The Anaheim Ducks announced that they have hired former NHLer and recent member of the Los Angeles Kings organization Craig Johnson as an assistant coach on Dallas Eakins’ staff. Though Johnson doesn’t bring with him any previous NHL coaching experience, he does bring a wealth of hockey knowledge and experience between his 10 year playing career, coaching experience at various other levels, as well as other roles in scouting and directing. Johnson has spent the previous four seasons in the Kings organization, serving as a development coach, a professional scout, and an assistant coach on the staff of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate.
One of the more intriguing aspects of this hire is Johnson’s ties to the southern California hockey scene. Johnson came to the Kings in February of 1996 as part of the deal that sent Wayne Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues. The forward would spend eight seasons in a Kings uniform before spending part of the 2003-04 seasons with the Ducks. Shortly after retiring from his playing career, Johnson became the head coach of Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s hockey team, which plays in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL), leading the team to three national titles during his tenure before joining the Kings organization. Craig’s son Ryan Johnson was a first round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2019, becoming the second first-round pick in that draft to come out of the ADHSHL, along with the Philadelphia Flyers’ Cam York.
- Craig Johnson was not the only Johnson the Ducks hired today, with the team also announcing the hire of Jim Johnson as Director of Player Development. Jim Johnson has held numerous roles in coaching between USA in the USNTDP and at several World Junior Championships, as well as in the NHL, spending time as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, and most recently, the St. Louis Blues. In addition to his time behind the bench, he spent parts of thirteen seasons in the NHL, getting into 829 games as a defenseman.
- Earlier today, news broke that Doug Wilson Jr. was no longer with the Sharks as their Scouting Director (link). It does appear the organization has added a new name to its front office, however, with former NHL star Doug Weight joining the organization as a senior advisor to the hockey ops department, says The Athletic’s Corey Masisak (link). Masisak points out that Weight had played several seasons alongside new Sharks GM Mike Grier while the two were with the Edmonton Oilers. Weight also spent time as an advisor and assistant GM with the New York Islanders before becoming the team’s Head Coach after Jack Capuano was fired during the 2016-17 season.
- The Dallas Stars also announced two front office hires to the organization’s Hockey Analytics Department. Matt Rodell has been hired as the team’s Director of Hockey Analytics and Brad Behan has been hired as Coordinator of Hockey Analytics. Rodell has spent the previous five seasons in the Stars organizations in various capacities while Behan spent the 2021-22 season as an intern for the department.