When you peruse the Minnesota Wild roster looking for the names that would best represent the Wild at the corporate boondoggle that is the All Star Game, there are a few names that jump out at you. Mikko Koivu (selected, but injured), Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Niklas Backstrom certainly have to top the list. However, none of those players will be at the festivities made to impress corporate sponsors and the 150 actual hockey fans in the area. One player will be there for the Wild.
How many guesses would it take you to get to Nick Johnson? About 20?
What makes Nick Johnson an All Star is subjective. He has rookie status, and he is there solely to participate in the skills competition as part of the rookie squad. Without the rookie status, Johnson wouldn't be there. Which is fine. The rookie thing is cool, and gives those corporate big wigs a reason to watch something other than the draft.
Who is Nick Johnson? After the jump.
|2011 - Nick Johnson||45||6||10||16||5||31||0||0||1||80|
Bad 80's nickname: DJ Nicky J.
Mafia Name: Jinx
Boy Band Name: JNix
Ticker Symbol: BWCE
Hockey Wilderness Nickname: Best Waiver Claim Ever
His sixteen points put him in tenth for rookie scoring, something he has done rather quietly. So quietly, most Wild fans likely did not even know that was the case. His plus five is a rather impressive number, considering Johnson has played on every line, in every situation, and has had zero stability thus far this year.
Snatched up off of waivers from a Pittsburgh team that has a glut of players like Nick Johnson, he has been a revelation for a Wild team lacking in players willing to commit to the system of Mike Yeo on every shift and every play. Being a rookie, he hasn't earned the label "leader" just yet, but if his level of play continues as it is, or even trends upwards as he develops further, that label is certainly not out of reach.
Waiver claims are never a sure thing. Putting a player on waivers gives every team in the league a chance to take a player you drafted and developed at no cost. Usually, a player who ends up on waivers is a throw away guy anyway. If you haven't made the team by the time your waiver requirements kick in, maybe you need to reevaluate. However, sometimes, it is purely a numbers game, and a team is forced to put a player on waivers despite their desire to keep them around.
Thus, Nick Johnson becomes a member of the Minnesota Wild, becomes a rookie leader, and is headed to the All Star game. For those who wish to see Johnson in the festivities, tune in to NBCSN at 6PM on Saturday for the Skills Competition. That's your only chance.
Anyone going out to the Hockey Lodge for a Nick Johnson ASG sweater? Why or why not?