The Colorado Avalanche are giving another chance to veteran defenseman Jack Johnson, who has signed a professional tryout agreement with the club according to CapFriendly. That means Johnson will attend training camp with the Avalanche in the hopes of earning an NHL contract after spending last season with the New York Rangers.
Notably, Johnson is still earning a $916,667 from the Pittsburgh Penguins this season and for four more years after a buyout in 2020. That cut his five-year, $16.25MM deal short, but Johnson earned an additional $1.15MM last season from the Rangers on a one-year deal.
The Rangers didn’t get much value for their money, as the now 34-year-old Johnson appeared in just 13 games, averaging fewer than 17 minutes a night. Once a legitimate two-way force, racking up points for the Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets, the veteran defenseman’s game has fallen completely off a cliff in recent years and is just trying to hold onto a roster spot at this point. Selected third overall in 2005, he has played in 950 regular season games and another 30 postseason contests.
A tryout does not guarantee Johnson anything other than an opportunity to show he still has something left in the tank. Often, these deals are as much about showcasing a player to other teams in the league as the one the tryout is actually signed with. Colorado has a deep, effective defensive depth chart, meaning it might actually be easier for Johnson to catch on somewhere else. At any rate, he has somewhere to go for training camp as he looks to land another NHL contract.