2021 NY Rangers Player Report Card: Jack Johnson

When the Rangers signed Jack Johnson, it was ridiculed more or less across the board. Most knew that he was a pretty big negative on the ice, and few were in disagreement there. The hope was that Johnson would provide some off-ice leadership in the locker room for a young team. He was also supposed to serve as the 7D, maybe getting in about half the games this season.

Much like with Libor Hajek, we know how that played out. The Rangers had drama and injuries, and Johnson wound up playing regularly through January until his lower body injury in February. Given Johnson had sports hernia surgery in March, which came after he played seven games in a row in late February/March, it’s safe to assume Johnson played through the injury. The Rangers were decimated by injuries and Johnson went above the call of duty by playing through the injury.

Better than Hajek, at least

In 13 games, Johnson was held scoreless until his final game of the season, where he scored a goal. But he wasn’t here for scoring. He was just a stopgap.

Small sample size warning, but Johnson at least held his own in limited minutes defensively. He may have also benefited from playing during a time before the Rangers fell apart defensively. But let it be known that Johnson wasn’t a huge net negative on the ice. He wasn’t great, and he was below replacement level, but he could have been far, far worse.

To be honest, this exceeds expectations for Jack Johnson with the Rangers. I think most feared the worst, thinking he would be one of the worst defensemen in the league. He was far from it. Again small sample size warning, and it’s hard to call Johnson a success in New York, but it could have been much worse.

Final Grade

Credit where credit is due for Johnson. He bridged a gap, played through a sports hernia, and was far better on the ice than most expected. All in all, and I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth, he was worth the one year deal.

Jack Johnson 2021 Report Card Grade: C.

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    (ha – Dave got one)

  • Dave, I believe that JJ’s stats benefitted from the small sample size. Watching him play it was quite apparent that he was so slow he’d make Marc Staal look spry. Down the road he would have been a load too heavy to carry. Nice 13 games JJ, best of luck, take care!

    • I’m starting to think that Dave doesn’t know how to evaluate defencemen.

      I know it’s hard, because there’s plenty of people at the NHL level that don’t know how to do it either.

      But between this, the Smith rating, the unending love for Reunanen(until he finally saw him play) and the assessment of Hajek(saddled with bad partner after bad partner, yet all his fault) just has me at a loss.

      Is Hajek going to be anything more than 3rd pair? No. Is he 9th rated D in the system? If you look at usage from camp on, obviously higher than that. The organization didn’t know what they had off of his surgery/rehab, brought players in accordingly as cover, and those players went away as Hajek performed.

      He can exit the zone comfortably with the puck on his stick or can make the stretch pass, adequate in his own end.

      One of those guys where you really want the tracking stats instead of the xG nonsense, especially when you look at his pairing & 5 man unit looks.

      • Agreed that Hajek was definitely better than has been the storyline by many here. I don’t think that he is good, but he certainly isn’t down around JJ’s level. The limited stats on JJ do not tell the story at all. Hell, Tony DeAngelo was brutal with JJ as his partner, and that probably helped bring about his otherwise predictable 10 megaTony explosion.

  • Johnson held his own defensively?


    Was a giveaway machine, couldn’t really defend and was sheltered like he lived in a cave.

    Grading on his own curve , he was a C: in a NHL context, an F.

    Im sure he’s a nice guy, but he hasn’t been a replacement level player for years.

  • Johnson got another payday with help from his BFF Jacques Martin plain and simple. With the excuse that JJ could maybe help Martin and the young Ranger d-men transition to his system. Just a case of favoritism that was condoned by Gorton and JD. it’s funny how the entire hockey universe knew this was such a dumb move and shockingly it was made.

  • Maybe Drury will finally run the Rangers like a sports team and not a place where Sather can draft his buddies grandson or JD can sign a guy who was already bad for 5 years because he had a soft spot for him.

    JD & JG get an capital F, for this signing, I don’t blame JJ, this was another pay check for him.

  • F … overall he looked horrible. A few decent normal plays here and there can’t hide the fact he was terrible, he’s slow, lacks agility and was a big soft pylon on the ice. If JJ can’t get an F, who can?

    • Maybe JJ, behind the scenes, paid DAVE some coin to write a favorable article about him on BSB? 😉

  • Not sure how many of you remember Johnson parents were low lives and robbed all his money. He is in debt for millions and that’s the reason the Rangers gave him a contract, and I for one think it was FANTASTIC THEY DID IT! Many know he’s done as a player but Kudos to every team who helps him some how to recover from a despicable act by his own parents!

    • Now that IS wonderful to hear –NICE JOB and gesture by the Rangers …. just let him play for the season so he can get some money back into his pocket. That’s classy, if indeed that’s the reason he was signed…and not as a result of a foolish decision to play him, thinking he deserved his spot in the lineup over anyone else.

    • I think it would have been enough for them to sign him to a League minimum NHL contract and then send him down to the AHL as a mentor for the kids … they overpaid, they played him like he was 6D (before the injury), so I doubt this was meant to be “charity”. That’s just my take on the situation …

    • It wasn’t the main reason they signed him, but it was a factor.

      The salary was designed to be buried without a cap hit, but they needed cover in case Hajek wasn’t ready.

      It took months to find a spot for Hayek to land coming off surgery/rehab and even then his minutes were super limited being the 7th D in the rotation. He was more hit than miss, but was dumbing the game down due to he has limited shifts with partners.

      JJ was signed by Jim Rutherford back in the day to be a 3rd pair D, was so bad they bought him out.

  • J.J. signing was strictly a boys club signing….To say he was worse than Hajek tells you how terrible this signing was….What were the NYR leadership thinking???????

    By the way, that leadership is no longer here……

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