By now, poolies who are not living under a rock are well aware Jack Johnson has signed a contract with the Los Angeles Kings and will make his NHL debut shortly. When Erik Johnson gets his start in a Blues uniform is still up in the air, but let's take a look a the fantasy impact each of these franchise players will have in the futureÂ…
Jack Johnson - The Kings acquired this top ranked prospect from the Carolina Hurricanes early in the season for Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger. The key to the deal was the fact that the Kings agreed to take on the albatross contract belonging to Oleg Tverdovsky. Los Angeles gladly took it, figuring that between Johnson and Anze Kopitar, they had the centerpieces of the franchise.
Kopitar has been a smashing success this season and Johnson will have the same impact, if not greater. Ranked fourth overall in The Hockey News' Future Watch, the 20-year-old will put up similar numbers to Dion Phaneuf in his rookie year. Look for 45-55 points for each of the next several seasons as he gradually blossoms into a 65-point player in about five years. He will also be good for 120-150 penalty minutes per season to start. Eventually, that will tone down to between 90-100 as he matures.
Jack will join the team Thursday against Vancouver and will play the final five games. Expect three to four points from the youngster as he is NHL ready.
Erik Johnson - If the No. 1 prospect in the world according to Future Watch was to join the Blues this season, he would instantly step into the top two pairing. But it's more likely you won't see him until next season at the earliest.
Johnson (no relation to Jack) will also have similar offensive production as Phaneuf Â– 45-55 points right off the bat - but his penalty minutes will be a little lower. Erik is a much bigger player than Jack, so his hits are a lot harder. Erik is a more complete rearguard than most who are playing the NHL and his upside in terms of offense is pretty much identical to Jack's. That is, anywhere from 65 to perhaps as high as 70 points one day.
While the Kings have Lubomir Visnovsky to run the power play next season, the Blues don't really have anyone, so it would seem as though Erik will have a few more offensive opportunities than Jack in their rookie seasons. With that being the case, Erik might be the way poolies should lean (if you want to split hairs).
Do not be surprised if the years 2012-2020 have the name Â“JohnsonÂ” etched onto the Norris Trophy several times.
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