When Nick Johnson was claimed off of waivers from the Penguins, he brought with him a knowledge of Mike Yeo's system that no other player had. He instantly started forechecking hard, creating plays, leading by example. Somewhere along the way, his game... stopped. The team stopped playing, and maybe Johnson stopped playing because of that.
What is known is that Johnson has the goods to be a part of this team and this system. Is his early season success enough to get him a good grade for the full season? Make the jump to find out.
#25 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild
Dec 24, 1985
|2011 - Nick Johnson||77||8||18||26||-6||45||0||0||1||146|
Nathan- I'm late. Sue me. Hot, hot, hot A+ start. D finish. He needs to go back and spend the summer watching tape and identifying what happened in the second half and come into camp next season with his focus set on building on the first half.
Bryan- The "Best Waiver Claim Ever" played fairly well for most of the season. The end of the season? Not so much. Johnson seems to be a guy who could have a place on this team long term, just so long he puts the effort in for the entire game, for the entire season. He needs to keep the forecheck strong. One of few guys who gets the system, he needs to serve as a role model. If he can do that, he's here for good.
Jesse- Well, at least Pittsburgh being overloaded with talent finally benefited the Wild. Best Waiver Claim Ever found a home with Minnesota when Chuck Fletcher nabbed Johnson on waivers, adding a young, talented player who, under normal circumstances, would have been a very good 3rd-line option. The early success the Wild enjoyed was also enjoyed by Johnson, who earned himself a spot as one of the Rookie All-Stars this year. Then the injuries hit and Johnson was forced to play 2nd-line minutes and shoulder a bigger responsibility. The result, as you can expect, was depressing. Johnson only netted 1 point in the entire month of February. BWCE, like many of the players, just started to do way too much and got away from what made him successful early. Tough finish to a promising start for Johnson, but a full season as a 3rd-line player with Brodziak and Clutterbuck still holds some promise.
JS- BWCE, The Bulldog. Nick Johnson was a very pleasant surprise. Picked up off waivers in the pre-season, he immediately made his mark with his never-quit approach to the game. He also displayed flashes of offensive brillance, mostly playing alongside Kyle Brodziak, and earned himself a spot on the Rookie All-Stars (finished 12th in rookie scoring). Towards the end of the season, however, he became less visible, had his playing time reduced and was even a healthy scratch for a game. This doesn't take anything away from the fact that Johnson has been a very welcome addition to the Wild roster and the Wild basically got him for free. I believe he will be around for a little while, as he's a perfect fit for the 3rd or 4th line.