Colorado Avalanche: Do the Avalanche really need Jack Johnson?

Jack Johnson #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Jack Johnson #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a PTO for training camp. But does the team really need the veteran defenseman?

The Colorado Avalanche announced last month that they signed veteran defenseman Jack Johnson to a PTO for training camp. While normally this would be a good thing for a team, I don’t think Johnson is the best player for the Avalanche at the moment. Last season he only scored one goal and had a +/- of -5. The Avalanche are better off sticking with their prospects and bringing up players from the Colorado Eagles than relying on Johnson.

Last season, the Colorado Avalanche had a great young defenseman in Bowen Byram. Despite only playing in 19 games, he scored two assists before getting injured and catching COVID-19. In the WHL he was scoring a point per game, and showed skill with the puck and great skating ability. His confidence is another big factor, leading him to be captain at the 2020 World Junior Championship for Team Canada.

He has leadership experience, and that will help the Avalanche far more than a veteran defenseman. He’ll bring his experience on the world stage to the Avalanche and that will add something that only a few of the Avalanche teammates have.

Another great player that’s just coming up is Justin Barron, the Avalanche’s first round draft pick in the 2020 draft. He’s had his share of things to overcome, including a blood clot in his shoulder that required surgery, but he’s made a mark on his short time in the AHL and his time at the World Junior Championship. In his seven games with the AHL, he scored four points, three in one game earning a 5-4 victory. He was able to adapt from the Halifax Mooseheads to the AHL very quickly and show a preview of what’s to come in a full season with the Colorado Eagles.

Of course, having veteran players on the team is a good thing and it’s something that we should encourage. But I can’t see Jack Johnson being anything but a hinderance to the team, especially when they have all these new players, in addition to the great defenseman they have on the team right now. So for what it’s worth, Bednar, if you’re reading this, please think twice before signing Jack Johnson to an actual contract.