The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed Adam Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract. Johnson had been eligible for arbitration but did not file. The contract carries a $700K salary at the NHL level. Assistant GM Bill Guerin released a short statement on the forward:
Adam has definitely put the work in. He’s a great skater, and has worked extremely hard to get to another level of strength and conditioning, which certainly helped him in his second pro season. I think he proved not only to us but also to himself that he can play in the National Hockey League.
The 25-year old Johnson is another one of the Penguins’ undrafted free agent signings out of the NCAA, though he hasn’t yet made quite the impact players like Conor Sheary and Zach Aston-Reese. In fact, Johnson has played just six games for Pittsburgh since signing out of Minnesota-Duluth in 2017, instead spending most of his professional career with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It’s there that the two-way forward has made his mark, scoring 74 points in 137 games.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton may be where Johnson is headed once again unless more changes are made in Pittsburgh this summer, since he is still waiver-exempt for now. If that happens and he doesn’t play in at least 74 NHL games this season he will qualify for Group VI unrestricted free agency in 2020 and could take his talents elsewhere. It’ll be a difficult task for him to land a full-time role out of camp, but not impossible. If the Penguins decide to move on from another player like Nick Bjugstad or Bryan Rust they may have an opening for at least a 13th forward, something Johnson could have the inside track on given his waiver status and relative versatility.