknuck
February 14 2012, 02:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

~he will still be too small and too slow to produce. after 5 years (even though he is only 22) he should be a superstar~

Ba ha ha ha.

I sure hope Sam Stays. He's only nine months older than Eberle and he's 23rd in career points all time for the Oilers, for crying out loud...

Avatar
#45 Dog Train
February 14 2012, 03:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Johnson is a bad apple and I wouldn't go near him. He already negotiated his way out of Carolina if memory serves me right and moving from sunny LA to Edmonton probably wouldn't make him too happy. Stay far, far away.

Avatar
#46 Infinibuild
February 14 2012, 03:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I forgot Carolina drafted Johnson.

Which brings up an interested point... LA traded Eric Belanger for Jack Johnson. I think its a sign!

Avatar
#47 Smokey
February 14 2012, 03:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Nice article, Jack Johnson always been overated in my books, but I did not realize by how much. Wish we could get Voynov, but LA would want Hemsky, another body and a pick, and hope Lambo is off his rocker.

Avatar
#48 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
February 15 2012, 08:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Archaeologuy wrote:

I'm curious about why anybody would want to move the only Center under 25 on the team not named RNH with an NHL career for a 2nd pairing Dman with no offense? We have that guy already.

Is he better than Gilbert? No

Is he a significant improvement over Smid even? A little more offense but not more so than Gilbert can be counted on.

So he's Tom Gilbert with less offensive ability.

Why would I trade a 22 year old Center with 5 years experience that can seemingly play any position on my top 2 lines for a less offensive Tom Gilbert?

Bad trade.

Some time your logic defies me in this case however you seem to be ready to become a GM. Well stated.

Avatar
#49 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
February 15 2012, 08:43AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Was I reading wrong or did Hemmer seem to really be saying in his interview that pay me big coin and I will stay for the Coin! He seems to me to be very ready for a change.

I also thought a lot of Smyth's comments reminded me of what he was saying just weeks before he last left us.

When I balance those comments against those of Sutton and how he really wanted to be here I find Smyth's most puzzling.

Comments are closed for this article.