The season has come to an end for Rangers defenseman Jack Johnson as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that the blueliner underwent hernia surgery on Friday. He’s expected to be fully recovered by June or July which technically would leave a small window open for him to be available if New York was to make it deep into the postseason, something that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
The 34-year-old signed with the Rangers in October, inking a one-year, $1.15MM contract after being bought out by Pittsburgh. He had a limited role with New York, suiting up in just 13 games this season although he did miss eight games due to a groin injury earlier in the year. His season will end with just one goal to his name while he averaged a career-low 16:58 per game.
Johnson cleared waivers back on Monday which makes the timing of this a little noteworthy. Had Johnson had the surgery while on the NHL roster, his full salary would have counted against New York’s Upper Limit. However, with the taxi squad being treated as if it was an assignment to the AHL, only $75K remains on the books, giving them a bit more salary cap flexibility to work with as they try to navigate a potential significant bonus cushion overage with so many players on entry-level contracts on their active roster.
Considering the limited role that Johnson had for them this season, it seems unlikely that Johnson will be brought back for next season. Instead, he’ll once again enter free agency where he may be hard-pressed to land a similar-priced contract given this surgery and struggles when he was in New York’s lineup.